Previewing: Fun With Number 3.6.6c

Before I move on in examining MacGuffin's February Diamond initial order, a quick word on the results of Saturday's analysis. I pointed out the increased risk to a retailer of carrying titles from a small publisher rather than Marvel/DC. As for how I believe a small publisher should adjust to such a situation, the solution lies (somewhat counterintuitively) in raising the price. An additional cost of $.50 adds $.22 of profit to each copy. If a publisher was to couple the increased price with increased discount to, say 50%, the publisher would see $2.35 per copy and the retailer would see an additional profit of $.46 ($.70 more than the DC title in the example) making the initial risk more worthwhile. Such a strategy may not be the most attractive in the short term, if a company is prepared to survive based on reorders, a higher price point is almost certainly the way to go. Which all of leads back to Larry Young's assertions that the future for small publishers lies in original graphic novels (True Facts currently in stock at MacGuffin), which I fully believe to be the case (assuming a certain level of quality).
End of tangent.

Over the last couple of posts, I've argued that, even in our monthly Previews order, MacGuffin stands out by offering a wider range of product than the average store. I shown breakdowns by money and unit, but what variety really comes down to is the number of unique titles a store carries. This is where we still needs to improve according to the following breakdown.

Percentage of Total order by Title:
Marvel: 25.5%
DC: 25.2%
Everyone Else: 49.3%

Half of our shelf space is taken up by Marvel and DC. Some would argue that Marvel and Dc are what sells, but a large part of what sells is function of what the consumer sees. One of the things that is most frustrating about comic retailing is the fact that shelf space is finite. We knew going into this that in order to make the store spacious and inviting we would be forced to sacrifice the ability to cram every single space with another product facing. Sometimes you just have to compromise and we've done so. Which means that the majority of new singles get a single week of full facing before going onto the recent release shelves to have half their cover obstructed by another comic. Not the ideal situation, but the focus of the store is on trades and graphic novels, therefore the majority of the facings go to these. The recommendations section is half singles, though, because it provides the opportunity to showcase those title we feel deserve more than that single week of full facing.

Shelf space is the one factor that we can not really change without a significant overhaul to the store's aesthetic, and thus it forces me to consider the likelihood of what a title can sell in the first week and what it can sell with a smaller facing for several week thereafter. When dealing with those smaller publishers, I will almost always order at least one copy of a graphic novel that seems interesting because its shelf life will be longer and the publisher has provided an entire story that will not disappear half way through (you all know what I'm talking about). We order singles with the idea that we will sell through 95% of the copies we order in four weeks time (I'm nowhere near that good at predicting demand for a title yet, but I'm improving). With an OGN, though, the sales window is much larger (several months) and our business model calls for that title to be reordered if it sells through within a reasonable amount of time. At MacGuffin, anyway, diversity of product starts with graphic novels. We're still working on the singles.


Post a Comment

<< Home