Whether we want to accept it or not, the fact of the matter is that there is a small base of OHC, HC and TPB collectors out there who will buy these books. Yeah, we like to think that everyone buys their comics in these nice tomes, but it just isn't so. Many of the cult classics, like X-Factor, don't carry a large readership and I believe that translates into smaller print runs for TPBs and HCs. Even when a big name is attached to a series, it still doesn't warrant a large print run on the comic, and thus goes the HC and TPB orders, which would have to be way smaller.
Now, having said all that, the audience for omnibuses is MUCH smaller because of the price point. Most collectors simply cannot afford to spend, nor are willing to shell out, $125 on a large book. They still have the mindset that comics are cheap forms of entertainment and anything over $20 is outrageously priced.
I am amazed at how many TPBs The Walking Dead sells. I've seen comic shops get boxes of each volume in on their weekly shipments from Diamond. I have also been amazed at how many copies BAMs keep in stock on their shelves.
But, what amazes me more is how people will look at the bigger collections of TWD and they simply won't pay the big bucks for the compilations, which are a better buy than the TPBs on their own.
Just like with TWD, readers will flip through omnibuses and go on and on about how awesome those larger editions are, but they simply can't understand how anyone would pay such a high price for a book. I mean, even us seasoned collectors sometimes find it hard to shell out $100 for these reprint volumes. I know it gets harder and harder for me to spend that much, because I have so many other things begging for my dollars.
I'm not trying to be an alarmist, but Marvel has said it is changing its policy on reprint editions and I think we are seeing the new policy in action with these sold-out TPBs. I mean, when was the last time any of us saw TOW sell out of THREE TPBs just minutes after the listing went live?