We can’t tell if this position paper from Comic Book Bin is a parody of the infamous ComicsPRO position paper (which we’ll be getting to in a a bit) but maybe we’re just punchy becauseit does make some great points:
If it is difficult for professionals whose job is to find source documents, one expects is harder for the average comic book reader to do the same.
There are specific aspects that are difficult to deal with at many comic book publishers’ Websites. These include solicited material, images of published books, lack of proper search engines and convoluted Website interfaces.
Actually we agree wholeheartedly, especially with our present pet peeve: PR without images. We understand not wanting to clog our inbox — a link to an image will suffice. Sending us nothing visual in a medium that thrives on it will not.
I couldn’t agree more. I spend more time hunting for associated images than posting actual press releases some days.
It reminds me a little of digging through long boxes looking for a hard to find title in decade’s past. It’s kind of the internet equivalent of comic collecting in a way.
Thankfully artists like to post their work on sites such as comicspace and deviant art. Without them, I can think of two or three press releases in just the last week that would have had to run without graphics.
It’s especially challenging when it’s an indie title you want to cover.
I will say as someone who has sent out a few press releases for our publications a lot of times other news outlets get aggravated when I have sent an attachment over even something as small as 80k. I try to make a habit of including a link to a location where promotional images can be found to appease all audiences.
One small example: The cover images at Image’s websites are the size of postage stamps. I’d like to recommend the CASANOVA paperback this week, but there’s no usable image of it available.
To be fair, though, they’ve gotten better about this stuff. Until a few months ago, you couldn’t even find their solicitations at their site. That seems to have changed, at least.
On a related note, publishers could probably shift quite a few books more by doing something as simple as cleaning up their Amazon listings, which are all over the place in many cases.
It’s worth noting that, in this at least, comic book publishers are in exactly the same league as businesses in other industries. If it’s not an actual store, good luck finding anything useful about the products a company offers from their website.
As a librarian who often has to go to publisher’s websites to get series info or ordering info, I have to agree with Comic Book Bin. Finding any info at all at Marvel’s site is an exercise in futility. Even relatively good sites, like Fantagraphics, don’t include basic info like ISBNs. One can’t always count on WorldCat or Amazon or Books in Print. Sometimes one really has to go to the source–but I’m not sure what audience the sources are designing the sites for.
Have you guys checked out Comixology? They have a lot of solicits info up from multiple publishers.