Minx Selling More in Direct Market?

David Welsh responds to my recent Minx overview by saying:

I can understand the desire to quash the notion that the books actually sold better in specialty comic shops than bookstores, because that certainly couldn’t have been the desired outcome.

Well, it might have. That result makes sense, once you look at the factors involved. Bookstore buyers aren’t afraid of manga and are eager to carry a full range of graphic novels. The same for librarians, who have a good network of recommendations and awards to guide them. Both are looking at a much greater pool of material to choose the best from.

Direct market retailers, on the other hand, value DC as a brand name a great deal. They don’t like manga because there’s too much of it to study in order to make sensible decisions, and some of them, well, they don’t really want too many female readers in the clubhouse. So it seems reasonable, by that skewed logic, that they’d invest in a DC-backed non-manga attempt to attract girls. It’s familiar to them, and it isn’t foreign. (Don’t underestimate this factor. Some retailers aren’t comfortable with comics where they can’t pronounce the non-American names creating it.)

DC, as a company, may not want Minx to be too successful, anyway, because it would put the lie to many of the pieces of received wisdom that they’ve been comforting themselves with all these years. And their strong relationship with the direct market makes it difficult to be successful in the bookstore market, because it’s seen as disloyalty to their “core customers”.

12 Responses to “Minx Selling More in Direct Market?”

  1. Charles RB Says:

    “DC, as a company, may not want Minx to be too successful, anyway”

    Wouldn’t that defeat the point of creating Minx in the first place? It can’t have been cheap, not with the number of OGNs they’ve committed to.

  2. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Dec. 3, 2007: Curse you, Boxerman! Says:

    […] One year later, Johanna Draper Carlson and David Welsh (and Johanna again) ponder DC Comics’ marketing strategy for their Minx line for teenage […]

  3. Johanna Says:

    Of course DC wants projects to succeed, but they often want the horses they’ve backed to be most successful. Due to internal politics, there have been a number of projects that looked like they’d take off but various factions refused to get behind because it wasn’t their idea. Some people may resent books succeeding without their shepherding.

  4. Chuck Says:

    My LCS hasn’t had much success with manga, although they’ve tried. For at least a year (maybe two; my attention/memory is dubious here) they stocked a significant amount of it, near the front of the store, and well-organized. I’m not privy to how they chose which titles to stock, but i do remember them asking for input. They essentially gave up on this some months ago b/c the product wasn’t selling. I think that the customer base is different enough, and bookstores have such an advantage in location and depth of stock, that even specialty shops that want to serve that segment of the market will struggle. Or at least that’s what it looks like in this locale.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Just out of curiosity, what region are you in? And big city, college town, what kind of area?

  6. Chuck Says:

    Greensboro, in central NC. Here’s population data swiped from wikipedia:

    As of the 2000 census, the city population was 223,891, making it the third most populous city in North Carolina. Its estimated 2006 population is 240,955.

    There are two universities, two smaller colleges, one tiny college, and a community college.

  7. Johanna Says:

    I know Greensboro! I worked for a year just down Battlefield from Acme Comics. Manga not selling in comic stores there doesn’t surprise me much.

  8. Chuck Says:

    Cool! Small world, etc. I know there are a lot of kids at UNCG and Guilford who read manga, and i’ve tried pointing them towards Acme, but no dice. I don’t *think* the store is unwelcoming, but i’ve been going there for years, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I’ve always thought of it as one of the local quirks.

  9. Johanna Says:

    It’s what I think of as an “old-style” comic shop. Not unwelcoming, but a bit of a clubhouse feel. At least, it was last time I was there, over a decade ago.

  10. Who Buys Minx? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] and who had a predisposition to put stock in the DC brand when it came to comics. Which means direct market retailers who are uncomfortable with the large amount of manga to choose from and would rather stock a […]

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    […] previously speculated that the books were selling better in the established comic direct market than […]

  12. REMftw Says:

    I’m sorry but did he actually say ‘Minx sells more’ without providing actual numbers? I call bullshit.




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