Oni Serializes Graphic Novel Before Release — Will Retailers Object?

Oni Press is set to release Down Set Fight, a graphic novel by Chad Bower, Chris Sims, and Scott Kowalchuk about fighting costumed mascots, on February 12.

However, the publisher just announced that prior to that date, the story would be serialized digitally in six installments. At $1.99 per, that makes for a better deal than the $20 graphic novel if you don’t care how you read the story. What I’m most curious about, though, is whether those retailers that pre-ordered the print edition knew the same material would be available earlier and cheaper. Retailers hate that, and quite justifiably, as you need to know how and when a story is going to be sold in order to determine how much money to invest in buying it for resale to your customers.

If Diamond’s order minimum is still $2500, then at a $20 cover price (and assuming a 50% retailer discount), the book only needed to receive 250 preorders in the direct market. I would hope a new Oni graphic novel would get that many, particularly with Chris Simsvisible online presence.

Then again, back in October 2012, Oni was saying that Down Set Fight would run as a webcomic in April 2013, which never happened. Maybe that’s considered fair warning. And it’s generally accepted that the digital audience is not the same as the print comic audience, so perhaps this serialization will work to raise awareness of the project and build demand for an eventual print purchase.


3 Responses to “Oni Serializes Graphic Novel Before Release — Will Retailers Object?”

  1. Alex de Campi Says:

    I dunno. I’ve talked to some retailers I really respect, who hate stand-alone OGNs and feel they do much, much worse than trade collections or indeed any sort of graphic novel where the work was previously serialised. There is a strong argument for readers to be able to try an issue of the book first, before plomping down $20 on it. I also know from personal experience, new readers are MUCH more willing to spend $3 on Grindhouse #1 to try out my work, than they are $30 on Smoke/Ashes… even if they are buying Grindhouse #1 as a part of 10 “floppies” (total price $30-40) of which they’ll hate/not buy again 8 of them.

  2. Johanna Says:

    One retailer who was recently vocal about that position (Brian Hibbs) was clear that he wanted serialized product he could sell, to keep customers coming regularly into his stores, though. This takes the first phase to another market, one where they’re excluded.

    I wish I knew why Oni’s webcomic plans completely disappeared. I think that would have been a great choice.

  3. Richard J. Marcej Says:

    I prefer to buy (and do so) stand alone OGN over serialized comics any day. I’ve been buying original prose novels for years and years without needing the chapters fed to me, serialized, why should graphic novels be any different?

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