Big1891830740Brian Hibbs responds to my post yesterday and everything is quite civil and everyone seems to understand where everyone is coming from, and they lived happily ever after. In response to my “Would Brian Hibbs donate $1 to keep Top Shelf, Cartoon Books or Fantagraphics alive?” query Brian responds:

Not that that is actually the point, but, yeah, when FBI and Top Shelf came to us with “please please buy stuff from us, we’re on the brink of going out of business” we OF COURSE stepped up and bought a bunch of stuff that we didn’t actually need in order to try and help keep them solvent.

There’s much more in Brian’s post (he also responds to Tom) and further along says something I agreed with:

Further, I don’t think “buzz” comes from being-on-sale-first *in and of itself*. I think Top Shelf would have sold exactly the same # of LOST GIRLS as they did, and had exactly and precisely the same amount of “buzz” and being “the book of the show” and everything else, had LOST GIRLS been in stores that same Wednesday. I’ll go so far as to say I’m absolutely positive that LOST GIRLS would have had the same national buzz, and sold the same # of copies at the con even had the book debuted a week before in the stores.

It’s hard to argue that, but as I posted elsewhere, publishers have a lot of “last minute-itis” with shows like San Diego and MoCCA — as long as it gets to the show — even if it’s Saturday instead of Thursday or Friday — YIPPEE WE MADE IT! I think THAT is a simplistic idea on publishers’ parts, and part of the cause for the problem.

All that said, retailers seem to want more information to stay informed; I suspect that some kind of system of notification when possible and limited returns when not possible (sometimes books just SHIP LATE for other reasons) may be the solution to this problem. The original paper might have been better served by suggesting this, but hey, at least every one talked about it and, in the blogosphere at least, common ground was found by some!


  1. I’ve been out of it, Heidi, but I saw this on the PW Weekly newsletter:

    “For one thing, you CAN’T PROVE that you lost $225 sales in Lost Girls. You haven’t done the work to prove this. So stop it. If I’m a publisher, I can just as easily suggest that you sold an extra $400 in Lost Girls because of all the resulting buzz. I’m beating you by $175! Victory!”

    —Blogger Tom Spurgeon responding to retailer Brian Hibbs on the subject of ComicsPRO’s position paper against publishers selling books at concs before they are available to comics shops.

    I used to work in a comics shop for years, and I attended conventions. It’s very easy to prove that you lost a sale on a high ticket item like that when you see one of your customers walking away from a convention with a pricey book that they could have picked up at your store. In fact, many times, we knew that a particular customer wants a certain item (many times they’ll even pre-order) but if they pick it up before we even get our shipment, we’d be losing money. We don’t even have to witness the purchase, many times the customer will tell us to our face that they picked it up somewhere else after we ordered it for them! Sorry Tom, but it’s easy to prove a loss of sales.