Thursday, October 7, 2010

Untergangsstimmung (UPDATED)

Found on Heidi MacDonald's twitter feed.

Bad news for those looking to be published in the world of comics. I'm looking online, trying to find the white paper referenced in this tweet. No luck so far. So I'm not sure if the report references single-issue comics and trade paperbacks, or just single-issues. Either way it's bad.

Let's look at the best-case scenarios, that the report is only talking about single-issues: I know thyat publishers use those floppies as loss-leaders for the trade paperback collections into which they will eventually be collected. If those monthly comics are no longer absorbing the cost of production and creative expenses, then it's going to be harder and harder to justify the cost of projects in the first place. Does that make sense?

I think this bolsters my argument that the way to go with regards to distributing comics is online. Put your comics up on the web, do it consistently, build a readership and show publishers that you have a built-in audience for a printed book. Or self-publish. Or create an electronic reader-friendly version of your material. (In that same series of tweets, Heidi MacDonald says that digital comics will make an estimated 6-8 million dollars this year.)

And all of this pertains to traditional comics publishing, ie, Marvel, DC and Dark Horse, etc. I have no clue how mainstream publishers handle things.

I still want to find that white paper. If anyone out there has an idea where it is, please let me know.

UPDATE: ICv2 gives us the lowdown on this (link via Publisher's Weekly). Apparently it sales of trade paperbacks (or, as they call them, graphic novels) that are down 20%. Sales of single-issue comics are up slightly. This is really bad news. For publishers. Trades are where publishers make their money and if they can't sell those... well, in the biz, we call that "shitty."

However, the article does note that digital sales will increase, etc. So, claim those domain names, kids, and learn how to push those pixels. Things are changing. Are you going to keep up?

1 comment:

scottice said...

Yes, it is sad. I think the major hurdle is that floppy comics just cost so damned much money. $2.99 for a story I can read TWICE in 15 minutes? I'm going to sound old here, but when I was a kid they were .35 cents... and the spiral up just continued.

I still have a box at TFAW but only have about 2-3 titles that I buy monthly, and I only go to the store 4 times a year. I still love comics, but even a measly 2-3 titles a month costs me close to $40 a quarter. Can kids afford this? I really doubt it. Besides, competition from hand held devices and computer games are taking up all their time. I bought Modern Warfare for the XBOX for $60 and still play it over a year later. I've put countless hours into gaming, much to my wifes chagrin. But, I get "more bang for the buck".

It's time for the big 3 to have monthly subscriptions for digital comics. Sell them in bundles of, say, 10 titles a month for $19.99. I'd run out and buy an iPad if they would adopt such a thing.

I really miss reading comics like I used to... hopefully digital methods will become easily available in the near future and Apple will get yet another $500 from me...