Marvel and DC Comics have announced that they are reducing the price of many of their titles from $3.99 to $2.99. I asked a number of comics retailers for their thoughts on the change, set to take effect in January of 2011. The following thoughts are from J.C. Glindmyer, owner of Earthworld Comics in Albany, New York.
How will the price change affect your store?
There may be less resistance by customers in trying a new title or storyline. Most customers are on a budget for their comics, and with $3.99 comics, now more than ever, people have been forced to choose titles to cut. There’s a big difference for the customer coming in with ten dollars and walking out with three comics instead of walking out with two comics. We need readers and we need to keep the price accessible.
How do you think the change in pricing will affect the buying habits of your customers?
Despite the content, a $3.99 book is nobody’s favorite. I suspect the price drop is a move by the publishers trying to stave off a jumping off point for readers and to continue life support for the 32-page pamphlets, floppies, singles or whatever we’re calling monthly comics now.
What changes do you think this move is likely to result in for the direct market?
With all the talk of digital download, I see it as a move by Marvel and DC for commitment to the single issue format, with the hopes that it still has some life left in her. Hopefully it will entice readers to try other titles and possibly preventing some from quitting from the hobby. With the money the big two make from movies and merchandising, they can probably afford the performance of single comics to be almost a loss leader.
Any other thoughts on the price change?
Although the price is dropping on most books, there is one fact that seems to be glossed over. With the price reduction, there is also a reduction of story pages. Two less story pages don’t seem to matter much to the people I’ve talked to in my store, they all said that it seemed to be a fair trade to pay a $1 less.
I’m also sure that publishers are now noticing that retailers are ordering much less product from them. Sales on all comics are down and the smell of the ’90s crash is lingering in the air, so it makes sense for the publishers to make a move such as this. Now all they have to do is reign it in on some of the titles being released now. I mean, how many Batman, Thor, X-Men, and Deadpool books do we need in one month anyhow?
Thanks to J.C. Glindmyer for taking the time to address questions on the impending price changes.
— Alan David Doane