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Greg Kirkman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 May 2006
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 1:29am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

http://blog.comichron.com/2018/02/end-of-era-last-dc-newssta nd-issues.html

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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 6:17am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I was surprised to read they were still selling via newsstands up until recently.

You know, I learnt recently how fucked up things are. For instance, digital sales aren't included in sales figures. The two articles I read, which appeared to be factual, stated only direct market sales are included.

How nutty is that (if true)?

How is it any less of a sale if I hit the "Buy" button on comiXology? Must it only be a sale if I walk into a store?

What an odd industry at times!
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 7:20am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

It's even nuttier than you think, Robbie. The sales reported are those sold to the shops in the Direct Market, and not to the fans/readers/collectors.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 7:42am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I can't imagine any other industries being that way, Matt. 
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 7:51am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

The comic business has never been like any other business, and all too often that hasn't been a good thing. Sigh.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

When I was sent a link stating that digital comic sales aren't included, I thought that someone had a screw loose!

I presume other entertainment industries don't do that. If I order digital episodes of CHiPs via Amazon or iTunes, I presume that if anyone ever were to compile CHiPs sales figures, then those would be included.

I presume anything I order digitally via Amazon Prime is counted. Or eBooks (80% of my book purchases are eBooks).
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 12:42pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Colleen Doran recently tweeted that one of her NY Times bestselling books sold 40,000 copies across the country and six figures worldwide, yet only racked sales of 950 copies to direct market retailers. I wonder if there aren't a few monetary reasons for telling creators and readers that this is a tiny, itsy-bitsy lil' industry wit' not much munnies t'go around... (Cue big Walter Keane painted eyes blinking innocently.)

DC and Marvel are apparently making bank and it is not through the Direct Sales Market.

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John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 4:30pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Cue big Walter Keane painted eyes blinking innocently.

••

Uhmmm...

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Brian O'Neill
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Posted: 10 February 2018 at 7:19pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Now, I know. And knowing is half the battle(Walter Keane said he made that up, too.)
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John Jackson Miller
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 1:04pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I wrote the DC newsstand piece above (which has since been updated, as we have located more final issues), and may be able to address some of the questions on what data is out there and why.

Currently the comics industry is only able to report on digital sales in aggregate, annually -- our most recent report with ICV2 is here -- because the vendors in the digital sphere, like Amazon/Comixology, and the publishers consider the quantities proprietary and confidential. Were they available we'd certainly report them at Comichron, although in a separate section, because our readers want to know how many print copies specifically exist.  

Every industry has varying levels of transparency, with most tending to share only what data they legally have to, or what would advance their interests. We've always had a good idea about music sales because there are third parties tracking performance royalties. In prose books, we know units of physical copies through Bookscan, formerly a Nielsen product -- though you have to pay to get access to the full data, and it doesn't include e-books for the same reason they aren't available for comics.

In fact, comics sales figures have tended to be more available than some other genres because of some historical curiosities. Since they were sold by subscription, postal circulation filings (which our site tracks) for many titles have been available since 1960. Since they had ads, audit bureaus tracked sales for advertisers. (I just visited the Audit Bureau's microfilm archives for data before 1980 last year.) And the reason the Diamond shipping charts are around now is because one of the distributors in the early 1980s thought it would be good to index sales, so retailers could see what titles were selling nationally relative to others.

So some info is out there, though I certainly agree it's definitely not fully transparent, and it always could be more so.

John Jackson Miller
http://www.comichron.com





Edited by John Jackson Miller on 11 February 2018 at 1:54pm
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 2:09pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Thanks, Mr. Miller! And drop on by anytime.
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 11 February 2018 at 7:42pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Not to mention that being a NYT bestseller has its own metrics on what is and is not a sale. A book can sell out a 100k print run in  a week and not be a best seller because someone bought too many, for example.

I agree with the article that the bi-weekly schedule doesn't fit very well with the current newsstand. 

Axel Alonzo talking about diversity said that Ms. Marvel sold more online than in print, when asked how much that was he basicly said, no idea but it's a lot. 

I think the huge number of books on the stands every month (previews excel file is about 3600 line items in a month)  hurts news stands. It certainly hurts me as a small store. a bi--weekly marvel at 3.99 for 2 more pages of story really are one of the worst deals out there. 




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Jason Ayer
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Joined: 29 March 2008
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 11:57am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I posted this article in a facebook group and postulated that it was one more step in the changing landscape of comics. I feel that the time of
the monthly printed book has just about run its course. The reason print in general has resisted change is that up until now, there hasn’t been
a viable format alternative.

Music formats have changed several times in my lifetime alone. Every time there’s a change in format (LPs and 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs to
downloads to streaming) it seems to be pushed forward primarily by the younger generation over the objections of the older. The argument of
“We’re older and have the most money to spend so they have to listen to us” doesn’t seem to carry a lot of weight. Now, with CDs on the decline
and, presumably, on the way out, that argument is again being tossed about and, again, being ignored.

When I posted in the group, I got the same argument from a number of the older member, who, coincidentally enough, were all men over 30. But
according to these statistics (A Demographic Snapshot of Comic Buyers), if I’m reading them correctly, the ‘men over 30’ group, the group that frequent the LCSs
the most and buys most of the monthly ‘floppies’, are in the minority, comprising only ~30% of the comic buying public.

In the last year, 4 of the 6 LSCs in my area closed. I’m friends with the owner of one of the remaining two, and he told me that not only did
those closures not see an increase in his monthly subscriptions, but, in his store, more people are gravitating towards trades. Additionally,
more people are coming in for the experience. They not only want to buy comics, they want to talk about them (and movies and TV shows) something
they can’t do at Books-a-Million. (On another note, over the last few years, the nine books stores within a comfortable driving distance from me
have decreased to two, with one large used bookstore.)

Marvel and DC are already dipping their toes in the ‘digital issues to be printed later as a trade’ waters. I’m wondering how long before they
decide to go there completely, with possibly only the barest of monthlies, or maybe quarterlies, on the shelves?

What do you think? Please note I’m not saying I prefer one over the other. I’m simply trying to look at things academically.

Edited by Jason Ayer on 12 February 2018 at 11:59am
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John Byrne

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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 12:07pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

From the article:

• 72% of purchases in comic shops are by men, with 30-50 year olds the largest age category;

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Jason Ayer
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Joined: 29 March 2008
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

From the article:
• 72% of purchases in comic shops are by men, with 30-
50 year olds the largest age category;
___________________________________________

True, but the article says that comic buyers overall
(LSC, bookstores, and online) are 63% men, with half
of those being under 30. That leaves the over 30 male
category at around ~30%. That 30% are the primary
customers of the LCS.

Again, I could be extrapolating the data wrong, but
that’s how I was reading it.
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John Byrne

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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 1:08pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

The 30 to 50 group is the largest part of the 72% group. Half of 72% would be 36%, so the 30/50 group must represent more than that, to be the largest part.
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John Jackson Miller
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Joined: 10 February 2018
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Posted: 12 February 2018 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I've been cautious about considering the periodical format as being in decline -- in part because the numbers simply hadn't shown it. Periodical sales (in units, not dollars) were up six of the last seven years, and twelve of the last sixteen. We're just getting there in a different manner, involving lower sales but from a lot more publishers and books.

I also think it's easy to overlook the aftermarket, which adds several hundred million dollars to the business annually and is almost exclusively based on periodicals. Most of that volume doesn't depend on a steady stream of new periodicals, but I think it helps to keep the category in people's minds. The collectible trade in casino tokens and stock certificates tended to dwindle after new ones stopped being made.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 3:29pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Newspapers are also on their last legs, and print magazines will be heading that way eventually. So Clark Kent better go back to tv, and I guess Peter Parker is going to have to find some place else to take photos for.
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Brian Hague
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Joined: 14 November 2006
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 6:51pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Do former heads of international technology corporations take photos for others? 

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Greg Kirkman
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Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
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Posted: 13 February 2018 at 7:08pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Do former heads of international technology corporations take photos for others?
+++++++++++

Only as a fallback career, apparently.
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Joe Boster
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Joined: 29 April 2004
Location: United States
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Posted: 14 February 2018 at 9:02pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

newspapers are on the decline, but there is bright spots such as locally owned weekly newspapers. NYT makessomething like 70% of it's revenue from the paywall. Some have found success as Non-profit organizations. 

last year was bad for comics, and was a overdue correction. The over 30 voted with thier wallet and publishers took notice. The only issue with beadth and not depth in sales is it's really hard for a store to order shelf copies which you need to get new blood. 

I opined that  month comic books are like Vinyl. Which is limited lack of manufacturing from even more growth. and not going away any time soon. And if a publisher can be profitable at diamond's minimum purhcase of 1500 then anything is possible. 
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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 5:11am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I bought SIDEWAYS #1 yesterday.

It was mildly enjoyable, but, as is so often the case with modern comics, telling a very small part of what will no doubt be a six-part tale.

This "decompression" is beginning to irk me.

I WANT to support comics. I do with our host (who doesn't do decompression and makes every issue of a title accessible and enjoyable). 

But look at it from my perspective: I want to support the character/concept of SIDEWAYS. I want to ensure its longevity. But nearly four quid (from Forbidden Planet) for an issue in which hardly anything happens is a BIG ask. Why wouldn't I wait for the trade?

I get it, I really do. If we all do that, the monthly book will cease to exist. I want pennies for the SIDEWAYS creators NOW! But it feels so incomplete. 

I bought ELEMENTARY on DVD recently. An entire season. I have to because I don't get it on TV here. But would I have bought 1-2 episodes at a time on a solo disc? No. Who would? I'm bound to "wait for the trade" with such a thing, not that DVD companies do that, anyway.

One of my favourite comics from our host is SUPERMAN VOL. 2 #9, where Superman fights Joker. Published in 1987. 40 pence, I think. A complete tale which took a little while to read (plus a letters page!). 

Yes, prices increase (that's life), but I don't see nearly four quid good for an incomplete tale. Sorry. I want to support the industry. But when I reached the end of SIDEWAYS, which took less than 8-10 minutes to read, it felt so very incomplete. 

I hope I'm making sense. I have no issue with supporting a comic. If the aforementioned SUPERMAN VOL. 2 #9 was released today, I think nearly four quid for that tale would be a bargain! Four quid for a tale that can take 20-25 minutes to read, plus with a letters page. 

It's the incompleteness (if that's a word) that no longer provides an incentive. I do understand only by buying the monthly book can SIDEWAYS be viable. And I'm not greedy, but "warm-up" issues no longer work for me.

I should add that I pay nearly four quid for SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP. And just to prove I'm not averse to spending cash, I think that's a bargain. Most issues have a complete tale. Even two-parters (I think there may have been some) work well. I feel like I get "bang for my buck". I didn't feel that way about SIDEWAYS.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 11:41am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

RP: "Why wouldn't I wait for the trade?"

Just that you can ask this question is a red flag. The fact it represents - that comics are now being published in six issues as chapters - is a reason to AVOID buying comics. It's a resale market... and how can a book be resold when its sales were terrible in the first place?

It's another sign that publishers are burning their crops to stay warm... it works in the extreme short term, but it is eliminating their tomorrow. And today, they're getting hungry, I think.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 12:07pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Thanks for understanding, Eric. Some I speak to on Facebook don't.

You know, I read some of Tom King's Batman books. Yes, written for the trade, but plenty of action in each comic. But I will not buy a single issue of talking heads, build-up and exposition. That's lunacy.

No-one else would do that with other forms of entertainment: "We'll release a chapter of Stephen King's short stories, for one or two quid, over six months. Eight months later, the complete short story will be available." No way!

Our host has done arcs over his career, but each issue provided bang for buck! SIDEWAYS did not. The villain (or opponent) appeared in the last panel, the rest was build-up. If it is a six-issue arc, I'd rather wait for the trade.
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I don't know about Marvel but a lot of the DC titles don't seem very decompressed to me anymore. Maybe that's partly a function of some of them coming out twice a month. I've seen a lot of two-part stories, some three-part ones, a few done-in-ones.

Tom King has done some two-parters in BATMAN. The Clark and Lois plus Bruce and Selina "double date" story was great. The one that just ended, with Wonder Woman, was absolutely horrible. 
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