- Posted by Johanna on May 9, 2007 at 8:14 am
- Category: Comic News
Christopher Butcher has the rundown. In short, Dark Horse is using ad space in its very successful Buffy comic to promote related books that are out of print for at least another month.
…the real root of the problem is inventory management and cashflow. Dark Horse’s backlist has become far, far too big for them to keep in print, and in order to maximise the return on their investment they’re needing to find cheaper, slower printing solutions. If massive outages of Sin City, Hellboy, 300, and now the Joss Whedon backlist haven’t shown them that this solution is if not entirely untenable than at least massively unprofessional, I don’t know what will.
Successful inventory management is difficult, and some might say that retailers should buy more to start. Many have switched to just-in-time stocking, keeping only one or two copies on the shelf and reordering frequently as necessary. With so many bookshelf choices, that’s a sensible strategy to avoid tying up space. Let the publisher and/or the distributor handle the warehousing.
But many of Dark Horse’s problems result from poor planning. Take, for another example, the Umbrella Academy. The Free Comic Book Day issue did exactly what it was supposed to: it got new readers into stores. They were attracted by the series being written by the singer of My Chemical Romance, and word apparently got out through those communities.
However, the first issue of the series isn’t due until September! (Although it will be solicited with the August releases, another of Dark Horse’s favorite strategies that annoy me.) Will those new shoppers remember to come back? Will they still be interested? Will they wind up asking “why are comics so screwed up?” At least they are dedicated — one woman was so happy we had the issue that she kept offering to pay for it even though it was a free comic. I just hope that dedication lasts.