Brian Hibbs expands on his last, somewhat alarming column, with a look at more of the realities he sees in light of the DC #1 relaunch.
That’s the State of the Market in 2011 — we simply are producing too much material for the market to absorb, and the dramatically low quantities that far too many books sell make it difficult to be more than really marginally profitable. It isn’t that people don’t want comics, it isn’t that the business model of Direct Sales isn’t generally smart, it isn’t “the future is digital” or some other nonsense, it is that you really can’t make money selling hundreds of SKUs in single digit quantities at low prices — the cost of inventory and overhead eats up all of your profit.
The distributor (whom I know so many people want to cast as the Devil Incarnate, but Diamond’s really not that bad) has effectively no ability to say no to DC and Marvel (and a much lesser extent to Image and Dark Horse) because Diamond is no longer their customer any longer! That is what allows Marvel and DC do the kind of outrageous line extensions and to make too high of a percentage of what they produce to be largely unprofitable for both retailer and distributor!
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.