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But I will choose to disagree. WHY do I think it has some value? Because of pundits like as Dirk says Balan Bavid Boane, or one-name internet trolls who lurk in threads everywhere who like to insist things similar to "The Direct Market is a dying and useless system that is no better than a cancer upon the heart of all comics everywhere". Tom has an excellent point that "no one in a position of any importance at any company has to my knowledge ever seriously dismissed the still-crucial Direct Market as a place to sell comics. I do think there's some conflation going to among "legitimate" pundits -- I don't buy the argument that because [whatever] is still on sale in specific channels that it moots the snapshot nature of a BookScan list; those items are also still on sale in the DM as well after all, and we'll never know the final long-term sales of any book ever until after that book is no longer in print.
I don't buy the argument that we should count library sales or whatever on [whatever] if we're not counting the same channels for [something else] -- and since we're unlikely to ever have that kind of clarity within our lifetimes, we work with what we DO have. Each year I try to remove more of my biases, and more of my silly shit from the analysis -- no one seemed to notice that this year I didn't have the last k words be about a comparison to the DM, like the previous five years! But I'm working on it, really I am! Whether I succeed or not, I do firmly and fundamentally agree with this statement of Tom's: "Right here, right now, additional markets aren't just desirable, they're necessary.
For many people the ability to operate in multiple markets is the difference between publishing and not publishing, and has been for several years now.
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For some folks, every single market of any value is the difference between making a modest living and making no living at all. For certain companies and titles it's the difference between existence and extinction. In some ways, it is like what I say about Periodicals versus Perennials in the DM -- the periodical comic books provide the cash flow; the book format perennials provide the long term profit.
Other markets are riskier, returnable, and generally slower to pay -- but as a long term investment may be very profitable if you get that big hit. Either way, that's where I won't quibble with Tom even a little: all markets are needed, all venues are valid, all sales are good. Anyway, just because I'm feeling silly, here's how I felt a little earlier in the week when reading Dirk's comments:.
You can find my look at BookScan right here. Tomorrow will likely be too late!
Edit: Tom Spurgeon has some good comments here. I really really tried to make this clear throughout the piece: go and count how many times I say something like "to the stores that report to BookScan" or words to that effect. I keep being afraid that I'm hurting the readability with all of the ass-covering I do! For the handful of you interested in the back-and-forth over the BookScan issue, I want to point you to Heidi's post , as well as Dirk's first and second sallies.
For those of you only here for the reviews, you can stop reading now. In fact, I'd really urge you to! That would seem to me to be fairly self-evident. I want to believe that I've been very specific and very exacting both about my biases, as well as the usefulness of the specific numbers. Certainly I went into great detail about how the numbers could be wrong and what they do and do not measure; part of the problem may be that on the internet and who knows, maybe in life, in general, but we can track it on the internet I wanted to believe it too!
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But let's stay on target when we look at retail sales -- let's not conflate them with other channels, let's not take anecdote as fact, and let's try not to move the Goalposts in the middle of the game. By way of example, I point to Dirk's latest, where all of a sudden he's pointing to prose books; what does that have to do with anything? It should be pretty obvious that the math involved for both the publisher and especially the creator is very very different between prose and comics; the breakeven point for one is certainly very different from the other.
I should know, I have a prose book in print , and I was involved in setting the print run, and the costs thereof; and I've got a pretty good idea of the physical printing costs of comics, and one is a fraction of the other.
Remember that BookScan includes Amazon, and all major internet retailers as well. For the record, I strongly suspect the answer is actually 1, that IF that material was stocked and supported and racked it would probably sell better. The Elephant in the Room, to me, is Amazon -- Amazon is "bias neutral" in my opinion; that is that each book "displayed" at Amazon is basically equivalent to each other, and that "finding" a book on their "shelves" is a trivial matter, not influenced by physical "racking" decisions.
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It seems to me that if there was a deep, wide-spread market crying out for "art comics" material that Amazon would be capturing those sales in a pretty significant fashion, as Amazon is "the world's largest comics store". I have no problem with differing conclusions about the data -- in fact, I specifically asked for it -- but, please, let's not move the goalposts by suddenly claiming that "Oh well, a small publishing house doesn't NEED to sell as many copies", as if that were even slightly relevant to matter at hand.
Given the extant data, that appears to be true. If there's OTHER data to show otherwise, I'm sure that everyone would be happy to see that, but since we can't, we can only analyze what we have. There's a larger issue here, and it is one that Robert Scott has brought up several times -- without marketing and advertising and general publisher support, it is very difficult for any material of any stripe or style or form or content to find its audience without direct intervention by the sellers of the book, be they DM or "bookstores".
But that's almost certainly a topic for another day. This will, hopefully, be my last comment on this until it is time to write about the '08 numbers! The latest Tilting at Windmills is up on Newsarama.
Yeesh, more than 11k words!! Matt decided to not post the file with the actual numbers, so foo on that. The newest column, on BookScan in , is up at Newsarama -- alway interested in your thoughts! Comix Experience Comix Experience Outpost. News Events. Are you experienced? Savage Critics. Thanks for any help you can provide! But, I also have to think of what I understand about my audiences. I like his questions, though!
The answers are And those shelves are For Sale, anyway. Ask Dan DiDio. OK, that was fun, and I wish the entire post was just that! But I will promise to at least to continue to be conscious of it, and to continue to try and tamp it down if I keep getting access to the data which is, by no means, guaranteed -B. What movies based on comics were released in ? Thanks in advance!!
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