Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hey Publishers... Give Me a Break On Your "Sell Out" Hype.

Dear publisher (you know who you are),

You sold out of an issue on (or before) release and you think that is brag worthy?


Remember when the last Harry Potter book came out and nobody could buy a copy because it sold out before it shipped?  Remember going back to the bookstore(s) week after week without finding a copy and having to pay over cover to buy it on eBay? Me neither.

C'mon guys.  If you're going to hype a sell out, at least tell us how many you printed?

You don't want to say?

Yeah, I wouldn't either, because
  • selling out of a print run that you had total control of
  • to a market that tells you how many they want to order 4-6 weeks in advance
means you did a poor job of estimating demand.  Doing a lousy job is really not something to be celebrated, is it?

This was YOUR BOOK.  You created/facilitated it, you believed in it enough to print and solicit it, you knew EVERYTHING about the book and then expected retailers to take an inventory position on it that your weren't willing to do yourself.  Congratulations!

How many hundreds or thousands of sales did you lose, just so you could announce a sell-out and maybe get a few hundred more people to buy the second printing.  And those lost sales not only come from this issue but also the sales that might've come from subsequent issues that won't be bought because you made it to difficult for consumers to buy into your series.

Now if you're a company that generally sees sub 50k sales on your titles and you sold through 75k or more, moving you well into the Top 10 comics, I take it all back, you really did a phenomenal job.

But if you are a company who is licensing huge franchises /and/or creators and selling out of print runs of 50k or less, you are failing!!!

Failing to establish a market and failing to convert the millions of fans that got you hot and bothered enough to grab that license. This applies to the bigger folks that own their licenses and still play this game and yes I am looking at you DC comics.

How in the world, do you decide that things in your universe are so untenable that you need to chuck EVERYTHING to recreate all of your trademarks to make them interesting enough to not only woo back lapsed readers but create new readers from the millions who have never read comics and then not print enough copies for these new readers to buy?

Did nobody in all of DC have a target that took any of your recent event books and multiplied them by 2 or more?  Because folks are deriding retailers who had to buy this work without much info or protection and still ordered multiples of their recent #'s on similar books.

I will look more at the DC vs DM numbers next week, wait til you see my wild assumptions about that.  Gotta go set my e-mail filter to shit- can e-mails with the phrase "sold out".