Here's the story in USA Today:

 

I've been hanging onto the DC train for years waiting for a clear opportunity to jump off, and here it is. Anything they publish from that point on, I'll read the reviews and, if it seems like something I'll like, I'll buy in trade paperback. I've been waiting for the classic Justice League lineup to return, and that's happening, so I'll get that. My son has been a Green Lantern fan all his life, so I'll continue to get those titles for him. Unless Manhunter from Mars or Adam Strange get their own series, we'll just have to wait and see what else they do.

 

Hoy

 

 

 

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I agree totally.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:
Maybe, but I have no digital device to read it on.  No kindle, nook, ipad, smartphone...are comics leaving me behind?
I'd say no. I haven't heard any word of companies becoming digital-only, nor do I see that day any time soon.

Kirk G said:
I agree totally.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:
Maybe, but I have no digital device to read it on.  No kindle, nook, ipad, smartphone...are comics leaving me behind?

For what it's worth, I asked someone at my LCS about what they thought of DC's digital initiative and they said that monthly books have already decreased significantly in their business, with a lot of their customers having switched to TCPs.

Andy

I'm not sure Mark. Paperbacks and hardbounds are already feeling the impact from the various e-readers available, yet the publishers are surviving because they offer their products in that format too.
Rather than weighing in saying "Yes, I agree," or "No, it's BS".... can we establish a poll so that we all can vote once and see what our population thinks about the future of the field?

I've never read anything that seemed like a plausible reason for DC's actions. At last, one such story does, at the LA Times' "Hero Complex" site. I think they buried the lead, with this quote at the very end:

 

The worst-case scenario for DC’s new strategy is that few new readers stick around and existing ones are alienated by the changes. But the relaunch’s architects said it’s a necessary risk.

 

“The truth is people are leaving anyway, they’re just doing it quietly, and we have been papering it over with increased prices,” DiDio said. “We didn’t want to wake up one day and find we had a bunch of $20 books that 10,000 people are buying.”

 

OK, now THAT makes sense. Here's the full story.

 

 

They've created an interesting strategy to meet that goal. I'll definitely be interested in seeing which of the new comics are readily accessible to new fans looking to dip a toe in the water and check out titles and characters they're unfamiliar with.

A lot of the premises don't seem to take that tack (as they wouldn't if they wanted to retain long-time readers), but, as always, execution is all.

-- MSA

Cap, I always figured that was the case even before Dan came out and said it publicly.  Comics sales have been on a slide for 4 years and the publishers needed to do something drastic to turn it around. Trade paperbacks (and manga) helped fuel the last comic boom, direct sales markets helped fuel the one before that.  It's not dumb to think that digital sales might fuel the next one, and it's not dumb to think that they'd need the publicity of a fresh start to ease the transition.  For all of those who are predicting failure and the inevitable "death of comics," the status quo was going to get us there anyway.  I'm impressed that DC is at least acting boldly to address the problem.

 

Comics sales have been on a slide for 4 years and the publishers needed to do something drastic to turn it around.

 

Four years? Make that forty years. Maybe even longer than that. Anybody know what year the comic book industry sold the most copies? I don't necessarily believe the cover blurb, but back in the late 1940s, Crime Does Not Pay claimed a monthly readership (different from circulation, since "readership" includes pass-along readers) of 6 million. Is there any comic book being published today that can claim even one-tenth that kind of readership, even if we throw in all the bit-torrenters?



Dave Blanchard said:

Comics sales have been on a slide for 4 years and the publishers needed to do something drastic to turn it around.

 

Four years? Make that forty years. Maybe even longer than that. Anybody know what year the comic book industry sold the most copies? I don't necessarily believe the cover blurb, but back in the late 1940s, Crime Does Not Pay claimed a monthly readership (different from circulation, since "readership" includes pass-along readers) of 6 million. Is there any comic book being published today that can claim even one-tenth that kind of readership, even if we throw in all the bit-torrenters?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...What a wholesome comic , eh ????????? :-)

  I've meant to bring up the " What was the biggest-selling comic book - average sales per issue , over a year - ever ? " question here .

  Conventional Fannish Wisdom has tended to say that WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES , about 1952 , was probably the all-time champ , while different-format MAD , about the earlyish 70s , may have per-issue surpassed WDC&S .

  Those both seem plausible to me .

Four years? Make that forty years.

 

That's a bit simplistic.  It hasn't been a straight downward trend for 40 years.  It's been down and up and down and up and down again.  Comics sales increased for 7 straight years from 2000-07.  Now they've declined again from 2007-11.  The publishers need to do something to reverse that trend.  If they don't, comics will eventually die out.  But the industry has also been in that position before and found different ways to turn things around (a superhero revival for the Silver Age, the direct market, the tpb format, and so on).

Anybody know what year the comic book industry sold the most copies? I don't necessarily believe the cover blurb, but back in the late 1940s, Crime Does Not Pay claimed a monthly readership (different from circulation, since "readership" includes pass-along readers) of 6 million. Is there any comic book being published today that can claim even one-tenth that kind of readership, even if we throw in all the bit-torrenters?

 

I don't remember specifically, I would say it was around 1950 when all of the other genres (romance, western, horror, kid humor) were selling well. 

 

I don't buy the Crime Does Not Pay claim either.  Captain Marvel once claimed a million monthly readers but research showed that it was more likely a million readers combined between the multiple Captain Marvel titles rather than a million sales of a single issue.  I wouldn't be surprised if CPND was taking a similar tack- trying to outdo Captain Marvel by including an estimated number of secondhand readers.  There used to be the theory that each issue was read by 10 people because they would share them.  I'd guess that CPND's monthly sales were closer to 600,000 than 6 million.  That's still miles beyond the best-sellers today.  But we should be careful about comparing the hype of yesteryear to the facts of today.

 

Furthermore, the comparison isn't exactly apples to apples.  Gone with the Wind sold more tickets than any other movie, but it wasn't competing against home television sets.  Every other entertainment option took a huge hit when TV was popularized- from minor league baseball to dance halls to comedy clubs.  So it's not surprising that comic books also took a hit as other options became available- not only TV but also video games.  There's little point in pining for the sales numbers of the 1940s.  But the solid numbers of the early '80s seem attainable if you can combine sales between print and digital formats. 

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