- Posted by Johanna on March 8, 2010 at 8:24 am
- Category: Books and Prose
- PUBLISHER: Tinsel Road Books; $89.95 US
This book, in a new second edition, should have been a database. Heck, it looks like the printout of one, with a flat, boring presentation. It’s 300 pages of data listings with minimal design. (Check out that poorly laid out cover, with the overused balloon images containing crowded text.) Given how many changes are happening in the comic industry, an updatable medium, such as a subscription website, would be a better choice. Also, that way it’s much more easily searchable.
There are three sections: Publishers, Representation (8 pages of managers and attorneys — although it would be helpful to know if they knew they were listed or were open to queries), and Companies by Country (6 list pages). Each publisher lists some combination of name, address, phone, website, description (which reads as though it was either submitted by the company itself with no editing or copied from a website About Us), titles published, and contact name(s). Not all this data is available for each company, making for spotty coverage.
The promo material claims the book is an “invaluable addition to the bookshelf for any comic book writer, artist or creator looking to publish their work.” Anyone trying to use the book to find a publisher will likely be disappointed, since many of the companies I noted on a flip-through are self-publishers, firms created only to print and manage the work of their owner. Others haven’t published anything in years. (I got quite the nostalgia buzz, seeing some of these names I hadn’t thought about since the 90s, such as Tekno Comics or some of the smaller single-work pubs.) That’s how they get the claimed inclusion of “over 1000 companies”. It does include many international firms I was unfamiliar with.
I was unable to judge the print quality, since the publisher only provided a PDF for review. If I was considering a purchase, I’d be concerned about binding quality and durability, especially given the high price. I think the most likely purchaser for this kind of book is either a library or an entertainment company with an expense account looking for reference on an industry they don’t know the details of. I suspect those kinds of executives, looking to mine comics for more development source material, are the real audience. I have to wonder how helpful they find entries with only website and email addresses, though, especially if the website is on the now-defunct geocities.
Other interesting elements: No author is credited, just the publishing house. There is an update form at the back for the upcoming third edition (this seems intended to be a yearly effort) that says “THE DIRECTORY will feature specific properties in addition to a company’s free listing for an additional fee of $100 per property.” That’s another way to make some profit from this effort, I guess. Personally, I find submission fees for what is intended to be a reference work distasteful.