GREAT WHITE NORTH!
Jonathan A. Gilbert
All Rights Reserved.
Since I returned to the comics ;industry in 2011 I have been working exclusively with small press publishers. While I have had a fair amount of work appear in print the sales have been poor. Basically the reason for this is that the comics have only been available online.
The publishers' justification for only releasing the comics this way has been cost. According to them the price of shipping comics is too high for their limited budgets.Even when I have made the suggestion that they at least try to put the comics in comic shops in my hometown of London Ontario, adding that I'd be willing to get the stores to carry the books and do all the promotional work the response has been the same. Such an endevour would be too expensive.
To say that I disagree would be an understatement. If the publishers even just sent a batch of the comics to me at bulk shipping prices it would enable me to increase their sales. And the length of time it would take for the comics to get to me shipping them this way wouldn't matter as these publishers don't publish on anything that resembles a normal schedule anyway. In the end they would have more sales; more than they have online.
There are two main problems with selling comic exclusively online (I am referring to print comics here; digital comics have a whole different set of problems). First, comics were and remain a collectors' medium and while you can get almost anything you want online it still doesn't compare to lookig
through the books in comic shops and talking with fellow fans and staff.Second, with so much available online a publisher's product gets lost amongst the other material. True, that's where promotion comes inn but when everyone else is promoting their stuff a small publisher usually gets lost or more often ignored.
Now I am not saying that publishers shouldn't sell online. Ir is a good additional market. But it shouldn't be the only market. The small publishers need to get their work in comic shops as well otherwise they are always going to be just that; small publishers. And that doesn't benefit anyone.
Jonathan A. Gilbert is a freelance writer and lives in London Ontario Canada. He can be reached by email at JonAllanGilbert@yahoo.ca