This past weekend something wild happened. A customer dropped all his monthly comics from his list except for Fables, which he switched over to TPBs. He also reassured me that he would still be coming in at the same frequency, but just buying TPBs and HCs from now on.

This in itself is not all that unusual. I have several customers that are TPB-only or TPB-mostly on their pull list. Some have always bought them that way, some have converted.

The unusual thing is that the number of people subscribing to Fables in TPB form is, as of this customer's switch, now 30% higher than the number of people who buy the monthly comics!

Add to that the fact that Fables is my #1 selling TPB series to people that are not subscribers (walk-in customers and such), and who never plan on buying the individual comics, and this becomes a little alarming.

A lot of retailers have been watching this trend, and expect the day to come when the collections outsold the monthlies. I think a lot of us still think that day to be a long way off. I'm afraid that it may already be here.

I have some further thoughts on this, but I want to see what you folks think first.

What do you think? Are monthly comics already giving way to the longer TPBs? Will they ever? What format do you read and buy your comics? What format would you prefer to read buy your comics?

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'Tis funny. The only title that I trade-wait is Fables.
Mr. Satanism said:
If I could convert my entire collection to trades, I would be ecstatic.

I agree with Brad on this point. The only problem with tradewaiting (for me) is that when it comes right down to plunking down 20 bucks or more for a story I haven't read and might not like, I'm often reluctant to do so. The Catch-22 is that if I do read the story in individual issues, I'm reluctant to plunk down 20 bucks for a story I own in another format. It's a new paradigm, but I'm slowly but surely getting used to it and making the shift from periodicals to collections. I don't think "jumping the shark" is the correct term, though; more like, "Have monthly comics become obsolete?"
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Mr. Satanism said:
If I could convert my entire collection to trades, I would be ecstatic.

I agree with Brad on this point. The only problem with tradewaiting (for me) is that when it comes right down to plunking down 20 bucks or more for a story I haven't read and might not like, I'm often reluctant to do so. The Catch-22 is that if I do read the story in individual issues, I'm reluctant to plunk down 20 bucks for a story I own in another format. It's a new paradigm, but I'm slowly but surely getting used to it and making the shift from periodicals to collections. I don't think "jumping the shark" is the correct term, though; more like, "Have monthly comics become obsolete?"

But with movies or other books, you plunk down 20 bucks (at least) for things you might not like...why should comics be different? And how much money and time do you spend with a monthly until you decide it ain't worth either?

.
Doc Beechler said:
But with movies or other books, you plunk down 20 bucks (at least) for things you might not like...why should comics be different? And how much money and time do you spend with a monthly until you decide it ain't worth either?

That's why god invented libraries. :) (Okay, it doesn't help with the movies in theaters, but otherwise...)
Alan M. said:
(Okay, it doesn't help with the movies in theaters, but otherwise...)

That's what Netflix is for!
Doc Beechler said:
But with movies or other books, you plunk down 20 bucks (at least) for things you might not like...why should comics be different? And how much money and time do you spend with a monthly until you decide it ain't worth either?

Good points (and I've thought of them all). I can't explain it.
I prefer trades myself because I (personally) lose a lot of story feel reading month-to-month.

On the other hand, I'm growing more frustrated with trades, especially collections of big crossover events, where the collected trade leaves you hanging on a bunch of story lines where the action is apparently collected in a DIFFERENT trade.

To wit - I dropped $100 or so on Countdown (I know...), Final Crisis, Batman RIP (and the collections leading up to it 0 Black Glove, Batman and Son, Resurection). The Batman stories were good fun, but I have no idea what happened in Final Crisis - could not understand anything from issue to issue. Countdown made more sense to me.

I expect that's because I didn't have Legion of 3 worlds, and all the other related Final Crisis trades as back up. I would have bought them, if I knew what was necessary.

So my suggestion to the publishers (or retailers) to sell even more trades would be a simple tracking mechanism for what connects to what - I would buy more trades if I knew what I needed to buy
Kent Allard said:
I expect that's because I didn't have Legion of 3 worlds, and all the other related Final Crisis trades as back up. I would have bought them, if I knew what was necessary.

So my suggestion to the publishers (or retailers) to sell even more trades would be a simple tracking mechanism for what connects to what - I would buy more trades if I knew what I needed to buy

Oh, man, the Legion of Three Worlds and Rogues Revenge books don't tie in AT ALL, and the Revelations book only kinda ties in. You certainly don't need it. Submit and Superman Beyond are the only ones that you'd need (and Submit, only kinda as well...)
And you could have had access to the Library of Alexandria, and Countdown would still not make sense.
Rob Staeger said:
And you could have had access to the Library of Alexandria, and Countdown would still not make sense.

I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating now and again: I am so glad I'm not reading that stuff. I've been crossover-free for years (but now Fables has to go and ruin it).
I'll back up Jeff Carter on this one. Final Crisis didn't make sense all on its own. That had nothing to do with what may or may not have happened in the other titles.

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