Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 67
  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    28,982

    Default CBR: Tilting at Windmills - Aug 25, 2011

    Brian Hibbs takes a close look at the details in DC Comics and comiXology's digital storefront FAQ and is not at all pleased by what he discovers.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Junior Member rpi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    115

    Default

    I'm in my early 30s and have been reading comics since I was 7 or 8. I've got thousands of Batman comics, nearly all of which were purchased at various LCSs in a couple of local towns. I've been supporting them for years and was initially very wary of comics moving to a digital format. I mean, tons of comics are already downloaded illegally and look what that has done to the music biz.
    The more I've thought about it, though, the more I view comic retailers as like the music business. CD prices continued to increase because the music business didn't really care too much about its customers, just making profits. They took the music buyer for granted and that arrogance ended up making people happier than ever to move to another form of getting music: the download, legal or illegal.
    I look at my local comic shop and comic shops in nearby cities and I can't help but look forward to having digital comics available they day the issues are released. With the exception of one store (Cosmic Monkey Comics here in Portland, where the counter staff is always friendly and the store is very tidy and welcoming), most LCSs are nightmares to go through. There is crap all over the place. The counter staff views you with an attitude that is somewhere between hostile suspicion and outright contempt. In all the LCSs I've ever had subscriptions with, getting all the issues I've subscribed to each month has been a battle as there are invariably some that just aren't pulled. One store owner continued to act as though I was totally new to his store even though I'd been going there weekly for a couple years.
    I appreciate that these are peoples' jobs. These stores are a passion and they are what is used to pay the bills. I've heard the phrase that opening a comic shop is like becoming a nun: you take a vow of poverty. I understand all that, I've seen it for the past couple decades I've been going to my LCS, and it's gotta be a horrible time for most comic shop owners.
    I also see DC switching its sales format as its sales crumble and I have to wonder just how concerned I should feel about it all. I see all these LCS owners who come across as though DC owes them something. Sure, DC has relied on them to sell these comics, to hang on to issues that don't sell, to deal with late buyers, etc. Conversely, DC has been forced to largely sell its product through a retail format that has proven itself incapable of providing adequate marketing or promotion of itself. When was the last time a LCS, or a coalition of them, tried to make a really concerted effort to increase sales? Last month I think there wasn't a single title that sold above 100,000 issues. Yeah, it's tough for comics to compete against video games and movies in a slow economy, but I also don't remember the last time a LCS made a move to really bolster itself in a local community. They expect DC to do it all.
    I for one am happy to have the digital comics coming, and honestly I won't miss going to the LCS. Except for Cosmic Monkey, they rock.
    Last edited by rpi; 08-26-2011 at 01:23 AM.

  3. #3
    I like good comics. ScotsScribbler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    154

    Default

    I wonder why it is that LCS owners can be such knobheads.

    It appears to be a great majority. One huge store had surprisingly few good comics, ordered a comic specially for me, and when I came back to claim it had sold it on to someone else. Another ran his LCS as his personal fiefdom for his friends to play D&D. One has a hilariously bad online reputation and his shop is a mess, with nothing in order. I have tried to support his comic shop as I believe in supporting local businesses but he has driven me away. Another is a depressive sulker. Forbidden Planet employees are generally anti-social morons who think body art is a personality substitute. Indie stores tend not to be much better.


    The Beguiling has the best selection I've ever seen and some employees are fantastic but I can only think of one very friendly store and it was Big B in Hamilton Ontario, which had a fairly broad standard selection.
    Last edited by ScotsScribbler; 08-27-2011 at 10:19 AM. Reason: personal

  4. #4
    I like good comics. ScotsScribbler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    154

    Default

    Anyway the issue is DC being a bunch of Sneaky Petes.

    I really do feel for the good LCS owners, because the Big Two are going to start shafting them big time. It is not a nice job to have when your biggest product producers and long time sweethearts are 'dating' someone else.

    The irony is they're about to drive away the last of the buyers.

    I don't like digital, so I'm going to stick with paper for now.

    I have some copies of Hellboy which are in great condition but the pages are now yellowed.

    I could be convinced by digital but for the download three times rule, and the price is nowhere near the 99c iTunes level that it should be. I think paper buyers should get automatic access to digital versions.

    I can definitely see the appeal of crystal clear pirate versions free and better quality than expensive, not so good quality comics.

  5. #5
    Aquaman Army sethysquare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    9,179

    Default

    cool.
    10 char

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I can't help but compare this to Amazon.com and local bookstores...

    It seems to me that it probably would be a bad idea for LCS to take Comixology's offer, based upon the article, but that doesn't mean LCS should ignore the digital side of things either. Barnes & Noble has a good webstore, offers a great alternative to the Kindle, and seems to be doing pretty good. Borders has gone under.

    Comixology is pretty good, but has a LOT of room for improvement. I would prefer to have the individual issues purchased be on my computer/iPad/phone rather than viewed by my device, but retained on their website. If a LCS could manage that, I think a lot of people would shift where they purchase their digital comics.

    Also, LCS have access to TPBs. Another thing Comixology can't do (as of yet) is to offer a discount on the TPB of comics purchased digitally. I'm thinking give a higher discount for the more issues purchased - so if the customer purchases only the first issue to see if he or she WANTS the trade, give them a 5% discount, but if they purchased every issue in the trade, give 'em a 20% discount - and in either case, have an offer at the end of the digital comic asking if they'd like to be reminded when the TPB comes out (and what kind of discount they could get for each level of comic purchased.)

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure that most (if any) LCS have the resources to actually implement something like this, so maybe it's a pipe dream. I really think it would benefit any that ARE capable of doing it, though...

  7. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-653629 "A comic publisher needs to be profitable within both print and digital mediums." However it will be at the cost of local retailers who will be forced to change and adapt to the new environment. Marvel and DC Comics want to slowly get rid of the middlemen which in this case are the retailers to retain higher profits.

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I really can't see how a brick-and-mortar comic store won't be going the way of the brick-and-mortar record store. There is an inevitability to it.

  9. #9
    Creator of Bocas
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    30

    Default

    Brian, made some interesting arguments, but in many ways the direct market is what killed the newsstand sells of yesteryear and now digital is going to break the direct market. It's the natural order of things. Old business models die, new ones are born. Just sign of the times.
    Publisher Estrada Media
    http://graphicly.com/estrada-media

  10. #10
    Senior Member Trey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    4,779

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mbsprime View Post
    I really can't see how a brick-and-mortar comic store won't be going the way of the brick-and-mortar record store. There is an inevitability to it.
    Its not the same thing. Music (the product) is all 1s and 0s, so yes a cd or record is no longer needed. Reading and looking and holding a comic cannot be duplicated on a screen.

    Fine, I could care less if a 12 year old wants to buy digital, I will read the physical object
    "Calm down, call Batman." - Greg Capullo

  11. #11
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    46

    Default

    I really don't know what to say except that we're clearly entering a time of change for comics.

    I personally want everything to be day/date digital NOW. I want to choose the format that works best for me. For a few comics that I've collected my whole life (X-Men) I still want the paper copies. But for 90% of comics, I'm just as happy to read them on my iPad.

    It's unfortunate that this transition is going to kill the direct market, but if I have to choose between having comics the way I want them or being forced to buy them in my non-preferred format to sustain a dying business model.....Guess what? I choose my interests over the LCS's.

    I think this will be a rough transition. LCSs closing. Sales plummet. Publishers have to reduce number of titles to a solid core. Creators out of Big 2 jobs.
    I write a few reviews/week for:
    weeklycomicbookreview.com

    My comic review blog (for whatever I don't get to review at WCBR):
    allthiscrap.blogspot.com

  12. #12

    Default

    The industry will survive, but many LCS will most likely not.

    As always, Brian, your column is a joy to read and debate - informative, in an entertaining fashion.

  13. #13
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    34

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trey View Post
    Its not the same thing. Music (the product) is all 1s and 0s, so yes a cd or record is no longer needed. Reading and looking and holding a comic cannot be duplicated on a screen.

    Fine, I could care less if a 12 year old wants to buy digital, I will read the physical object
    I agree, the music-to-comics comparison that is so often made is not really accurate. Listening to a CD vs listening to a MP3, for me and I imagine most other consumers, is an identical experience except MP3s are more convenient. Reading a comic on a laptop/tablet vs reading a physical copy are significantly different experiences. I don't think digital book will ever completely replace hardcovers/paperbacks no matter how good the e-readers are, and I think the conversion to digital will likely eventually claim a significant number of LCS but the best will survive and continue to cater to a niche market.

  14. #14
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Something I've wondered about ever since I can recall is why isn't there a "BestBuy" model retail outlet for comicbooks? I read a lot of stories/articles about retailers not having the right books, or frankly enough books, for collectors and everyday fans like myself. I certainly am bummed whenever my local store botches up my subscription list. That means that I'm now forced to buy missed books online and pay above cover price as well as pay for shipping.

    I realize many of our beloved newspapers, books, and even comics are being pushed to the digital format. Hell, I certainly love the look of a comic on my iPad. But...the main difference here between a Borders or Barnes and Noble is that comicbook fans like to have the good ol' fashioned hard copy to collect. That's why I think that a bigbox store for comics and related media would survive especially in larger markets. If you want mainstream buyers to increase sales, we need a mainstream store. I'd say that most local shops just aren't as inviting, and really don't fit the bill. They're usually small, in crappy locations, and staffed with the stereotypical comic nerd who looks at you weird if you ask a dumb question. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash anyone, I'm just trying to put out an idea to help the industry I enjoy and want my sons to enjoy one day.

    I'm not a retailer. I don't live their struggles and tackle their issues, but I'm sure somewhere someone has tried this idea or written about it. I'd sure love some other people's opinion on this.

    Thanks, and happy collecting!

  15. #15
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    40

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trey View Post
    Its not the same thing. Music (the product) is all 1s and 0s, so yes a cd or record is no longer needed. Reading and looking and holding a comic cannot be duplicated on a screen.
    This simply isn't true. Comic art is digitized as well, before printing. Music and comics are produced by humans through an effort of their art, or their craft. It is digitzed FOR THE CORPORATION'S CONVENIENCE. You are buying or stealing your MP3s by choice... it's the medium you listen in, but for the most part was NOT the medium it was created in (this is true even for eleectronic music). MP3s are significantly more compressed than CDs, and the devices that are usually used to listen now compress even further... to say nothing of LPs or live performances which cannot be truly duplicated digitally, and which will cease to exist if the only form of music you support is digital. Music retailers switched to digital formats because the big music corporation gave them no choice in the matter, and what happened to the music retailers is exactly what the comics industry needs to be wary of.

    In short, it IS the same thing. It's EXACTLY the same thing. You're just used to digital music already. One day you'll be probably used to digital comics.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •