'This could change the face of comics': Is coronavirus comic book shops' biggest villain?
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On 3/31/2020 at 1:52 PM, lighthouse said:

I doubt there is all that much business in slabbing newly released coins, and NGC seems to be doing just fine.

Yes, there would be a huge volume dropoff from the "brand-new 9.8 prescreen" game, but turn times would likely improve on all other service levels, and that might well coax out inventory that doesn't currently make the trip to Sarasota because the TAT makes the process less attractive. At any given time I probably have 500-1000 books in inventory that might benefit from that trip. But if I can turn over raw inventory three times at a XX% markup in the time it takes to get a book back that might see a net YY% markup after slabbing, the math doesn't always point to shipping them out.

believe it or not slabbing modern coins is huge these days , especially with all the different kinds of quarters they have been making over the years

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53 minutes ago, Ken Aldred said:

We aren’t different in that respect. I can return to the best of early-to-mid 70s comics and find material that I still connect to, especially from the big list of classics that you mentioned.  I just prefer to do it from a detached, fifty-something perspective rather than try to ‘recapture’ my childhood, which for me wasn’t exactly a great time, and hence my reluctance for nostalgia. In my case, pursuing that seems a bit delusional and false.

No, I agree, people get far too wrapped up in their nostalgia to clearly see sometimes - I don't necessarily try to hold back my nostalgia for it, but for me the artwork still does it. I can still look through these books and admire the art and the way they were put together...

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8 hours ago, shadroch said:

How would a shop pay the rent off of 15-20 monthly titles?

I think you would be surprised, at how much they would welcome a lower bill from Diamond each month. 

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33 minutes ago, Mercury Man said:

I think you would be surprised, at how much they would welcome a lower bill from Diamond each month. 

There is a huge gap between wanting a smaller Bill and wanting 15-20 books a month.

Most shops make their monthly nut off of new books. Eliminate half the books and how do they make up that steady income?

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I’d like fewer titles from Marvel and DC. But not fewer monthlies. I just want fewer mini-series and “stealth miniseries” (the titles they solicit as monthly knowing full well they will only do one story arc). 

DC is running around 29 main universe monthlies right now plus the Joe Hill stuff and the Sandman Universe stuff. I can manage my orders just fine on all of that and maintain a profitable sell-through on all of them. 

What I can’t maintain a profitable sell-through on is the additional 20-30 miniseries coming out at any given time. The magazine size Black Labels are easier. And I’ll happily take a chance on Tom King dragging some C-List character off the pile for 12 months. But trying to guess at buyer interest in Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Metal Men, etc etc etc is a nightmare. 

Marvel has around 38 true monthlies right now. And another  35 miniseries. Again, the monthlies I can manage my orders just fine, and consistently run 92+% effective sell through. (I say effective sell through because a title where I ordered 100 copies and sold the 1:100, two 1:50, and four 1:25 incentives plus 41 of the 100 regular covers gives me a perfectly fine result compared to selling 100 out of 100 regular copies with no incentives, even if I throw away the 59 excess copies).

But the Marvel minis? Nightmare. Absolute nightmare.

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2 minutes ago, lighthouse said:

I’d like fewer titles from Marvel and DC. But not fewer monthlies. I just want fewer mini-series and “stealth miniseries” (the titles they solicit as monthly knowing full well they will only do one story arc). 

DC is running around 29 main universe monthlies right now plus the Joe Hill stuff and the Sandman Universe stuff. I can manage my orders just fine on all of that and maintain a profitable sell-through on all of them. 

What I can’t maintain a profitable sell-through on is the additional 20-30 miniseries coming out at any given time. The magazine size Black Labels are easier. And I’ll happily take a chance on Tom King dragging some C-List character off the pile for 12 months. But trying to guess at buyer interest in Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Metal Men, etc etc etc is a nightmare. 

Marvel has around 38 true monthlies right now. And another  35 miniseries. Again, the monthlies I can manage my orders just fine, and consistently run 92+% effective sell through. (I say effective sell through because a title where I ordered 100 copies and sold the 1:100, two 1:50, and four 1:25 incentives plus 41 of the 100 regular covers gives me a perfectly fine result compared to selling 100 out of 100 regular copies with no incentives, even if I throw away the 59 excess copies).

But the Marvel minis? Nightmare. Absolute nightmare.

Right. Because generally stores make their money off of consistent monthly subscription customers. You KNOW that ASM or Batman is coming out every month and people sign up for it - it's generally guaranteed money.

Trying to guesstimate who's going to buy any of those 35 off shoots is a nightmare that ends up usually with either added product or people missing a book they didn't order. 

Marvel and DC SHOULD make off shoot series RETURNABLE. That way stores could manage their regular subscriptions and not fear the unknown as much. And it would teach them to make quality extra product instead of just extra product.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, lighthouse said:

What I can’t maintain a profitable sell-through on is the additional 20-30 miniseries coming out at any given time

That’s why I wait for the collected editions.  Even then, figuring out what’s essential to a storyline, integrating what’s relevant from the various mini-series and what’s inconsequential filler, pointless diversion, and finally creating a coherent timeline from that mess, is all tough going.  That’s for me, a reader, with the luxury of time on my side.  For a retailer like yourself, in advance, that’s obviously impossible and it must be a total nightmare; on another level entirely.

Edited by Ken Aldred

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19 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

First... who says they aren't making money? The profit margin is a guesstimate, but it's consistent between the two examples...

Iron Man #145 - 1980 - total PAID circulation - 188,930 - @50 cents each - $94,465 - @40% profit = $37,786 per issue

Iron Man     #1 - 2020 - total Diamond Sales  -   54,624 - @$4.99 each      - $272,573 - @40% profit = $109,029 per issue.

If you take into account inflation (at a cumulative rate of about 214%), you're looking at having to hit about $118,621 in profit to meet that 1980 total today - which is just barely misses. And remember... for the 2020 book, we can't see Worldwide sales outside the United States or Digital Sales.

 

Second... this idea that going to 15 titles and isolating the plots and marketing them to people who maybe haven't been following all along will bring in... what? The average 57 year old who used to read comics weekly? C'mon man, the people who still give a care about it all are still reading. The one's who don't, aren't. Marvel would have to find another Gerry Conway to write ASM and get someone who draws just like John Romita Sr. to draw it and even THEN, I might only be mildly curious.  

Other than that, at $4.99 a comic, I can find better uses for my time. 

Iron Man isn’t one of the lower selling filler titles I was talking about.

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12 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

Right. Because generally stores make their money off of consistent monthly subscription customers. You KNOW that ASM or Batman is coming out every month and people sign up for it - it's generally guaranteed money.

Trying to guesstimate who's going to buy any of those 35 off shoots is a nightmare that ends up usually with either added product or people missing a book they didn't order. 

Marvel and DC SHOULD make off shoot series RETURNABLE. That way stores could manage their regular subscriptions and not fear the unknown as much. And it would teach them to make quality extra product instead of just extra product.

So I suggested cutting down to about 15 titles per month, and you shot it down, but then you want to make 35 off shoots returnable, and 'teach' them to make make quality extra product instead of extra product.    Seems like a lot of excess work to get to my plan, and one that would delay any financial health of the medium.  Disney could probably give to spits about printing comics as they decide how to keep their cash cow theme parks operational.  This new economy is going to change the way we commute, choose dinner, invest, and spend money on entertainment.   Comics will need to adjust more rapidly than they planned to, if discretionary income gets crunched.   

Just my humble opinion. 

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37 minutes ago, Mercury Man said:

So I suggested cutting down to about 15 titles per month, and you shot it down, but then you want to make 35 off shoots returnable, and 'teach' them to make make quality extra product instead of extra product.    Seems like a lot of excess work to get to my plan, and one that would delay any financial health of the medium.  Disney could probably give to spits about printing comics as they decide how to keep their cash cow theme parks operational.  This new economy is going to change the way we commute, choose dinner, invest, and spend money on entertainment.   Comics will need to adjust more rapidly than they planned to, if discretionary income gets crunched.   

Just my humble opinion. 

I didn't shoot it down, personally, I'd prefer it - I just don't see how, financially, they'd be able to do it or WANT to do it. Marvel's in the business of making money, and they're still making money.

One of the things that has killed the Direct Market over the years is exactly what all retailers talk about - the unknown aspect of ordering product that you have no idea if you can sell. The 35 regular monthly titles, you know what people want from subscription. Those other 35 off shoots, unless someone adds it, they don't. So most retailers have to guess and thats where a lot of excess expense for stores comes from - and a lot of left over product. 99% of modern comics are virtually worthless 2 weeks after they come out.

Ordering 2 months ahead of time (with a one month check up - Final Order Cut Off) of as much product that's out there is a hectic process. Marvel adds to that glut with the additional product. 

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3 hours ago, dupont2005 said:

Iron Man isn’t one of the lower selling filler titles I was talking about.

Marvel and DC are always going to chase market share. They're just not in the business of selling less comics. Some of it is going to sell less, it still takes up market space to make them #1.

I know readers look at it from a practical standpoint of story, characterization, etc., etc., but Marvel doesn't. They see it as product. And the more product they can put out there, the more they feel they can sell. 

I'm not saying it's right. I'm not saying I agree with it. It just is, what it is. 

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3 hours ago, Chuck Gower said:

Marvel and DC are always going to chase market share. They're just not in the business of selling less comics. Some of it is going to sell less, it still takes up market space to make them #1.

I know readers look at it from a practical standpoint of story, characterization, etc., etc., but Marvel doesn't. They see it as product. And the more product they can put out there, the more they feel they can sell. 

I'm not saying it's right. I'm not saying I agree with it. It just is, what it is. 

That is the case in the old direct market, and it has worked. Throw a bunch at the wall and see what sticks, cancel what doesn’t and immediately announce another to replace it. Keep enough titles out there, all interconnected, that the local retailers shelf space and weekly budget is tied up with their product, this keeps competing product off their shelves. That is the real goal of flooding the market with titles. They don’t want readers picking up a Fantagraphics or Dark Horse title, they want to squeeze those guys out. 
 

But on the internet this doesn’t work. Shelf space is unlimited, large online retailers will offer every single title in print. You’re not just choosing from what the LCS owner closest to your house decided to order, or what’s on the stand at 7-11. Because of this I don’t think the strategy of trying to “flood the market” doesn’t work, because the market can no longer be flooded.

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4 hours ago, dupont2005 said:

That is the case in the old direct market, and it has worked. Throw a bunch at the wall and see what sticks, cancel what doesn’t and immediately announce another to replace it. Keep enough titles out there, all interconnected, that the local retailers shelf space and weekly budget is tied up with their product, this keeps competing product off their shelves. That is the real goal of flooding the market with titles. They don’t want readers picking up a Fantagraphics or Dark Horse title, they want to squeeze those guys out. 
 

But on the internet this doesn’t work. Shelf space is unlimited, large online retailers will offer every single title in print. You’re not just choosing from what the LCS owner closest to your house decided to order, or what’s on the stand at 7-11. Because of this I don’t think the strategy of trying to “flood the market” doesn’t work, because the market can no longer be flooded.

People can still individually only buy so much.

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On 3/27/2020 at 11:03 PM, lizards2 said:

Yes - I'm concerned about JizzMann changing the face of comics.  Sounds terrible for public perception. :frown:

I think you stumbled upon a new superhero. 👍

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20 minutes ago, oakman29 said:

I think you stumbled upon a new superhero. 👍

I'm getting bad imagery about this character.

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