Robot 6

Cutting out the middleman

op-nsib-coversmall-2Meredith Gran has a big announcement about Octopus Pie: Villard will be publishing a 272-page print edition, which collects the first two years of the webcomic in a single volume, along with an exclusive bonus story. In typical webcomicker fashion, Gran talks directly to her readers and gets right to the point, encouraging them to buy the books directly through her site:

This is a crucial time in the success of Octopus Pie. The sales of this book will do a lot to determine whether or not future books can be made. If you love the comic, but have never ordered OP merch before, this is a fantastic way to show your support.

She also points out that if you buy the book directly from her site, at $16 for an autographed edition, or $24 for the same book with a personalized drawing, she gets a cut. The price through online retailers Barnes & Noble and Amazon is $10.80, and it will be interesting to see if readers are willing to pay more in order to directly support the artist (and get the personalized copies). Gran has already self-published three volumes of the comic, which chronicles the adventures and misadventures of two twentysomething Brooklynites, but the Villard edition presents the same material at a lower price, so it’s already a better deal.



There’s also the issue of shipping costs: If someone buys it through Amazon along with other material, they could qualify for free shipping. But if you order it directly through the creator’s site you have to pay for shipping costs as well, which for me in Minneapolis was quoted as $7.99 for priority mail. (It looks like choosing PayPal as your payment method presents more shipping options than using Google Checkout, all the way from the slightly cheaper parcel post option ($7.62) to the much more expensive express mail ($28.50).)

Of course, buying directly from the creator will give you some additional benefits (signed, plus “2 super exclusive 1″ mystery buttons with every order”) but the though of paying half the price of the book itself to have it shipped gives the frugal online shopper in me pause. Or have I just been spoiled by the promise of “Free Shipping!” from so many of the big shopping sites for so long?

Looks cool, thanks for the head’s up. But Gran might want to avoid using the acronym “OP” when she deals with her publisher: in the book publishing world, OP means “out of print.”

Brigid Alverson

March 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Good point, Bully! Although it immediately made me think of “original poster,” which, of course, she is.

Correct as usual, John! I use Media Mail, myself, and it’s way cheaper than that, but maybe it’s not an option for commercial shippers like Gran.

Thanks for the write-up Brigid!

Obviously not all people can afford/justify the cost, but I’m happy to say the pre-orders from my site have been going very well so far. Better than expected.

Of course, Amazon/major retailer sales are great for me too, in the long run. I happily encourage both as a means of support.

I don’t offer media mail through my site because I’ve had some experiences with books being lost or damaged in the past.

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