NYCC 10: Wayne promoted; Marvel cutting back titles?

It seems that the action kicked off early today at the Diamond retailer breakfast this morning, which due to its 8:30 start time was off limits for all the hard partiers we saw out and about last night.

As reported by various folks who got up early, it was anounced that Bob Wayne has been promoted to Sr VP of Sales from VP of Marketing and Sales. The announcement met with loud applause from the assembled retailers. With his long service at DC, Wayne is definitely one of the people who can provide continuity for the retail community as the new split-coast company rolls out. It was also announced that the sales and marketing team for print would remain in New York — which doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be other sales and marketing teams in LA for other aspects of the DC business.

Marvel also discussed their new $2.99 price point for some of the books coming out in January but didn’t discuss any details other than the fact that new books would be at the lower price, not existing titles.

They also mentioned that the January catalog would be smaller in terms of product. While Marvel has been rolling out tie-ins to THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA and other movie properties by the dozen, these books are not meeting with much retail or reader support.

While the price cuts announced by both Marvel and DC yesterday are popular moves, they are not without some potential pitfalls. If customers simply take it as a chance to save money, they’ll keep buying the same number of books, and profits will go even lower. It’s incumbent upon publishers and retailers to persuade their customers to take that $20 and buy 6 books instead of 5.  Marvel’s current flood of titles isn’t going to work if readers see them as filler.

The “Evolution of the Graphic Novel” panel we were on earlier was well-attended, given the rather distant location. GN Reporter’s John Hogan, Rich Johnson, B&N’s Jim Killen, B&T’s Jill Faherty and Muse Comics’ Amanda Emmert talked about general issues in selling books, including the need for accurate age ratings and promotion of prominent authors.

Comments

  1. “persuade their customers to take that $20 and buy 6 books instead of 5″

    No…it’s to persuade buyers to now spend $24 and buy 8 titles instead of 5 for $20.

    The idea is to give consumers a reason to try new titles and follow more books…

  2. It seems to me that Marvel already started cutting back on the number of books they put out each month. If you it looks like there are many more books solicited for October and November of this year than December.

  3. [edit to above comment -- "If you look it looks like there are many more books..."]

  4. With the Big Two cutting pages and cutting titles, it’s like the 1970s all over again. Back then the floppy was saved by the development of the Direct Market. What (if anything) is going to save it this time?

  5. What will save it this time? Digital. The DM hurt the newsstand, the manga explosion in bookstores hurt the DM, Now Digital is hurting bookstores.

    The smart adapt. Diamond is creating a digital strategy. B&N has an ebook storefront and product.

    The DM has to get smrt FAST. Get that computer inventory program and point of sales system. Set up an electronic storefront online so I don’t have to go to Amazon. Figure out how to text customers when they special order something.

    Otherwise, Hastings and other, BETTER retailers will eat your lunch and ridicule your hand-me-down Captain Planet lunchbox.

    Once we get a critical mass of comics readers online, THAT’S when we return to the days of millions of circulated copies, of everyone reading comics. That’s when the Long Tail starts wagging the dog.

  6. Ray Benton says:

    On Bob Wanyne’s promotion – He was previously VP Sales (not sales and marketing) John Cunningham is VP Marketing

  7. Glenn Simpson says:

    From the reaction I’ve seen, it seems like there are plenty of folks who were interested in certain books, but were holding off due to the price point. So I think this will work as designed.

  8. Hey Heidi,
    Thanks again for sitting in on the Evolution of Graphic Novels panel. I was glad to see, despite the long haul to the location, that we had a pretty decent turnout. Maybe, just maybe, we have shown the publishers that, with a few tweaks and better data, they can start selling a lot more books into traditional retail. Most remarkable was the very small number of hands that went up in response to the question about MARC records and Library of Congress classifications. It sure explains why so few of their titles are selling into the much broader universe of retail, education and libraries. The traditional book trade is worth only a few billion dollars…someone might as well tap into it.
    I’m glad you were on the panel.
    Cheers!

  9. John… how much of the bibliographic data is created by Bowker’s Books In Print? If a publisher registers for an EAN/ISBN, do they not send in forms with all of that data ready to be converted?

    I think that many publishers are not very sophisticated… review copies, marketing, bookstore distribution… even Marvel, the biggest comics publisher, makes some mistakes.

    Perhaps Diamond could host a publishers workshop at San Diego (where most will be attending) held that Wednesday? Bring in the book people… Library of Congress, Bowker, EDItEUR, various designers, Ingram, marketing specialists, subject buyers…

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