The satisfying chunk theory refers to the ineffable ratio between price point and satisfaction. Readers have an internal scale for what they consider a “satisfying” chunk of story, and as long as the price feels fair, they will feel they got their money’s worth.
For instance, a comics periodical priced at $2.99 with a fully developed story, with beginning, middle and resolution, might seem like a reasonable purchase, whereas a deconstructed 17 pages that one can read in under 10 minutes (much less) might feel un satisfying.
The 216 page $9.99 “tankoubon” format of manga offers a lot of story for the price of three comics – definitely a good attempt at a rewarding item.
Readers can also be satisfied by a high-priced comic if it has outstanding art or literary/artistic merit, as with many small press comics that have a more artisanal feeling, and complex stories.
There is no hard and fast formula for the satisfying chunk. It must be calibrated on each and every project individually.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.