Reader Andy Stowell writes that he was at his local Barnes and Nobles and found them selling the regular old 2D editions of DC’s villains month comics, but with a $3.99 price on the cover. The 2D covers sent to comics shops were sold for $2.99 to make up for the shortage of the $3.99 lenticular covers. While Stowell was upset about the mark-up, I’m told by sources close to DC that this is a B&N thing—they order special editions and set the price for them. What’s not clear is it it was just this particular B&N—the one in Monroeville, PA—or a chain wide practive.

While this will still the complaints of retailers who don’t like B&N selling comics, it does seem like some unfair pricing for the “civilian” population.

How about it, Beat Squad? Have you seen marked up comics at your local B&N?




  1. “While this will still the complaints of retailers who don’t like B&N selling comics”

    Yes, because comics being available is teeeeerrible.

    The pricing does remind me of how comics vanished from newsstands etc. because they were cheaper than magazines and thus not profitable enough for the space they took up. If this gets comics seen and read by a wider audience, then–however unpleasant the price might be–should we really complain?

  2. I went to my local B&N a few weeks ago looking for a couple of 2D Villains Month titles that had sold out from my LCD. I was shocked by the $3.99 price point and decided it was not worth it. Fortunately my LCD was able to locate 2D versions for $2.99. I think this is a sign of things to come; I am curious to see whether or not $3.99 will become to standard price for DC titles sold through B&N.

  3. Like Brian said, this isn’t new. The newstand price has been a dollar more for a while now (I don’t know that $3.99 DM book are $4.99, though. I think it might be $3.99 across the board).

  4. The same thing happens at Chapters in Canada. I was surprised once I saw it but realize it’s the retailer book industry no competing with the comicbook stores.

  5. Newsstand price has been a dollar more for most comics for a while now, and pretty soon $3.99 will become standard price for DC titles sold through comic shops.

  6. As others have said, this isn’t a new practice. All of Marvel’s $2.99 books have been priced at $3.99 for the newsstand versions for several years now. I believe the $3.99 titles are priced the same across the board. Check the indicia (the fine print, usually, at the bottom of the first page) for any given title. The pricing for, both, direct and newsstand distribution should be listed there.

  7. @jacob – I’m not a retailer, but I would assume that they would prefer not to have someone else selling the same product they are within the same market.

  8. Glenn, that might be the case if retailers really thought B&N was that much of a direct competitor. I don’t think anyone thinks someone’s going to go to B&N for their monthly fix.

    At best, always hopefully use B&N as the springboard to get them to walk into the comic stores.

  9. Yeah, like five years ago I saw copies of Marvel’s “The List” one-shots labelled as $4.99 comics at Waldenbooks. They were $3.99 in comic shops.

    I would have thought that a comic site that prides itself has being up on the latest things would have known about this practice.

    A lot of it is just prejudice against DC, pure and simple.

    This reminds me of how to this day people are still expressing hate-filled outrage about DC creeping toward a $3.99 pricepoint for most of their books. Marvel did that FIVE DAMN YEARS AGO, and most of the independents charge over $2.99.

  10. Yep, comics distributed through the newstand system have been $3.99 for years now. I imagine that’s the only way they will carry them, since their discount level is only about 25%, but with that, you get returnability. With the time and labor involved in doing returns, I can understand the $3.99 price point. I wouldn’t even sell comics for a 75 cent profit AND having to do returns.

  11. I’m not privy to any information (nor could I tell you if I did)…

    But… newsstand magazines are fully returnable. (That’s why the Direct Market was started… dedicated access to comics, early, at a better discount, non-returnable.)

    In the olden days, when spinner racks roamed the Earth, the general rule of thumb was that a publisher had to print THREE copies to sell ONE. Anything above that number was a success. Oh, and those copies weren’t returned… just the covers, stripped from magazine.

    So, now, with magazines failing and flailing left-and-right, and not too many newsstands remaining, the margins are even slimmer. So DC and Marvel (and Bongo and Dark Horse?) could be raising prices to cover the inefficiencies of the market.

  12. That’s odd because I could have sworn I saw these 2D issues for $2.99 at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove in Los Angeles.

  13. My nearest Chapters (Canada) store sells comics in a spinner. Call it retro, call it wrecked comics. You could say they are bending over backwards to offer product in their stores.

  14. “Damn, that’s 3.98 more than I’d pay for a current DC Comic.”

    I’m more the whole $3.99, IMO they aren’t worth reading for FREE.

  15. I remember the newsstand markup for $4.99 Marvels being two bucks, so they’d be priced at $6.99(!!!). Not a fan of higher prices but as back issues, there’s a consensus that lower print run newsstand variants are worth more. (Check out Mile High Comics web site for proof!)

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