Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Comic Industry plus Craigslist update

Comic collection sale update: Highest (real) offer so far: $900 - I'm holding out until the end of the week.

This is a good read from Multiversity:

The Comic Industry Talks the Biggest Changes in the Last Five Years, Where the Industry is Headed

It seems we have a consensus: digital is a thing, and it is a friend to print.

There is a very interesting inter-connectivity between the digital format, Kickstarter, the new wave of creator-owned projects (via publishers like Image) and the new rise of self-publishing/print-on-demand opportunities.

All of this is very exciting to me, a comic book reader since 1970. However, the primary challenge remains: how do writers, artists, and publishers get these creative works into the hands of readers, especially the good ol' fashioned paper and staples comic book? In order to avoid boring the hell out of you, I won't go into the distribution situation in the comic book industry right now (there has been plenty of analysis on the bigger, better blogs and sites over the past few years). Basically, if you are not in the front of Diamond's Previews catalog, you'll probably not get your comic ordered by retailers. (Is there room for a new distributor for comics? That's been tried a few times in the past 20 years - failure was the ultimate result.)

So what? You should be able to sell direct to the reader now, right? Go all Shopify and fulfill orders as they come in. How do readers find you? Facebook? Google? Amazon? Pinterest?

Why not?

That's the challenge now.

Plus this: most of the 300+ million people in this country think comics are Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Avengers, tights'n'fights, and that's if they know comics still exist (!). If you're not that, then you've lost most of the built-in audience already.

Plus this: most (good) comic stores and conventions are in metropolitan centers. And some stores and shows are not doing anyone a favor by existing primarily as a fanboy's misogyny club.

Plus this: most comic book readers don't read online comic sites and blogs. See built-in audience.

Plus this: the stigma lives, despite "geek/nerd" becoming "hip/cool". The fact that there is (was?) a Read Comics In Public Day speaks to this notion.

The comic book industry, such as it is, has not been able to bring over new readers commensurate to the level of interest you'd think would exist (due to movies, Big Bang Theory, etc).

So how can publishers, once funded, find new readers for their non-digital output, without preaching to the already over-whelmed and jaded choir?

More to come...

[Full disclosure - I worked for Diamond founder Steve Geppi in the 80's; great guy]

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