Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to price things so they will actually sell.

Please keep in mind this is just my opinion as someone who is actually trying to, y'know, sell this crap. Then again, what the hell do I know, right?

Here are examples from this week on some bad packages, along with some great packages so we can get a good comparison going.

X-Infernus HC
Why fail?:
1. As a minor X-Men mini, most people would prefer to save their money and buy a soft cover.
2. Why does this deserve to be over sized?
3. Ok, 4 issues at $3.99, plus the one shot thingy, and the saga pages (which who the hell needs anyway.....). My math still says this isn't worth more than $19.99. And it is priced at.....$29.99.

WIN:Sleeper Season 1
Why win?:
1) Out of print for the past year, Brubaker's work (notably his work with Sean Phillips) is in high demand. Bringing this back to print in a condensed format is smart.
2) 12 entire issues for $24.99. Yes, that is a fantastically good deal. If I remember correctly, the original cover price was $2.95, so the actual value of the trade is at least $35.

FAIL:Power Pack Classic Vol 1
Why Fail?
1) Classic? Really? You guys throw that word around way too much. Classic Champions? Really? If you crack out Classic Secret Defenders, we are going to have a long talk I think.
2) $29.99!!! For 10 issues! You shouldn't have to pay $10 for 10 issues guys, c'mon.
3) These need to be priced down and reformatted for the appropriate audience: kids. That should be your target group, dumbasses. No parent wants to drop that much money in one shot for a comic that their kid will most likely destroy. There is no reason this should be glossy and there is no reason to market this as some sort of fancy complete edition.

WIN:Nexus As It Happened TP
Why win?
1) Nice reprinting of the original stuff, smaller format so not everyone will like that but a handy introduction package.
2) $9.99 price tag, Really, that's a lot of good reading for your buck.

The Irredeemable Ant-Man TP
Why fail?
1) The package is well put together, but considering this is one of Kirkman's slower sellers in comparison to say Walking Dead and Invincible you would want to put it out at a reasonable price, not say
2) $34.99 >:( Yes, this is 12 issues, so that's about the right price technically. Look over at Sleeper though, which also has glossy paper. I think you can probably put together an actual set of the single issues of this series for less money simply because you'll find them in bargain bins. Sure the same could possibly be said about Sleeper, but the fact that the very thought jumped to my mind as someone who wants both volumes should be an indication of the possible market strength of the book.

WIN:Hitman Vol 1
Why win?
1) Out of print for a while and written by Garth Ennis, this is basically guaranteed to sell
2) Reprints the first appearance in the Demon Annual, a story from Batman Chronicles, and the first three issues of his own series, the price tag on this sucker is $14.99 which is not a bad deal at all.

This was just one week's worth of books, and DC does pull plenty of shenanigans. I try to look at the trades and their prices every week as they come in and the general trends sink in pretty hard and pretty fast.
1) Unnecessary hardcovers in a confusing assortment of formats, with DC publishing soft covers way slower than Marvel therefore sucking out as much cash as possible from less patient readers.
2) Marvel will gouge you silly till they can use your blood as a cheap alternative to ink.
3) DC does the same as well, with HCs that reprint only four or five issues for $19.99-$24.99. However, they seem to do it a little less frequently and the gouging doesn't seem to go as deep.
4) It would seem to me that Marvel is banking on these larger packages to sell at Barnes & Noble and other large bookstore outlets. I would assume the logic behind it is that most shoppers who don't go to comic book stores don't know any better to compare prices with the original source material and are used to most books costing $24.99-$29.99 anyway.
5) Dark Horse prices are generally agreeable, their books shipped with more care, and if there is a softcover or a hardcover choice, they only tend to make you wait a month at the most for a softcover. Sometimes they ship both at the same time.

I mostly bring this up because there are a lot of things that I think we could actually sell if they were just packaged appropriately. I also realize there may be a number of factors I haven't thought of and perhaps certain things have to be packaged the way they are. It would be nice if there was more interaction with retailers on this front.


Saranga said...

Is the Power Pack one in colour? Cos I'd buy that.

I'm a mug aren't I?

Continually Spicy said...

Yup, it's in color.

Nah, not a mug :)
I don't have a problem at all with the content, I just wish they would make the price range more accessible. The printing is nice, but it's 10 issues for 30 bucks. Ideally, you can find that entire run for under $15

Saranga said...

yeah, but it's so much easier to have it all in one big trade. i bought all the Power Pack issues off ebay a year or so back but due to age most are rather knackered.