Friday, May 21, 2004

(Barnes &) Noble causes: At, the Barnes & Noble controversy continues, with's Andy Eaton weighing in on the limited edition Ultimate Spider-Man hardcover:

"So, what is our response to B&N's move? We admire it. We do not begrudge anyone's decision to purchase an exclusive. In fact, we would do the same if the right opportunity presented itself. The move by B&N appears calculated to take advantage of the Spider-Man 2 movie hype and will likely introduce new readers into the industry, not a bad side effect. Instead of demonizing either B&N or Marvel (or both), we evaluate our position and react accordingly. It would be arrogant for us to assume that we do not have to respond to these competitive pressures or that we are somehow 'owed' something by comic book publishers. I know that B&N (and the rest of the mass-market) touch a different customer than the direct market. Sure, there is some overlap, but for Marvel not to attempt to tap this market in the midst of Spider-Man 2 would be an opportunity lost. Besides, Marvel has not left the direct market 'high and dry.' The publisher has given direct market retailers the incentives it needs to more effectively compete with B&N on Ultimate Spider-Man specifically. It is up to the retailer to make the most of the opportunity presented."

Retailer Daniel McAbee recommends that comic shops not surrender to the likes of Barnes & Noble, but instead "get off our collective butts and compete":

"We have formed a Manga Buyers Club card to give to our customers to give them an incentive to purchase ALL of their product from us. When they fill their punch card with $12 minimum purchases, they get a $10 credit to use on anything in the store. We are also offering a 'Money-Back Rack' of risk free mange for them to try. In the past we had more manga titles than anyone, and we still have a substantial lead, but with more and more attention from the Big Boxes, that may not be the case by years end. We are trying to act now to minimize the damage that they can do to our customer base by giving them incentives to stay loyal. It used to be easy to be in the Manga game, but now we have to work harder to make the same money from the same buyers.

"As far as the B&N exclusives go, I have always had the B&N Marvel Masterworks to sell to my customers at regular retail thanks to bulk buying of them from my local store. I have already placed an order for the Ultimate Spider-Man as well. I encourage everyone to do the same if they are interested in having the books for themselves."