Updates on two stories that are really frosting the ass of the internet these days:
§ Marc Oliver Frisch reacts to the reactions to his original Figure Skating column…
§ …which includes Dick Hyacinth’s lengthy reaction and round-up which qualifies as must reading:
I think the much stronger argument would be that sales charts might prevent stores from pushing marginal DC/Marvel titles to their customers. In other words, why bother recommending Crossing Midnight to a Fables fan if you’re pretty sure the former will be canceled soon? In my experience, “bad” stores don’t make these kinds of recommendations–it’s the better stores that actually go out on a limb by suggesting material that their customers may end up rejecting. (Besides, some of the “bad” stores probably only order enough copies of Crossing Midnight to satisfy their subscription customers, so there wouldn’t even be a shelf copy to recommend.) And, needless to say, any readers who pay attention to the sales charts may very well reach this conclusion on their own, thus robbing Crossing Midnight (or whatever) of additional sales.
MEANWHILE, in this corner, BARCODES. While Johanna has a useful link round-up It’s SLG’s Jennifer deGuzman who really comics out swinging calling Steven Grant’s declaration that barcodes would kill indie publishing “alarmist and irresponsible.” DeGuzman points out that as low margin as comics as a business are, we’re not talking outlays of thoussands of dollars here:
So — $400 initial cost and an additional $300 a year or so, depending on how many books you publish. Is that a “hefty” expense? Typing some numbers into a program and waiting a few seconds while it exports into a .tif or .eps file? Is that a burden? Sending in an application for an ISSN — is that an incredible burden? (I know, we all have a lot to do, but this is business. It requires work.) Some speculate that Diamond might require UPC barcodes, which are more expensive. Getting a vendor number from GS1, the company that controls UPCs, starts at $750 and $150 a year after that — and are what DC and Marvel use on their issues. I’m not sure that Diamond is going to require UPCs, but we already put either a UPC or an ISBN on our individual issues. Other publishers, who aren’t set up for this, need some information from Diamond Comics.
We’ll throw in our own two cents here — this move, while part of the larger move towards POS systems, cold also be an attempt to winnow out the “Hobby publishers” from the Diamond catalog, as SImon Jones suggests, and we’re not sure that’s a bad thing. Diamond must spend time and resources on companies that can’t afford a minimal investment in being professional. We’re not saying that no barcodes = crap, far from it, but perhaps ALTERNATE resources are better spent dealing with such publishers? We’re already rapidly evolving into a two tiered distribution system — bookstores and comics shops — it’s not hard to see other methods developing for micro-publishers.
Or, to put it another way, do we really need to set up a system fpr serious publishes that also caters to folks like SLG blog commenter zitsmyname?
I was planning on making a comic and,no iaww that suckz well thankz for tellin’ the pepz