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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default CBR: Tilting at Windmills - Oct 20, 2011

    Brian examines the second month of DC's New 52, the impact of digital exclusivity on brick and mortar retailers, and some potentially underhanded tactics by a major publisher.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member momaw's Avatar
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    Good on you Brian for your stance on the "Digital Only" Spiderman position.

    Giving free digital copies ends one of only 3 ways for a consumer:

    1. They don't use it and don't want it.
    2. They say thanks, redeem it and use it as a backup to their physical copy.
    3. They convert fully to digital.

    I fall into the second category (depending on how easy it is to use that digital copy i.e. DRM)

    But this is clearly a case of Marvel mining the store to grow and capture the number 3's.

    It's hard enough for comic book stores and Marvel (and DC) should be looking at the demographic's that don't come into the stores to grow the business. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is a losing situation for everybody. Those who currently buy from store who would prefer to convert to digital are going to do so without the help of this program.

  3. #3
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    Why not order the comic as usual, remove all the polybags and register the codes yourself? (I'm assuming the codes are individual and can only be used once). That way you don't take a loss on sales, you don't run the risk of losing customers to digital and Marvel don't get any useful info. You'd have to let your customers know the code won't work though!

  4. #4
    Aquaman Army sethysquare's Avatar
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    This gets a stamp of approval from me. I do feel sad to hear that GA isn't selling.

  5. #5
    Ugly, but interesting marriedguy's Avatar
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    I don't know how anyone runs a comic shop.
    The whole system is fundamentally flawed and is in DESPERATE need of a major overhaul.

    How a bloke is supposed to order a product when the solit changes constantly is beyond me.

    Why can't ALL comics be returnable? Shops are more likely to order new/independant titles, more people buying more titles and the companies that produce them have to lift their game to remain competitive in the marketplace.

    I'd like to see comic shop owners approaching their local cinemas.
    New super-hero film coming out?
    Great!
    Have a stand in the lobby loaded with trades of the relevant character for sale to moviegoers. Like the movie? Check out THESE!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member finfangfool's Avatar
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    No complaints here on making a smart business decision, after all if you didn't do things like this you might not have a shop for your customers to enjoy (for those of us who do enjoy physically browsing things in a shop). As for GA, you could try selling it to people by letting them know there'll be a writer change soon (for the better, imo), and maybe bundle the Krul issues and give them a discount?
    A Fool for the Foom

  7. #7
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    Default Digital

    Brian, I think you may be missing the point here. The biggest issue that hard core collectors have with digital is that they are not getting a physical copy to own forever. By Marvel including a free digital copy this will keep me in the print game longer. Most people that buy a print copy feel that the digital should be free or very low cost. It's backup in case that Comixology goes belly up. I say kudos to Marvel for allowing me more flexibility with my media at a lower price.

  8. #8
    Read Savage Dragon Hanzo the Razor's Avatar
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    Uhh... won't not stocking a highly desired book force customers to go elsewhere for it -- perhaps online?

    While I really enjoy Brian's column and perspective, I think this is sort of sad -- if Best Buy stopped carrying DVDs that included a free digital download, would it really stop the digital movement or would they just be hurting themselves by creating a perception that they don't stock what the customers want?

    It may not have been included in the solicitations, but if it doesn't cost the retailer or customer any money, it's really not that big a deal -- you won't lose readers and money because people don't want it. It's not like saying, "BTW, we're replacing Joe Madureira with Joe Blow." and all the fans who are buying it just for his art will drop off.

    In the end, offering LESS selection than your digital counterparts won't help your business. Offering a small discount that beats the digital price point might, but saying "go somewhere else"? Nope.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by heroesmask View Post
    Brian, I think you may be missing the point here. The biggest issue that hard core collectors have with digital is that they are not getting a physical copy to own forever. By Marvel including a free digital copy this will keep me in the print game longer. Most people that buy a print copy feel that the digital should be free or very low cost. It's backup in case that Comixology goes belly up. I say kudos to Marvel for allowing me more flexibility with my media at a lower price.
    I actually think you're missing his point. Regardless of how he feels regarding free digital copies, his beef is that he believes Marvel intentionally withheld this info from retailers as long as possible instead of being upfront about it and letting the retailers make an informed decision.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DaronK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeshan View Post
    I actually think you're missing his point. Regardless of how he feels regarding free digital copies, his beef is that he believes Marvel intentionally withheld this info from retailers as long as possible instead of being upfront about it and letting the retailers make an informed decision.
    Exactly. I applaud the man for taking a stand against Marvel's shady business practices.

    And for those people who think he's hurting himself, I'm of the mind that Brian is smart enough to inform his customers as to why he isn't carrying the book. I know I would side with my LCS if they informed me what was going on (if I didn't already know) and explain why they weren't carrying the book. I might look for it elsewhere if I really wanted it, but it wouldn't affect my patronage to the store. In fact it might even get me to boycott the book as well, which in this case it would.

    It should also be noted that he said he ordered copies for those copies that ordered it through him. He's just not buying any to put on the shelves.

  11. #11
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    He actually mentions the point that is the kicker here: polybags. Without some representation of internal art, I'm not gonna pick something up. Most artists I don't immediately know. Only artist names are found on the outside of polybags. Therefore...

    Also, I just think it's an incredibly weak attempt to sidestep the 2.99 argument. If I buy an issue of a comic, I see nothing morally wrong with pirating a .cbr file of THAT particular issue anyways. So to me, the value is $0. ESPECIALLY if it has some kind of DRM restriction.

    I really don't understand who is making these business decisions for Marvel, but I really doubt they've ever bought monthly comics.
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  12. #12
    Nonsense Expert raskal66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeshan View Post
    I actually think you're missing his point. Regardless of how he feels regarding free digital copies, his beef is that he believes Marvel intentionally withheld this info from retailers as long as possible instead of being upfront about it and letting the retailers make an informed decision.
    +1 here, especially with the goods he buys being unreturnable. You are basically gambling that the poly-bagged, 10,00th Spider Man book of the month is going to not only sell that issue, but continue to sell when the publisher is attempting to take your customer away in the process.

    Sure, Marvel can do that legally, but I bet Brian is not the only shopkeeper who feels this way. Full disclosure would have made this nasty pill a little sweeter to the taste.

  13. #13
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    I love Marvel and their characters but I am becoming very disappointed with the way that they are choosing to conduct their business. Consequently, rather than looking for titles to add to my pull list I am looking to buy as little as possible from them.

    I applaud Mr. Hibbs for standing up to them and saying "no." The attitude from Marvel seems to be that retailers need them so it is ok for Marvel to treat them shabbily. That's wrong and people need to say so and act as their conscience tells them to.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwigg1 View Post
    Why not order the comic as usual, remove all the polybags and register the codes yourself? (I'm assuming the codes are individual and can only be used once). That way you don't take a loss on sales, you don't run the risk of losing customers to digital and Marvel don't get any useful info. You'd have to let your customers know the code won't work though!
    a: Then Marvel is still rewarded for their behavior.

    b: At the point I agree to sell someone something, it is my belief that I should be attempting to sell them a pristine version. Would you suggest I rip ads out of comics if I don't like, say, the Army recruiting ads?

    -B

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by marriedguy View Post
    Why can't ALL comics be returnable? Shops are more likely to order new/independant titles, more people buying more titles and the companies that produce them have to lift their game to remain competitive in the marketplace.
    Because the very premise of the DM is that we've traded returnability for discount.

    Returnability is a poor system in that you build in a tremendous amount of expense and have nothing to show for it at the end of the day -- I buy many things from returnable distributors like Baker & Taylor... yet I very seldom return anything. Why pay shipping two ways, all of the costs of handling, etc, in order to make no profit?

    -B

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