Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Selling Out

So, just to reiterate how right we always are on this blog, Image Comics has announced that they've sold out of the following five titles in the past week: issue one of Nonplayer, Blue Estate, Green Wake, and Undying Love, and the second printing of Infinite Vacation, issue one.

All five of those books, I'll add, just to drive the point home, were featured at one point on Waiting for Wednesday.

Thank you, thank you, I am humbled by your applause.

If you didn't listen to us about the quality of each of these books when we were proselytizing about them, however, don't fret, because Image is going back to press on them all. They've also rushed out a second printing of Butcher Baker, issue one, another featured series on WfW.

So, what's the point of this post, today? Obviously, it's to gloat. But it's also to point out a few things about the absolute ABSURDITY of the comic book direct market.

You know, the direct market wherein customers (and retailers) have to order their books THREE MONTHS in advance of the products being on sale. Imagine that being the case, at, say, Home Depot.

Or, really, anywhere else.

Only in comics must retailers blindly order books, sit back, and hope they can sell their copies. Or, in the case of a book like Nonplayer, many retailers found themselves in a strange position.

Lots and lots of people wanted this book last week. Many more potential customers than there were copies available, it turned out, as the hype started after Diamond's cut-off date for ordering the title and retailers were unable to bump up their orders.

The Internet fueled this interest--which is exactly what the Internet should do--and tons of people who previously didn't know this book existed all of a sudden wanted it.

I talked to a couple of shop owners, and they both fielded calls throughout the day about the book. Unfortunately, neither had any available, as only a few customers pre-ordered it.

Unhappy customers means unhappy retailers.

Of course, as it always happens with these things, sellers on eBay are taking advantage of people who missed the boat. Nonplayer, especially, is going for some absurd Buy it Nows on the 'Bay.
It's a gorgeous book. That much I could tell just by looking at a few preview pages. But this weekend I got around to reading the issue, and boy, does it live up to the hype.

Probably the best first issue of a series I've read since Chew, and I've been all about that book ever since.

Which, while great for the creator and for Image, makes it all the more painful for readers who still don't have a copy, and retailers who missed out on huge sales numbers.

So, what to do?

It's not a new theory that the direct market is flawed, and needs to change. But when it comes down to it, comics publishers and retailers are about as open to change as is the average comics fan.

And until someone, somewhere, steps up and develops a better distribution process, we're stuck with what we have. And retailers are stuck with either too many books, or too few.

No comments: