By Todd Allen
Although ICV2 is reporting that Kickstarter has banned retailer rewards—selling a bundle of copies of your product at a discount—this is not entirely true. I wrote about the phenomenon of getting retailers in the loop for crowdfunding projects over at Publisher’s Weekly last year, so I did a little digging.
In a blog post that probably went up after the ICV2 piece ran, Kickstarter spells it out:
As of today, we’re defining “bulk quantity” as a reward that offers more than ten of a single item. We feel that a limit of ten will prevent bulk commercial transactions while still allowing independent stores (the most frequent backers of these rewards) to back projects and share them with their communities.
The interesting thing here is Kickstarter pushing back a little and deciding they don’t want to be a full-on B2B distribution tool. They’re fine with small businesses chipping to help projects, but this is more of an anti-big box measure by the look of it.
Remember, crowdfunding came out of indie music and indie film. That’s where this is coming from. The mentality may apply a little differently in practical ways to the world of comics, where there are relatively few retail chains in the greater scheme of things. (And those chains could have their branch manager pledge the projects if they wanted the product for individual stores — workarounds exist.)
That said, the rule is only about bulk sales. Nothing here says you can’t have an in-store signing as a pledge premium or engage retailers.
Keep the 10-copy limit in mind when you’re setting up your Kickstarter. Past that, proceed normally.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.