Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day is coming on May 5th again this year.

I have been known to wonder if Diamond picked up the tab on the shipping of the "free" comics. They are getting something out of it too if it leads to more comic sales overall so they ought to share in the burden. Now, thanks to, I know a bit more about the workings of the day than ever before though not the answer to this question. One comment states that they do pick up the tab, another states that Diamond literature advises "vendors are to charge print cost plus 3 cents (Diamond’s distro fee)", which would imply that they don't. And more.

Okay, I had always just figured the retailer was also getting the books for free except for the question of shipping. It's naive, I know. Think about it a little and it makes sense that the retailer pays something for the comics too. Everyone is getting advertising to move a product. The publishers show off what they think will hook the readers on their stuff, Diamond gets money whatever is shipped, and retailers get to attract people into the store. It's only fair that everyone put a little into the pot since everyone gets something out of it. But the above implies that Diamond doesn't put any in and the publishers only pay for the product that doesn't get into stores. The retailer is given the bulk of the bill.

Well, supply and demand will still rule, even among the free comics. Books priced at $0.50 just won't get the same exposure as those at $0.20. Not unless the retailer sees value in that book bringing customers to the store later. There's a lot of talk about how much product the publisher moves being of interest in selecting a book. I suppose it's more true in comics that people will follow a specific publisher, but that's a downright iffy business in selecting a book. After AdHouse's offering last year it's "Joel Priddy" I'm looking for, not AdHouse although they all come from that company. From chats with the guy in the shop, others are too. Too bad there's not a lot of Priddy out there. Meanwhile, he does try to figure out what might also interest. (Too bad Priddy is so unique.)

This process of prompting a customer to come into the store and really look around can help out the store more than the publisher, so I guess the system isn't all bad. Also, the publisher can price it lower if they see fit and take on more of the burden of their own advertising if they wish to. According to some comments, the smart publisher is doing just that.

I do have yet another question, though. It seems that gold sponsors are ones the retailers are required to buy. (How many qualifies as buying?) While silver level sponsors are all optional. Yet both are priced the same way to the retailer. What are the gold lever sponsors doing to be given the special consideration?

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