NBM Trondheim Discount Set Not Available Through Diamond

NBM Publishing is offering, in January, a discount set of the three Little Nothings books by Lewis Trondheim. As they describe it, “now in a specially priced banded set of the 3 volumes, Trondheim’s popular little slice of life vignettes are collected together.”

Little Nothings books

The special pricing is $39.99, a $5 discount from the $45 cover price. Alternately, if you order from Amazon, right now the price is an additional third off, or just over $26. However, you’ll have to wait an extra two months, until March, since NBM ships early to the comic shop direct market.

That might be a little complicated in this case, though, since according to the publisher, “Diamond distributors decided NOT to carry these banded specially priced sets!” So you can buy them from NBM, or maybe at your local comic store if they’re one of the few that order directly from the publisher. Also available is a two-book set of Ordinary Victories, at a $2 savings.

You can read samples of Trondheim’s Little Nothings at the publisher’s blog. I’ve recommended the series in the past.

Strangely, Diamond did choose to offer the porn, a seven-volume set of Omaha the Cat Dancer (normally $91, now $75). I like the series, and I guess sex is expected to sell better in the comic market than slice-of-life cartooning.

Update: (11/16/10) Early this year, Chris Mautner posted an introduction to Trondheim’s work, while Tom Spurgeon comments on Diamond’s decision not to carry these books.

one could suggest with a lot of support from reasonable people that most Trondheim fans have a) already purchased the books individually or b) wouldn’t be inclined to do their discount shopping through comics shops in the first place. … I think that Diamond will over time be better off not aiming this policy at significant re-offers and new material because doing so further weakens a core comics shop value of their being the place that has all the comics. In other words, comics shops should be the first place you go to for obscure comics and ambitious re-packagings of same, not the last.

I’m with Tom. I don’t think there’s a big market for these books — I suspect most people who wanted them bought them individually the first time around. And if NBM really wanted to drive additional sales, a savings of less than $2 a book isn’t the way to do it. So it doesn’t surprise me that Diamond said “nope, not worth it.” Yet eliminating the ability for publishers to relist material in slight repackaging makes for a much less diverse market, since companies have to pick works that don’t take time to develop or build an audience. With only one bite at the apple, the publisher needs a hit out of the gate. Since that’s rare, overall, this discourages risk, which means fewer interesting comics in the long run.

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