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  1. #61
    Veteran Member MikeMC005's Avatar
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    I feel like we are lucky to still have as many 2.99 books as we do on the DC side of things. Marvel has almost exclusively moved to 3.99 barring a few titles when DC is almost an even split so I think we are lucky. I also think that as consumers we cant expect goods to stay at a constant price point forever and at some point price increases are inevitable because of inflation and the cost of materials increase so I don't see this as a big deal.

  2. #62
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    Bear in mind, production costs aren't JUST the cost of producing a book.

    For instance on DC book you're looking at a minimum of

    100 per page for the writer

    200 a page for pencils and inks

    50 a page for coloring.

    So, for a 20 page book, you're looking at bare minimum of 7000 in costs to get the book made. And when I say bare minimum, I mean it, those are the lowest page rates I've heard of - they are almost always (for art) more than that. Sometimes a lot more.

    Beyond that, each book needs to bear some portion of the cost of editorial, production, the actual offices, convention presence, the salaries of everyone else. And various other miscellany. Both Marvel and DC are owned by large corporations, but those corporations expect them to be profitable on their own. So in aggregate, those comics needs to pay for all of that.

    They don't, obviously, do this equally. The 100,000 or so copies of Batman they sell each month goes a long towards paying for all the assorted stuff. But you need to look at them as a group.

    So whether DC could drop their prices is sort of an open question. The other variable is how price elastic comics are. Price elasticity is, and this is a really simplified version, how much demand is affected by price. People tend to assume that the less you charge for something, the more you can sell, and so the least you can charge while making ANY profit is the best price for maximizing profit.

    This isn't how things actually work.

    It CAN kind of work that way for commodities - anything where essentially every product is the same. Wheat, oil, whatever. Even then (and note I said KIND OF WORKS) it depends on being able to supply demand.

    But in reality stuff follows a curve. There is only some much demand for any given thing, and you can only sell to the level of that demand. Get cheaper than that, and you're simply losing money you could have got if you charged more. Charge too much, and not enough people are willing to pay. And this is the most simple version of this. There's also things like the fact that price can influence the perception of quality - too low of a price, and people assume what you're offering is crap, and won't buy it. People are weird.

    In comics, it's fairly clear that lower prices, in the short term, don't add enough to sales to make the prices worthwhile. In the long term, it might make a difference if the comics market were different than it is now (I suspect not, for reasons too long to get into in a post here) but the trick is, you have to be able to survive the short term. Very few corporations are designed to do this - Amazon is fairly notable for being able to survive for twenty years without really making any profits. Because Jeff Bezos is apparently a warlock.

    As personal anecdata, I charge 3.50 for my creator owned stuff when I have a say in the matter (I don't, always) - the first Strode was 2.99, but I gambled later that people essentially didn't notice or, at least, care about the difference between 2.99 and 3.50 (they do care about 3.99, although less so as time goes on). But 3.50 makes a huge difference for a creator working on back end.

    Right now, I'm currently looking at the 9.99 price point for a first trade, which has become standard practice. A 9.99 book is essentially a loss leader (although you do make some money on each one sold) and this is another factor that confounds the price question.

    So, it's complicated.

    My opinion is that DC probably can't lower their prices, and there's definitely no evidence (from a business standpoint) that they should.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    And if they stop producing printed comic books, I won't be buying anything anymore. There's always the other side of the coin to consider.
    Well, to them, you are Oldie McOldperson and are going to die sooner than later. They aren't marketing toward your demographic, and losing you as a customer probably doesn't bother them in any way.

  4. #64
    Amazing Member Optimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    True.
    Imagine if they went all digital and still charged for paper quality. Would that make sense?

    Or would we enter the era of SD and HD comics and pricing?
    "See... this one emulates newsprint... and this one emulates glossy paper..."


    I wish they would offer SD and HD versions. I don't even care if SD is cheaper, these HD books take up so much space on my tablet.
    Last edited by Optimus; 08-25-2014 at 10:55 AM.

  5. #65
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Brady View Post
    Well, to them, you are Oldie McOldperson and are going to die sooner than later. They aren't marketing toward your demographic, and losing you as a customer probably doesn't bother them in any way.
    Why, thank you Mr. Sunshine. Aren't you in a pleasant and optimistic mood today?

    Trust me, I'm aware I'm "too old" and not who they're aiming for. Only problem is, how much of their current consumers are also in that same boat? Has DC found a successful way to replace us as we grow old and senile? Because they need to try . . . I just don't really know if they succeeded yet.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Why do you think Marvel no longer offers their comic books for newsstand sales anymore? It wasn't worth it to Marvel.
    It's also not worth it to the newsstand distributors. People forget a lot of those distributors got burned on comics and cards after the speculation bust in the 90s. Most outright don't want to deal with them.

  7. #67
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    In any case, Marvel seems to have a pretty good idea of how to get bigger exposure of their comics:

    http://comicsalliance.com/marvel-wal...de-paperbacks/

    Marvel is quietly making a big push to get its comics into mainstream retail — the most mainstream retail — at a hefty discount.

    A report over at The Beat details how “exclusive” editions of Marvel trade paperbacks — the key example is the Amazing Spider-Man “Big Time” trade from 2011 — are selling at Walmart for $5 each. For comparison, the regular trade retails for $14.99 and is on sale at Amazon right now for $11.48.

    The reprints are reportedly printed on cheaper paper than regular trades, and some are stapled rather than perfect bound, but perhaps the most important detail in the deal is that the trades include prominent ads for newer trades and for discount subscriptions on titles including Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Captain America.

    That range of titles suggests a clear effort by Marvel to reach out to fans of Marvel Studios films at a retail venue that they’re far more likely to visit than any comic shop. In a decade-plus of superhero movies absolutely dominating at the box office, comic book sales at comic shops have only seen a slight uptick.
    Will it work? After the huge rise in Marvel merchandise found at places like Wal-Mart, it sure as hell doesn't hurt to try.

  8. #68
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    It's also not worth it to the newsstand distributors. People forget a lot of those distributors got burned on comics and cards after the speculation bust in the 90s. Most outright don't want to deal with them.
    I don't think newsstand distributors got "burned" by those . . . stuff sold on regular newsstands is returnable if isn't sold, and I don't know how many of those Image and other Independent books even made it to actual newsstands. Now, if a newsstand owner actually ordered stuff through some place like Diamond that deals with the direct sales market and doesn't have a return policy, then they were in trouble.

  9. #69
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    In any case, Marvel seems to have a pretty good idea of how to get bigger exposure of their comics:

    http://comicsalliance.com/marvel-wal...de-paperbacks/

    Will it work? After the huge rise in Marvel merchandise found at places like Wal-Mart, it sure as hell doesn't hurt to try.
    There's a big difference between selling monthly single-issue comic books at a store like Walmart and repackaging old material in a cheap paperback format. I don't think Marvel expects to start selling new single issue comic books in Walmart stores anytime soon unless it's a special issue that's tied in to a current movie or TV show.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    I don't think newsstand distributors got "burned" by those . . . stuff sold on regular newsstands is returnable if isn't sold, and I don't know how many of those Image and other Independent books even made it to actual newsstands. Now, if a newsstand owner actually ordered stuff through some place like Diamond that deals with the direct sales market and doesn't have a return policy, then they were in trouble.
    I worked at a newsstand distributor during the collector boom. The cards were non-returnable (to us), but we allowed returns from the customers. Then Marvel bought Fleer and all Hell broke loose.
    Comics aren't worth the headache or the haggling for shelf-space/spinner racks in stores.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    There's a big difference between selling monthly single-issue comic books at a store like Walmart and repackaging old material in a cheap paperback format. I don't think Marvel expects to start selling new single issue comic books in Walmart stores anytime soon unless it's a special issue that's tied in to a current movie or TV show.
    Well, as the article states, they are putting ads for current trades and discount subscriptions for current titles in the books.
    It's shows they are TRYING to push off the momentum that their movies and merchandise are currently generating.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    Why, thank you Mr. Sunshine. Aren't you in a pleasant and optimistic mood today?
    No different than any other...

    Trust me, I'm aware I'm "too old" and not who they're aiming for. Only problem is, how much of their current consumers are also in that same boat? Has DC found a successful way to replace us as we grow old and senile? Because they need to try . . . I just don't really know if they succeeded yet.
    They have a way to replace the older readers that drop off. See, when a woman and a man like each other very much...they make a baby. And sometimes, that baby grows up to be an awkwardly adjusted teenager, and they discover comics.

  13. #73
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell D. View Post
    I worked at a newsstand distributor during the collector boom. The cards were non-returnable (to us), but we allowed returns from the customers. Then Marvel bought Fleer and all Hell broke loose.
    Comics aren't worth the headache or the haggling for shelf-space/spinner racks in stores.
    That was the store's mistake, investing in a speculative market like those trading cards because they were thought to be "hot". And, where did those cards come from, your regular newspaper / magazine distributor as part of a regular order?

  14. #74
    Ultimate Member MajorHoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Brady View Post
    . . . They have a way to replace the older readers that drop off. See, when a woman and a man like each other very much...they make a baby. And sometimes, that baby grows up to be an awkwardly adjusted teenager, and they discover comics.
    But are kids today "discovering comics", or just shooting straight past the comic books to video games and youtube?

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by MajorHoy View Post
    That was the store's mistake, investing in a speculative market like those trading cards because they were thought to be "hot". And, where did those cards come from, your regular newspaper / magazine distributor as part of a regular order?
    Yeah, part of the regular newspaper/magazine supplier. When card collecting started getting big, some of the non-returnable rules from those guys started.
    Anyone with a half a brain knew that it was short-sighted, and that millions of cards in circulation meant that they were barely worth the cardstock they were printed on, but, hey, at the time it was all money hand over fist.

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