Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The tie-ins that bind: At, retailer Gail Burt weighs in on the recent discussion about variant covers, but adds that the real problem is the proliferation of tie-in books:

"So let's just use Marvel as our example publisher for a moment (they are not the only ones who do this, we're just using them for the sake of having someone to use) and see how that plays in reality. The problem is that printing up a gazillion more X-Books does not result in the consumer (or the retailer) having one extra dollar to spend on them. And that's where they are going to start shooting themselves in the foot at the publisher level. People's disposable income (that which they budget for comics) is pretty much set. They may over-spend for a little while, but eventually, reality sets in and they either have to cut back or at least rein in their spending.

"If there are four Spider-Man titles each month, a consumer can keep up and feel their collections are complete. But when you get to four Spider-Man titles EACH WEEK, the consumer becomes bewildered, overburdened, and discouraged - they can no longer afford to keep a complete collection of Spider-Man, so do they choose which titles to continue with? Not always. The collectors who have been with the hobby for years will wisely choose to spend their money on the best of those offered. But the newer people don't do this. The phenomenon I've seen with new customers is: THEY QUIT -- ENTIRELY. They can't afford EVERYTHING, so not really understanding that one doesn't have to collect EVERYthing, they simply quit."