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  1. #16
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    One of my major issues with the relaunch is the fact they are doing it all in a single month. Fifty two brand new number 1 issues hitting shops in the same month.
    It is unlikely a given reader would want to sample all 52 (just because there are going to be some characters/titles they just have zero interest in, regardless of the fact that it may be a significant change to what came before), but if someone actually did want to do that, you're talking a out over $150 out of their pocket (before they buy titles from other publishers they might like). That just isn't reasonable.
    I think DC would have been better served spreading the launch across three months. That would give readers the opportunity to only need to check out 17 or 18 new titles in a new month which is much more reasonable for their pocketbook. And since you don't expect they would like all 17 or 18, they would only pick up a handful of those same titles next month, which means they can still sample the new 17 or 18 coming out in month 2.
    I expect this would make it easier on retailers as well.
    By dumping all 52 titles in the same month, DC is setting up a lot of those titles for failure because far fewer people are going to be sampling titles outside of the normal group they already buy. And if people a not able to take the chance to sample different titles, what is the point?
    This is just really poor planning on DC's part. I can only think that their expectation is that outside readers will be sample these titles via the digital route, but if that really is their expectation, they are really fooling themselves. That isn't going to happen at the $2.99 price point.

  2. #17
    Senior Member Kid Kyoto's Avatar
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    Great column as always, and I agree, 52 titles is much too much. Too much for readers to swallow, too much for creators to do their best, too much for the general audience to care about. A limited 'ultimate' style relauch would have gone down a lot better.

    On returns, I thought books were not actually returned, retailers just clip off the cover and destroy the book.

    Has that changed?
    Ted Kord is Blue Beetle!
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    The Newer 52! Coming in Summer 2014

  3. #18
    My give a damn's busted. KevinTBrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CagedLeo730 View Post
    From what I've read, they are allowing returnabililty (w/ 10% cover cost) for the first 3 months to help the retailers adjust. As for the digital stuff, I remember them mentioning letting retailers sell digital codes redeemable at the DC comixology store. I don't know if that will be in full effect by September. Digital will be a good backstop in case retailers underorder. As for marketing, it's been rumored that they'll start a nationwide marketing drive with Warner Brothers' help.
    There was an article at another site that mentioned that DC is going to be doing a nationwide advertising campaign on TV. IF done properly, it will hopefully bring in a lot of new, and potentially sustainable, customers to the LCS.
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  4. #19
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    This is a great article, and it seems evident that this relaunch poses problems for the direct market, but I ask you this:

    Does DC care?

    They've got comics on the shelves in Barnes & Noble now. These books will be available online. There's going to be a national ad campaign. I expect you'll be seeing more venues for these books that we haven't heard about yet.

    So if the direct market can't stock all these books, how much will it matter--to DC--if they're selling like hotcakes on the iPad, B&N, and elsewhere?

    I don't have the answer to that, but I'd be interested in hearing one.

    I know this probably leaves the direct market feeling like they're being left out in the cold, but I think most everyone agrees that the answer wasn't in maintaining the current system. I imagine some stores will be able to capitalize on the ad campaign and the new awareness, but others, sadly, will probably go the way of all the indie bookstores many of us knew and loved.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Ramage's Avatar
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    Wish DC would have taken the far more risky gamble of a complete relaunch over a year. First six months publish three books (Superman, batman, Wonder Woman) and then slowly relaunch new books with a big JLA crossover by the end of the year.

    Seems like they want to do everything big at once for fear of ceding market share. (Is it even a relaunch, Batman seemingly has every ward he has ever had and the Batman Inc will keep same storyline going? Huh? How does that work?)

    They had a bold idea and seem to have hedged on it. 52 titles at once seems to be more of a business decision than a creative decision.

    --Comics shops should press customers more for commitments. Sign up lists. Maybe even some sort of deposit. I don''t know how that plays, but I'm am going to organize a pull list for my LCBS for the first time in ten years.

    --Hope DC doesn't skimp on advertising.
    Last edited by Ramage; 06-10-2011 at 08:47 AM.
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  6. #21
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    Will any of the 52 number 1's have variant covers?

  7. #22
    Junior Member Drink's Avatar
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    I got to ask all the people who are saying "My pull list just went up to thirty titles!" or "I'm gonna give all of these a shot!"

    Are you bankers on Wall Street? Do you have that much disposable income? Last time I checked the entire world was in a recession. I might have 15-20 books on my overall pull list, and sometimes I think that's way too much.

    It seems that not only are retailers at potential risk of this DC relaunch, but homeowners as well.
    Last edited by Drink; 06-10-2011 at 09:26 AM.

  8. #23

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    Ya know, if I were a publisher, I'd LISTEN to this guy....
    'It's all fun and games until the flying monkeys attack."

  9. #24
    Here, I can build. Marveluted's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbsprime View Post
    DC just sold me an iPad with the day-and-date digital release. A fresh relaunch such as this is what I've been waiting for so I can start the slate clean. I'm getting about 20 titles every month on release, and am open to picking up a handful once they drop to 1.99. Win-win for me. Though I'll have to break this to my LCS eventually.
    This. Day-and-date is much more reasonable to do now from DC's perspective because of the risk to retailers of launching this many #1s. If some LCS's go out of business due to poor ordering prediction, digital allows DC to at least retain some customers that might have a harder time accessing the latest material without a brick-and-mortar store around.

    From DC's perspective, if this inadvertently causes LCS's to fold then the digital day-and-date might aid retention and even encourage the market to shift to digital. The advantages for them would be to cut out distribution, retail and printing costs -marketing directly to consumers and cutting out the middle man.

    In an era where almost all print media are in decline, DC hedges its bets this way for increased sustainability -- albeit potentially at the cost of the LCS. Just my 2 cents.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hondobrode View Post
    Every title is returnable and the discount rates were raised about 6 % or so IIRC.
    Your R is not C.

    As announced so far, there are three tiers of incentives.

    Tier #1 is for 41 of the 52 books, and is returnability with a 10% (retail) restocking fee, which makes it effectively 20% of wholesale. That's makes the math on those, on the likely quantities we're talking about (as these are presumably the b- and c-list titles), extremely unattractive.

    The other 11 books (which we're presuming will be the "sure things" like Batman #1, Superman #1, JL #1, and so on) will EITHER have a very deep discount OR have variant covers (wha--?!) as their only current incentive. No returnability.

    The line as a whole is not getting an increased discount.

    -B

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by hondobrode View Post
    Every title is returnable and the discount rates were raised about 6 % or so IIRC.

    No one will get stung with xtra copies.

    My pull goes from 6 to 35 titles. Huge win for DC. My son who's only read some of my stuff, is jumping in too.
    In his article Brian shows us that "returnable" is not a 100% refund for him. He and other shops will still get stung for 10% of the cover price for each book, 30 a pop. Plus postage to and from. Factor that into that he likely might profit $1 per book sold before overhead costs, that is still a big drain on the profitability of the overall product.

    In the past, DC has shown a lot of consideration to the retailers. Paul Levitz was a big supporter of the ComicsPRO group during his tenure as publisher for instance. But he is gone now from that position and I am not aware of the current state of the relationship DC has with it's retailers. But these guys are the backbone of their entire publishing line. And have been for the last thirty years. I would think it would behoove them to make sure they get included in this jump to digital. Otherwise, the two business models would be counter-productive.

    Which is why I think allowing the stores to sell download codes the day of release for $2.25 each makes sense. That works out to just under a 25% discount for patronizing the LCS. It gives loyal LCS patrons a reason to continue going to the LCS while also going digital. Inventory becomes a non-issue. As when they sell out of a print version, new customers can still buy that much hyped book for a discount and not leave the stores mad they weren't able to get the book they wanted.

    Like say when Captain America #25 came out, the stores had no warning of the hype and sold out early. Potential new readers that heard about it in USAToday or on Good Morning America that day went to the store to buy a copy just to find the shelf empty. If there were a digital option for them they would not have left the store fuming mad. Or even worse, indifferent. Those were potential new readers of comics that were lost because they did not have enough product in the stores. And that momentary interest in buying comics likely faded away. Taking up my discounting the digital copy idea means they don't lose that customer. A copy would always be available, even for books that have sold out. No more having to tell them that it is going back to press and they should have more in a week or so. No more increased production costs of going back to press for second printings. And the stores don't have to slit their own throats to promote the jump to digital. Because a 25% discount would still give their customer base a reason to continue going to the LCS. Sure, they could wait a month and save another 26 by buying digital directly. But that is literally pocket change for the people who want the book "now". Who are likely to be the current readers who go to the LCS weekly now.

    It is great that you and your son are going to try a lot of the new relaunch. Kudos. But you are not everyone. And DC and the retailers should be concerned about everyone. A lot of the current readers resistant to this change are using this as a jump off point. You're helping to offset those people. But there aren't enough current readers that are able to pick up that much slack in the market without a lot of new readers joining you. Like you, I am hoping for the best and that DC succeeds with this gamble. But prudence dictates that even die hard optimists would do well to plan for the worst. And using this idea allows the LCS to do that, while also allowing them and DC as well to maximize the potential for success. I think it is in everyone's best interests.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheZug View Post
    Does DC care?

    They've got comics on the shelves in Barnes & Noble now. These books will be available online. There's going to be a national ad campaign. I expect you'll be seeing more venues for these books that we haven't heard about yet.

    So if the direct market can't stock all these books, how much will it matter--to DC--if they're selling like hotcakes on the iPad, B&N, and elsewhere?
    Oh, OF COURSE THEY CARE -- the Direct Market is a known and stable market that produces a regular and predicitible amount of money. DM stores sell more DC comics per square foot that and B&N could ever hope to, and the installed base of the iPad is too small to even begin to pay for the creative costs of comics production even if there was some sort of insane penetration and retention rate.

    If the DM "shut down" tomorrow, DC would be unlikely to be able to claim more than, mm, a third? of the current readership moving to digital, or the newstand. And I think that's being radically optimistic. Comics production could not survive a 2/3 drop in revenue from comics sales.

    -B

  13. #28
    I like good comics. ScotsScribbler's Avatar
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    Releasing 52 number ones in one go is stupid.

    DC should be doing this over 3 months, with 18 issues a month [still $50] or even 1 year, with each issue becoming the new feature of the week.

    Great idea, horrible execution.

    If I were the head of Marvel or DC, I would have Hibbs on speeddial.

    I could do a better job of running DC. Cut titles, increase promotion and distribution.

    Detective and Action Comics needs to be on every newsagent stand in every country in the west. Kids everywhere should be growing up with this stuff.

    Maybe they need to speak to the guy who does the distribution for Archie/ Betty and Veronica, that shit is everywhere.

  14. #29
    I like good comics. ScotsScribbler's Avatar
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    I have a conspiracy theory that Marvel and DC are happy to see LCSs go out of business.

    I went on the Vertigo website to order stuff direct and was surprised to find that they and other comic book studios don't have their own online stores.

    I don't know any other business that you can't order from direct.

    LCSs are blocking the Big Two from being able to sell subscriptions, having fans mail order direct and it occurs to me that they might want to cut out the middle man and increase their revenue stream that way.

    Or start their own comic chain, in the same way as Disney did with the Disney stores line.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by the Dagman View Post
    rLike say when Captain America #25 came out, the stores had no warning of the hype and sold out early. Potential new readers that heard about it in USAToday or on Good Morning America that day went to the store to buy a copy just to find the shelf empty. everyone's best interests.
    This happened to me on FF4. I went on the Saturday to find every store(about 6 in my area had sold out) boy was I pi***d being a regular reader.

    One of my concern is that the titles that are attractive to me are likely to be the lower selling ones and so will probably be sold out. I expect the A-list titles might also sell out.

    And I have no intention of ordering something new without seeing it first.

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