PR: What Not to Do: Scarcity Without Demand

When I first read this press release, I thought it might be a gag. You’ll see why.

Terminal Press Collector Series books provide value in the age of Internet Piracy and Print-on-Demand

Independent Publisher Terminal Press will be debuting “Silent Assassin: 506″ & “I Hate Zombies” at the Wizard World Philadelphia Convention this Friday, June 15th.

Both books along with the previously released “Spraycan Monsters” are part of Terminal Press’s Collector Series, limiting each printing to only 100 copies. “These are high quality books, which our creative teams put just as much work into as our larger print run books. The only difference being, there will only be a small amount of each product released to the public” says company president Brian Ferrara. “The reality is, from music to movies to comics, you can pretty much get anything you want for free over the internet. When I was growing up, collecting comics and attaining something rare or of value was just as fun as reading them for me. When any book can be scanned and posted online or infinitely reprinted, there is nothing special about owning a copy of your own. We wanted each of these books to truly be special to both the creators and the fans.”

… These books will only be available from Terminal Press at the Wizard World Philadelphia Con, the San Diego Con, and through terminalpress.com.

Many books increase in value because they’re scarce, but first, there has to be demand for them. Otherwise, I have the world’s most valuable comic — there’s only one copy of the strips KC drew for me at the last convention we attended. But no one else knows or cares about them, so my owning the single copy means nothing to anyone but me. (I treasure them, though.)

The same thing’s true here. In fact, by trumpeting “only 100 copies”, the publisher is encouraging people to put it online or bootleg it… assuming anyone wants to read it in the first place. Trumpeting “few copies available” before you’ve demonstrated marketplace success is putting the cart before the horse. No price quoted, either, which I always find suspicious.


3 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: Scarcity Without Demand”

  1. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 15, 2007: Pleasant Dullsville weekend Says:

    [...] Johanna Draper Carlson notes that funnybook scarcity is only a plus if anyone wants the work you publish to begin with. [...]

  2. Johanna Fan Says:

    Stupid Blogging Tricks: Sensationalized Headlines in place of Compelling Content…

    That’s right Johanna! You teach those evil Indie publishers a lesson!

    I bet they take all that profit and buy Ferraris to run down the homeless.

    I for one am glad that you put out such a derogatory blog posting so any time someone searches for that horrible publisher, they can read your opinion first and hopefully not buy any of their books! If we ban together, we can bankrupt them all!

    F the little guys and their stupid tactics to get people to pick up their books!
    They aren’t trying to add value… they are just up to trickery! Trickery that won’t fool Johanna Draper Carlson!

    If Johanna hasn’t heard of them, there is obviously no demand! She doesn’t need facts or research! She doesn’t need to contact a source to write a fair and balanced editorial! She just needs a piece of PR, a blog and fourteen years of unrelenting anger!

    Viva Johanna Draper Carlson and her agenda!!!!!

  3. Johanna Says:

    Oooh, I hit a nerve. Anonymous must be associated with the company.

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