Friday, November 5, 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

I usually don't pay much attention to the price of the comics I'm buying week to week anymore. I've just taken for granted (or, I guess, accepted the fact) that the books--especially the single issues--are not cheap.

By any means.

Most comics today carry a $3.99 price tag for 22 pages of content, and while that figure would have sounded downright absurd only five or six years ago, today it's pretty much the standard.

Given the nature of things, the price increases over the last few years were not only expected, but pretty much accepted, by the comics fan base at large.

The economy still stinks, and publishing especially has taken a massive hit in the first decade of this new century. Sure, the increase managed to price some people out of the hobby, but it was a move made to ensure that the publishers will keep putting out the highest quality material.

Of course, when we end up getting 15 tie-in and crossover books in one week from just one of the publishers, the decision to increase price points is a bit harder to swallow for fans.

Anyway, in the shop on Wednesday, I noticed that DC's new Superboy series had started with issue one shipping this week. The cover caught my eye, and I noticed from the credits that the book is written by Jeff Lemire, a creator I like quite a bit.
So I picked the book up, flipped through it, and liked what I saw. "This will be a great trade paperback," I thought, and put the book back down on the rack. I continued around the shop, looking at all of the other new and wonderful, and then something caught my eye.

It was the cover of Superboy, issue one, again.

This time, however, I looked more closely at that cover. And here's what I saw.
See there, in the lower left hand corner? $2.99. For a new comic? Sad to say, but that one dollar price difference put me over the top, and I ended up buying the issue.

Sure, it's only a buck, but last month we got the news that DC will be lowering the prices of all ongoing series to $2.99. More importantly, however, is DC's promise to keep the books at that price point for the foreseeable future.

If you get three or four DC books each week, that's a savings of $12 to $16 a month, and $144 to $192 a year. That's a pretty nice chunk of change being saved by your average DC Comics reader.

What will this mean for DC's sales figures for next year? I'd bet they go up.

And I bet readers will be more willing to give a shot to a series they probably would have left on the shelf had they not saved that three or four dollars. Which, obviously, is beneficial to the publisher, and to creators in general.

So what do you think? Is $2.99 a good price for new comics?


Scott said...

I haven't bought comics in so long that I thought 2.99 was actually MORE expensive than usual. The manga reader in me thinks it's terribly expensive, though.

Comparatively speaking, with American comics? Seems like a decent middle ground.

AJG said...

Yeah, it's pretty nutty that the average price of an American comic book today is over $3.00.

Lots of $3.99 books on the market added to the mountain of $4.99 annuals and specials, and it gets out of hand.