- Posted by Johanna on January 28, 2006 at 8:00 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
Colleen Doran [link no longer available] blames the internet for creating a situation where “almost everything that was once a “collectible” is now almost worthless” due mostly to ebay.
I guess that’s one way of looking at it, if you were making lots of money from resale before and aren’t now. Then again… she starts the piece by talking about how bad things were when there was only one comic shop in town, and how nice it was when more shops opened and she could choose where to shop based on price and service. Isn’t that also what happens with ebay? There’s more competition, meaning customers have more choice, and they can look for better deals. There’s also more information available about what it costs to create something and so customers can better form an opinion on what the price “should” be.
I can sympathize, myself, since I have a ton of back issue comics (many of which, since they’re low-print-run independent titles, are legitimately rate… but not known and thus not desirable) that are effectively waste paper. I could spend all my time trying to ebay them, but the packing and shipping just aren’t worth the trouble, even assuming someone would want them.
How’s she handling the change? By no longer selling collectibles she didn’t create, and by making her prints even more limited.
I don’t know of many artists who aren’t feeling the pinch on their retail sales from the secondary market. Most are slashing print runs to reflect this. Limited edition prints are becoming more limited with runs dropping from 1,000 or more down to 100-250. I’ve done the same thing, dropping some runs down to as low as 50 copies…truly a limited edition, and not likely to show up on the secondary market at any time.
It sounds like as a result, she’s selling only to devout fans, which resembles what happened to the direct market. They moved out of newsstands, with high quantity sales but more competition, into the comic shop, with dedicated shoppers who would seek them out.
Personally, I’ve never been interested in the limited edition print market; I don’t understand the appeal of spending $400+ for something that’s still a copy of the original. But I wonder, based on the parallels I see here, whether there’s even going to be a print market in another decade, as their buyers, like the comic shop customers, age out.