Robot 6

Quote of the day | Brian Wood on digital pricing

The Massive

“I’ve had series cancelled recently. I’ve had pitches rejected for financial reasons. I’ve seen my editors laid off. I’ve taken page rate cuts (a LOT of us have). My income from royalties have dropped. Most comic shops don’t carry my books. I have very good reasons to suspect my career in comics may be drastically reduced in the near future. Things just plain suck, but I’ve taken these hits, figuring that everyone else is having hard times too. I don’t mind bleeding a little, and one ray of hope has been digital, the potential it has to maybe, just maybe, keep some of us going through these lean times. But like I said, we can never explore that potential to even just see if its there, as long as current pricing stay locked in.

“So I’ll have to bleed a little more so that others can bleed a little less. The problem with that, to really keep abusing this metaphor, is that eventually I’ll just keel over and die from it.”

DMZ, Northlanders, The Massive and Conan writer Brian Wood on Dark Horse’s same-day digital plans that we learned yesterday will come with a $2.99 pricetag when released rather than $1.99, a price point some retailers weren’t happy with. Wood said he planned to make the single issues “a luxury object specifically for the benefit of the retailer community, to make it a unique book with truly added-value content so that the two formats would not be in competition for the same product” — something you know he’s pretty good at if you read Demo. I encourage you to go read his entire post.

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Comments

6 Comments

This guy is way too good to be struggling. Doom.

It’s too bad that producing professional looking digital comics isn’t quite as easy as doing the same for music. Why in the world should someone like Brian Wood have to resort to leaning on publishers to get his work out there?

I suppose it’s much more difficult for comic collectors to let go of the desire to have a physical object than it is/was for music fans to lose the desire to own physical copies of their collections. I rarely buy music in a physical format anymore unless it’s a) from an artist I really really like (read: “Pearl Jam or David Bowie”) b) it’s on vinyl or c) there’s a special edition CD.

I thought Peter Laird and Mirage were heading the right direction with the end of TMNT v.4… 29 & 30 were made available in very limited quantities physically at a price-point of $10… but the stories were also available digitally. I happily shelled out the ten bucks for the special edition, but surely there were fans who just wanted the story and were happy enough with digital…

I’m hoping that digital is heralding the rise of self-publishing. In regards to what I actually like to read, I couldn’t care less if Marvel and DC just disappeared. I’d miss Daredevil, but that’s the only book I read right now that has anything to do with either of the Big 2′s stable of company-owned characters. If Northlanders and DMZ were available only available digitally for $1 I’d still have bought every issue. If anniversary issues or whatever were published physically at a much higher cover, I’d still have happily purchased those at a much higher price point.

hah. “shelled” out… totally unintentional. :)

And the countdown to Brian Hibbs explaining to Wood that he doesn’t deserve to survive in comics because his books don’t sell through at Hibbs’s store, and that’s of course all that matters, begins… now.

Digital pricing has to change, as in be cheaper. Comic shops shouldn’t feel threatened by digital comics going for a lower price.
Yes, it’s the same product but different in presentation.
Some people want the feel of the paper in their hands.
For others, that’s of no concern for them. Just give me a little story to read when I’m bored.

Comic retailers have to figure out how to get customers into their store.
To the mass public, comic are small pamphlets that use to be sold and aimed at kids.
Most people don’t even know that a comic retailers’ product is being produced.
They look at comics as antiques and a comic shop as an antique store.

The Habibi, Perospolis, etc of the comic world are the ones who ” made it out the ghetto” to the point that they aren’t viewed by the mass public as “comics”.

The New52 has been a success. I would take a guess that most of the “new” customers aren’t truly new. Those customers more than likely were already existing comic buyers. I’d venture to further guess that most truly new buyers shopped digitally. That probably was more due to availablility than having a choice between to methods of shopping.

The lack of availibility, like decision of the comic shops that were going to not stock Dark Horse books, has been the biggest bane to the struggling comics industry.
The second is the puzzlement on how to sell comics to not just the “converted” but the public at large.

Still, a lot of selling comics focuses less on a particular story and more on the selling comics as a medium.

Took 5 days for Google Alerts to show me this thread… but I do really swell with Brian Wood’s comics, thanks, and I very much want Brian to thrive.

-B

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