- Posted by Johanna on December 31, 2013 at 9:15 am
- Category: Comic News
But really, does it matter that Marvel single issues aren’t available in bookstores or newsstands? Marvel customers either shop at a dedicated comic shop or in bookstores for collected editions (although they’ve traditionally had tons of problems in that market). From the PW article linked above:
[Marvel senior v-p of book sales David] Gabriel confirmed that Marvel’s single-issue comics program to bookstores has been ended. He said that Marvel ended newsstand sales of print comics “about two years ago,” and the single-issue program at BAM and B&N “ended almost three months ago to no fanfare or notice from the comics industry.” Gabriel said “the business in the direct market [the comics shop market] is a much stronger model and try as we might, we have not been able to make the comics newsstand model work for years, I don’t think anyone has.”
Bit of snark, there, with the quote about no fanfare, right? Tom Spurgeon has great analysis:
Those are terrible items to sell in bookstores and convenience stores. They cost a lot for the perceived value, particularly for a casual reader. They’re confusingly titled and numbered … There’s no reason to think there’s a natural audience for these items in convenience and grocery stores from people buying toothpaste and diet strawberry jelly, and the Marvel folks at least have never invested in classic impulse-buying space near the front of such stores nor, at least never for very long, in any format suited for those spaces. Bookstore readers might seem a natural audience for serial comic books but in a bookstore you have other problems: anyone inclined to notice a rack of awesome-looking funnybooks is probably aware of a nearby business that carries more books more effectively for the hardcore consumer, and they are probably physically near a ton of publications with a better perceived value including a fairly active trade paperbacks section right in that store. It’s hard to compete with cheaper, better everything.
He goes on to suggest that the newsstand impulse buyer has been replaced by the digital surfer, a reasonable assumption.