§ Brian Hibbs talks about ordering in the era of POS, FOC and TPs. It isn’t all anagrams.
It also isn’t as true for publishers (or distributors) for that matter – all one needs to do is to look at all of the “holes” in Marvel and DC’s backlist, where volumes 1, 3, and 5 of a series are available, but you can’t get v2 or 4, to see that this is true. For the non-brokered publishers, you can see it in distributor stocking levels, where even though all of our hypothetical five volumes might be in print, again only three (or none!) of them are available in open stock through the distribution channels, be they Direct Market driven like Diamond, or bookstore driven like Baker & Taylor (and we’ll get back to that in a minute)
Here at Comix Experience, once I installed POS it rapidly became clear to me that management is our key problem right now. Approximately 20% of the books we were carrying were turning rapidly, and were very profitable. About a third turned regularly, and were positive to cash flow with regards to rack space, labor, holding costs and so on. About a third turn poorly, and aren’t making anyone any money, but they add to the “character” of the store and/or the “product density” that I believe a specialist store needs to have. And the last 20% are dogs that were foolish mistakes of my money.
§ Patrick Bérubé presents a brief history of Les Humanoïdes Associés:
This publisher was founded in 1974 by four idealistic (and very talented) creators: Moebius, Jean-Pierre Dionnet, Philippe Druillet and Bernard Farkas. From it’s beginnings until the 90s, it revolutionized how science-fiction was done. With Métal Hurlant magazine (which inspired Heavy Metal) as a spearhead, many titles that saw print in that period are still considered highly influential today and inspired a generation of readers. To name a (very) few of these titles: L’Incal by Moebius and Jodorowsky, Exterminateur 17 by Bilal and Dionnet and Loane Sloane by Druillet.
Over time I’ve come to realize that perhaps we librarians think about age ranges and appeal more than your man on the street. Perhaps because all day, every day, we observe what people read, what catches their attention, and what they put down after a minute because it didn’t grab them. I think that there quite a few graphic novels that appeal solidly to kids that might have broader appeal and show off the format just as well, but again, it depends on what Oprah and everyone else is thinking of when they say kids. For the youngest, Owly is brilliant. For a bit older, there’s Scott Morse’s Magic Pickle, Kean Soo’s Jellaby, and Jennifer Holm’s Babymouse. For a bit older than that, there’s Jeff Smith’s Bone, Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet or the anthology Flight Explorer, and now Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale. And yes, Robot Dreams I think will appeal to older kids, but it wouldn’t be my first choice in a field of increasingly fantastic titles for kids.
But success aside, they weren’t living as much as they liked. So despite Scott Pilgrim’s budding celebrity, despite Larson’s two-book deal with Simon & Schuster, they decided that each day at 5 p.m. they’d put away their pens and do something else. Like read the thousands of comic books in their World War I-era home.
They give themselves mixed grades so far.
“You feel like you’re cheating if you’re not working,” O’Malley said.
Larson looked at him and laughed.
Griep is a writer with a weird assortment of credits—from DC Comics to Out, The Advocate, and Qminnesota to Star Trek Monthly to, well, you get the idea. He has scripted, directed, produced, and performed radio plays for upwards of twenty markets including San Diego, Toronto, and New York City. As an actor-athlete, he does educational and industrial voice-overs and rassles on the Midwest Pro Wrestling circuit as heel character, Tommy “the SpiderBaby” Saturday. (The International Gay Outdoors Organization named Terrance one of the Nine Toughest Gay Guys in America.) He’s also a freelance instructor, teaching interactive classes on acting and comic-book writing.