Entitlement Much? Demanding Print Comics in Return for Coverage

I was astounded to read (via inkstuds on Twitter) this declaration from a UK comic “news and review” site I’d never heard of:

As part of CBOs new policy it has been decided that,in future,we will only accept and publish news on titles if the publishers follow this up with a review copy. Publishers have been using CBO just to publicise themselves and making excuses as to why they can’t send review books.

CBO IS NOT HERE TO JUST PUBLISH PR/NEWS

Some publishers just think that a Press Release will keep us happy and a “Can’t send a copy for review” will suffice. NO LONGER.

Wow, who would have thought that a comic publisher would want to publicize themselves online by getting their PR posted? But it gets even better when Terry Hooper, the sole contributor to CBO, starts in with the demands about the review copies:

To make it clear:
!!!CBO DOES NOT ACCEPT PDF FOR REVIEW!!!

SEND A PDF AND ITS TRASHED AND YOU DO NOT GET MENTIONED AGAIN FOR ONE YEAR. YOU SEND PRESS RELEASES THEN FOLLOW IT UP WITH REVIEW BOOKS.

I don’t think I’d bother with someone with such a poor grasp of proper grammar and punctuation, myself, but maybe he’s better known across the pond. Even so, he seems to have a real hatred of online comics, so much so that he wants to ban those who use them from his site.

Apparently, his dislike of PDFs stems from past “legal problems as well as time wasting in the past where heavily promoted books have never gone to print”. How you get “legal problems” out of looking at a comic onscreen instead of in print, I have no idea. He’s already anticipated the response, that publishers don’t need him:

Our hits stats are good enough but you want to go and be ignored somewhere else,be my guest. Certain repeat offenders have already been removed from CBO [some may have noticed?]. CBO is a two way effort. You can’t be bothered then neither can we.

What a prodigious amount of gall! “You want coverage, you have to send me free comics.” I guess it could be worse, though. In this followup post, he mentions that a “Readers Review” will cost a publisher 25 pounds. I do share his dislike in that post for publishers that want free advice instead of paying for consulting work, but there are much politer, more professional ways to make the point. What he’s doing looks like expecting publishers to pay for coverage, in terms of goods in trade, and I doubt his website is worth as much to them as he thinks it is.

You don’t want review PDFs? That’s your right. I can understand why. There’s good reason to avoid them: they’re not always a true representation of the final product, and they’re harder to read and refer back to. But don’t be so self-righteous about it. It’s laughable.

My favorite response to all this came from David Brothers:

No name comics site demands free books, holds coverage hostage, and will wake up sober and regret it.

Update: It seems that this isn’t really a “new policy” for this site, since Hooper ranted about it on November 6, November 10 (where he declared the subject “now dead”), November 11 (asking the question “Does Anyone Actually READ CBO????” which is just too easy to poke fun at), and November 17.

The last post reveals that his daily hit count is 3-500 a day (which he multiplies into 3-5000 a week, indicating that he’s living somewhere where the weeks have 3 more days than ours do). In responding to this original post of mine, a message full of “I know you are but what am I?”, he says “Our stats speak for themselves.” Yes, they do. Now that I know that his traffic is so low, I feel kind of bad making fun of him, if not for the fact that he gives all reviewers a bad name for riding this hobby horse so long and so vehemently.

Similar Posts: Great Advice on How to Start Selling Ebooks of Your Webcomic Quickly § How to Get Review Copies § DC Promos Countdown on MySpace § Timing Your PR § Viz on Sale at Borders; Everything Yaoi


16 Responses to “Entitlement Much? Demanding Print Comics in Return for Coverage”

  1. Alan Coil Says:

    Does CBO stand for Comic Book Olney? Reads like it. ;)

  2. Rob McMonigal Says:

    Wow.

    I mean, I haven’t been given a review copy of anything as of yet, but I’d be more than happy with a PDF. I’d feel flattered for the recognition that people think what I say matters.

    Sounds to me like it’s a “review site” mostly to score free stuff.

  3. Marc Mason Says:

    That’s just nauseatingly stupid. Though perhaps charming to see that it isn’t just American geeks that have such poor manners. ;-)

  4. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    Bean ha ha. The only legal trouble I could imagine him getting into is distributing the PDFs via Torrent or something.

  5. Terry Hooper Says:

    Why not ask about these things instead of being insulting for no reason? CBO gets international coverage and more. Never heard of Comics Worth Reading myself but do I insult it? No.
    But,if this is one-sided to get attention,oh well.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Terry, I think your posts at CBO speak for themselves, so I didn’t feel a need to get clarification. I understand why you’d feel insulted by what I said, but what additional information do you think exists that would put your statements in a different light?

  7. Alan Coil Says:

    I have been known to throw an insult or two for no reason, but this time I think there is a reason.

    Hooper, your apparent lack of knowledge about grammar, punctuation, and even common usage of the space key shows me that you are not qualified to review any book of any kind. Additionally, your attitude comes off as offensive, and it would be no loss to the online world if you were banned from the internet.

  8. James Schee Says:

    Very… odd.

    I’d never heard of the CBO site either, so I spent a little bit of time going through it. I even took Mr. Hooper’s suggestion of searching on the site for what legal problems there would be in handling PDFs.

    Didn’t have much luck with that, lots of pages with reasons such as potential virus problems, or dislike of the format, to one case where a PDF never became an actual comic. I only went back four or five screens worth of so maybe I missed it.

    My biggest concern is the feeling of “if you don’t give me the book, I won’t cover it” is an incredibly bad approach for a reviewer to take. Not only do you limit what you see, but it would call in question issues like integrity of the coverage.

    Especially after seeing this one post
    http://tinyurl.com/ykf98rc

    Where the writer says that the site can’t survive without items to review. Especially given that he no longer shops at his local comic shop.

    Then he goes on to talk about how despite his (there is a lot of “We” on his site but I have yet to see another contributor) apparent mission to provide a site free of DC/Marvel content he may change that soon.

    Like I said just a very odd approach. He seems to want to setup some business partnership with small press creators, publishers and the like. Yet given that so few of those people are really business people, I don’t think he’s going to get that far with it.

    I guess good luck to him though, he’s certainly taking a rather… unique approach.

  9. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for doing that research, James. The post you link to was put up in July, based on URL, so this is obviously something that’s been bothering Hooper for some time.

  10. Johanna Says:

    Inspired by James, I went off and read more of his site, and I’ve updated the original post with more interesting links.

  11. Jonny Brown Says:

    > maybe he’s better known across the pond

    Yeah, for claiming copyright on a load of characters he doesn’t own to the point of getting a court order put against him by a DC Comics subsidiary and falling out with almost everyone with any influence in the comics scene by his bad-tempered and often wrong attitude.

  12. Alan Coil Says:

    If what Jonny Brown says is true, Terry Hooper might indeed be another Olney.

  13. Johnny B Says:

    Hard to sell PDFs on the eBay or at the comics shop…

  14. Chris Allen Says:

    Good work, Johanna. We see wacky, obnoxious and self-deluded creators and self-publishers all the time. I guess it was inevitable to find a reviewer like that. It’s true–we reviewers do prefer the book to the pdf, because we can either put it on a shelf or sell/trade it if it wasn’t to our liking, but I’m generally happy if a publisher sends me anything. I wouldn’t dream of dictating terms to them, and in such a self-important, angry manner. I can totally understand not running press releases at all but find the quid pro quo angle of only running them where a review copy is provided to be…icky.

  15. Johanna Says:

    I prefer print myself, for reasons of fidelity of reproduction, and they are easier to read and use, in my opinion. But where that matters for me is in determining what to cover. If a print book is just ok, I’m more likely to talk about it than if a PDF is just ok, because the latter is easier to discard without feeling guilty. Still, I understand that a PDF is much easier for a publisher for a multitude of reasons.

  16. Bill1966 Says:

    He seems to take satisfaction that his opinions annoy people. Maybe we’d better not let him know we find his comments an hilarious source of amusement!!

    http://www.comicbitsonline.com/2012/05/20/a-sunday-sojourn-into-the-thoughts-of-a-man-with-a-saviour-complex/

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