- Posted by Johanna on July 14, 2010 at 7:54 am
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
Comic Book Resources has the press release: Scott Kurtz’s popular webcomic PvP will no longer be releasing print collections through Image Comics. Instead, he’ll be self-publishing and selling books through his site store. It’s a natural change for such a visible webcomic leader, since many other strips do the same thing, and without another hand in the pie, the books can be more easily profitable.
More interesting to me was this second part of the announcement:
Sales through brick-and-mortar stores are declining and online sales are increasing…. Although Kurtz has no immediate plans to offer future collections through Diamond, he’s still eager to work with interested retailers.
Like other publishers (although the circumstances there are very different), Kurtz doesn’t think he needs to work with the monopoly comic market distributor to succeed. By extension, he’s also willing to go without widespread comic shop placement. And he’s right — he’s reaching his readers directly. They read him online, so why not let them shop online and eliminate the middlemen? Or they buy from him at conventions, where they can get signatures and sketches — he’s debuting his eighth book (which was self-published) at San Diego. The best comic shops, those who are willing to work with multiple distributors and directly with publishers, will still carry him, but the smaller places who only sell what Diamond sends them, will miss out.
One does wonder what this, if it becomes a trend, means for Diamond Comic Distributors? Of course they’ll continue with the big superhero and licensed comic publishers that populate the front of their monthly catalog, but the most exciting work these days is coming from either determined self-publishers like Kurtz, who’ve found their own way forward, or from traditional book publishers, who have their own, more reliable distribution systems. The more people leave the system — and succeed when doing so — the less necessary Diamond looks overall. I wonder what internal conversations there are like these days.