Robot 6

Comics A.M. | B&N has $74M loss; Lew Sayre Schwartz passes away

Barnes & Noble

Retailing | As the bankrupt Borders Group weighs competing bids, Barnes & Noble — the largest book chain in the United States — reports a loss of $74 million for the fiscal year, in part because of heavy investment in its digital initiatives. However, the company saw a 50-percent sales increase at, fueled by Nook devices and digital content sold through the Nook Bookstore. [Publishers Weekly]

Passings | Lew Sayre Schwartz, one of Bob Kane’s ghost artists on Batman and Detective Comics, passed away June 7 as the result of an injury suffered in a fall. He was 84. Schwartz drew as many as 120 Batman stories between 1948 and 1953, all signed “Bob Kane,” before leaving comics after a junket entertaining troops in Korea. Eddie Campbell quotes Schwartz as saying, “’When I got back, I couldn’t stand drawing another page’ of Batman.” He went on to work in television advertising, co-founding the commercial production company Ferro, Mogubgub and Schwartz. [Mark Evanier, ComicMix]

Conventions | Scott Lewis looks at the plan by Mayor Jerry Sanders to pay for the $500-million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center: the Convention Center Assessment District, an entity that will add an additional 3 percent tax on room bills for hotels downtown, 2 percent on those out to Mission Valley, and 1 percent on those farther away. [Voice of San Diego]


Conventions | Deborah Vankin spotlights Tr!ckster, a pop-up event being spearheaded by Scott Morse and Ted Mathot as an alternative to Comic-Con International. The combination retail space/art gallery/convention emphasizing creator-owned and -driven work will be set up in the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, across the street from the San Diego Convention Center, from July 19 to July 24. [Hero Complex]

Conventions | Dave Carter reports on the third annual Kids Read Comics! convention held last weekend in Chelsea, Michigan. [Yet Another Comics Blog]

Digital comics | Corrina Lawson pens an open letter to DC Comics concerning the publisher’s recently announced digital pricing model: “I’m not saying DC should put up their new books for free — I can see all kinds of piracy problems plus the issues with cutting into comic retailers profits — but DC should seriously think about putting up a large amount of its backlist for digital distribution. Want to get fans hooked on the new Batman and Robin, now Bruce Wayne and his son, Damian Wayne? Offer for free the digital version of the trade paperback that introduces Damian or the storyline that brought back Bruce from the dead, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. Want people to get hooked on Scott Snyder’s Batman? Offer an issue or two of his current run on Detective for free. Want people to read the new Green Lantern comics? Give those who buy the digital issues at $2.99 a free digital trade paperback of Blackest Night, the last big Green Lantern event. Or even offer subscriptions in bundles. Pay $10 a month and get all the various Batman titles. Or something similar for all the Green Lantern books.” [GeekDad]

Legal | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund comes out in opposition of a new Tennessee law that makes it illegal to post images online that cause “emotional distress.” [CBLDF]

Grant Morrison

Creators | Grant Morrison discusses his upcoming book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero: “A lot of the superheroes, like Flash, don’t even need a great backstory. If you look back to the early Zorro film, which influenced Batman, Zorro just turns up and starts kicking ass. There’s no indication why he became Zorro or why he chose to dress like that. The modern approach to comic superheroes only came in later, when adults started to ask dumb questions like, ‘Why would he do that? How could he afford to do that?’ These are really stupid questions to ask of fantasy, but people did ask them, and then try to answer them. A superhero doesn’t really need a major motivation, though the best ones tend to have something big going on: Batman’s parents or Superman losing an entire planet so he has to protect this one. And a superhero needs to have a good silhouette; they need to be distinguishable.” [The List]

Creators | Writers Ed Brubaker and Duane Swierczynski talk about Swierczynski’s new novel Fun & Games, Criminal, the importance of setting, and more. [Mulholland Books]

Creators | Eva Volin interviews Barry Deutsch, creator of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. [Good Comics for Kids]

Comics | Jeff Trexler begins a multi-part look back at the Comics Code. [The Comics Journal]

The company says results were hurt by Borders’ liquidation sales at 200 of its stores as part of its rival’s bankruptcy reorganization.



No surprise about Barnes and Noble. Both B & N and Borders were greedy in offering their own digital reader which hindered their profits. The future of digital books is already here: the pdf which is created even before the material goes to press. Just offer it on amazon which would force amazon to lose its’ digital reader. People want the freedom to read on whatever device they choose and until corporate entities realize this they will continue to lose money. But greed is also seen in pricing, very few to no one is going to pay full retail for digital. And why should they, they know they aren’t paying for printing overhead.

Nice to hear that there will be something else going on in San Diego other than Comic Con. I think if Kirby was alive today he’d ask, “Where are all the comics?! This is Comic Con!”

DC, if you think people en masse will pay 2.99 for a digital copy of a comic you better be prepared for a shareholder hit. I would love t know what the cost is to transfer a floppy into the digital format? I bet it isn’t even close to half of the price they charge. How about buy a floppy for 2.99, pay another .99 for a digital download code? If DC wants to win the war with Marvel I would suggest taking a short term loss in order to flood the market with your properties; if only in the digital format.

wes, what the hell are you talking about?? for the most part digital ebooks aren’t “full retail” price, typically they are half of that cost or less…most “classic” material is even free…

Borders got killed because they DIDN’T originally offer their own digital reader, or have their own online presence for a long time…B&N, on the other hand, was just offered over $1 billion for the sale of their company primarily on the strength of their Nook and digital presence…

i understand, sometime facts get in the way of a good rant, but come on…

Some Kindle files and epubs are sold for $5 or less, and there are many free ones. However, books that are coming out right now, a lot of the time, publishers are charging the same as the paperback price. That’s $11.99 or $12.99 for a digital file. I refuse to pay that much, but I think that’s was Wes was referring to.

Fortunately, there is an abundant backlog of older novels to buy.

Just like with Comixology. Will I pay the same price for digital as the print just to get my comic same day? Probably not. But, I love getting comics for .99 or 1.99 that are a little old. Hey, they are still new to me, and I’ve found a lot of good stories.

I hope B&N’s digital sales succeed. I’ve gotten most of my purchased ebooks from them. I’d like them to stick around so that I can download my files again in the future if I need to.

There are any number of instances where the cost of the book on Kindle exceeds Amazons discounted selling price for the hardcover. I think that they are pushing margins now on digital knowing that they blew it with the paper copies. It is easier to lower prices later then it is raise them.

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