Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Khan 2.0, Sep 9, 2013.
@Lindley: Ha! Totally.
Didn't Taran'atar fight an alien that looked like a Xenomorph during one of his holodeck training sessions?
As far as I know, the first two editions of the "ST Encyclopedia sold well enough, or else Simon & Schuster wouldn't have kept making new editions. But the first one came out when there were still lots (and lots) of casual viewers of TNG. People who had a strong, but passing, interest in Trek, plus people buying the book for relatives and friends they knew were avid fans and were otherwise hard to buy for.
The third edition was much harder to sell because TNG and DS9 were already off the radar of those casual fans, so the Simon & Schuster number-crunchers decided it would be unprofitable to redesign the whole text, added the new material as a supplement at the back, and buyers resisted. Many TNG-only fans didn't need extra pages that added mainly new DS9 episodes to the book.
These days, a new edition in hardcopy would be a huge undertaking: more VOY, plus ENT and JJ movies to be added, and many people are happier with the convenience of online information. Which is free - and updated daily.
The highest hurdle for any crossover story involving characters owned by two different production houses is usually settling on what $$$ outlay is required.
The Trek comics from IDW are often rather hard to find, and many have been scathingly reviewed. AFAIK, they are not selling the kinds of numbers as the Marvel and DC versions of the 80s.
To be fair, I don't think any current comics are selling near their '80s or '90s level.
Well I can't speak for anywhere but Kingston, but comics do very well here - at least if I am to believe the dealers that sell here. They have IDW comics - not just Star Trek - as does the guy who comes to town during Sunday Market at Springer Market Square. I have to believe that if they can do well here, the larger cities must be doing as well if not better. I have no empirical data, though.
I am sure the industry isn't doing as well as years before - not surprising in this economy. It would be interesting to know for sure how the numbers differ. I only collect the Trek comics, but my son currently subscribes to half a dozen different ones (his are all Marvel). Mile High Comics is used by both of us to pick up missing back issues.
I don't know what they were at the height of the medium, but I believe now most comics sell in either the 5 or 6 digit range. I can't remember where exactly they are, but I'm pretty sure there are websites that do have the exact numbers for comic sales.
Exactly. I'm a huge comic fan, and the numbers have nothing to do with the economy, they've been sliding for years. They sell a fraction what they did in the 60s/70s, the 90s there was an explosion, but that was down to collectors buying multiple copies of 'special' issues because they believed the issues would be worth something like Action Comics 1 or Amazing Fantasy 15 is today. I've seen references that today's top selling comic would be considered in need of cancellation in days gone by, the numbers are that different.
I gather the shrinking of comic-book sales is a result of a change in the distribution system, so that comics that used to be sold on newsstands and convenience-store shelves all over the country ended up being distributed solely to specialty comics shops. Readership plummeted because availability plummeted.
Precisely, and now those speciality shops are shutting it's getting even worse. Which is the one aspect that is down to the economy. Not to mention there is only one distributor for the entire industry, Diamond
Right now they're hoping to turn that around with the digital market. Unfortunately, the brick and mortar stores and Diamond are fighting it tooth and nail which has resulted in a lot of books being the same price online as physical when there's a serious disparity to production/shipping costs for the two. You're never going to get people paying 3-5 dollars for a comic that takes a few minutes to read when they can pick up a game for 99cents.
... I'll, erm, I'll stop ranting now.
*sigh* This country used to have effective laws against corporate monopolies. We seem to have forgotten a lot of the lessons of our past in recent decades.
I'm curious, does anyone know why the distribution system changed?
Sales really. It was a slow process, then DC did a Teen Titans series - which was their big franchise at the time - specifically for the direct market which took off. There's a bit more to it than that, but from memory that's the big thing.
Edit: Just to clarify that's more how the Direct Market happened, how the spinner racks and grocery stores got abandoned I can't remember.
Ain't that the truth.
I don't know why the racks disappeared either.
My Dad got me into reading in the first place by buying me comic books. Lord, how I wished I had kept them all from the time he started buying them for me!! I did the same for my son. Just went in one day and bought a whole bunch of old comics from a thrift store - "cartoon comics" - and just left them lying around. It wasn't long before he was picking them up and going through them. He'd ask for help with some of the words and he'd carry on his merry way. I just kept buying them, dozens at a time. Eventually, I went from the cartoon series to Superman, Batman, Spidey, etc. He ended up settling on pretty much all Marvel stuff -Spiderman and X-Men mostly, so I started buying him the comics off the racks in the stores. It just grew from there and he has carried on every since. He is in his 20s now and has one hell of a collection.
When the New 52 started, I saw an interview with Dan DiDio where he said titles rarely top 100,000 copies these days.
By way of comparison, this is last year's list of the bestselling comics in Japan, where the comics industry is still thriving. (These are equivalent to trade paperbacks, so it's not a direct comparison, but the magazines where the series are first serialized usually have circulation in the millions.)
Well, I get all Trek IDW comics put into my standing order, so I never miss out, but there are only ever a few copies ordered for the open shelves. (Unlike other series of superhero comics, and even most other IDW titles.)
I'm in Australia, but there seems to be regular complaints on this and other BBSs that the IDW Trek comics are very hard to find in many US comic shops, with stories of people missing out on certain issues because the comic shops were ordering so frugally. During my recent US vacation, in which I visited many, many such stores, rarely had issues of the IDW Trek comic - not even on new comics delivery day - and certainly no racks of recent back issues. (And yet, those stores with back issue racks often had random DC, Marvel/Paramount and WildStorm Trek comics.)
It's my understanding that, with the old newspaper stands, five issues were required on display to sell one, on average, with the unsold (often damaged) copies being returned to the distributor. Specialty comic stores have to buy all their copies outright - ie. no returns - so unless a title has potential for eventually selling as a back issue (possibly higher than the original retail price) - the shops are extremely careful about ordering only what they know they can sell very quickly, with very few for the open shelves.
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