Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The one about the retailer: At Silver Bullet Comic Books, "The Panel" tackles "the shortsightedness of retailers":

The shortsightedness of retailers predominantly ordering from only the Diamond Top 50 will kill the comics industry. Discuss.
Retailer Stephen Holland: "By restricting the diversity of comics available on the shelves for the public to buy, the retailers in this industry are restricting the diversity of potential customers, and thereby their ability to generate income. The most catastrophic effect of which is that the creators of the material which we so desperately need to reach literate adults -- those 99% of the population who prefer straight fiction, autobiography, adult fantasy, humour, crime, politics and the downright weird -- aren’t making enough money to produce comics regularly. Some have a day job instead. Some may give this medium up for good. ...

"... If more retailers stocked these creators’ comics, the shops would make more money and the creators would make more money, then the creators would be able to produce comics more often, and then everyone would be making more money."

Dark Horse's Scott Allie: "The question immediately craps on retailers for making conservative business choices in a dangerous and some would say dying direct market. It's not shortsightedness if it's the only way they can keep their doors open. If the retailers are shortsighted, so are the readers, the publishers, and, yes, even the creators. ...

"... Business As Usual in all its ugly forms is what will team up like the Fatalistic Fifteen to destroy comics. What will save it is publishers, editors, creators, retailers, marketers, and websites all expecting the best of themselves and those they control to present the best material and push it on the most people. I don't think there's near enough of that going on."

Future Entertainment's Bob Layton: "It’s killing me and most Indy publishers. No one can blame the retailers, most of which are hanging on by their fingertips. However, that practice almost insures that the same 'cookie cutter' products are going to be jammed down their throats on a monthly basis. Look -- as a former executive of a shareholder-run company, the bottom line is 'units sold' -- regardless of what those units represent. Fifteen monthly X-Men books guarantee a certain amount of units to the company’s bottom line. So, it becomes a vicious cycle that eventually will eliminate product diversity."

Donna Barr, who always has a great response: "They keep saying that. I keep waiting for that to happen. Somebody let me know if that ever happens. In the meantime, I refuse to be part of the 700th panic or discussion of this subject. Been there, done that."