In Search of Controversy

Despite the best efforts of Rich Johnston and Alan Moore and a helping hand from the BBC & the Great Ormond Street Hospital there doesn't seem to be much of a furor building for Lost Girls. From my (admittedly limited) vantage point, there seem to be two basic assumptions about the reception this collection will receive: either it's going to cause a huge stir because of its subject matter and lead to some retailer getting tossed in jail or else its appeal will be so limited as to be ignored once the initial porn vs. literature arguments die down.

What might be a bigger story, though, is its eventual sales potential, since this has long been discussed as a niche product in a niche market despite Alan Moore's name on the cover. As of today it ranks at 2,300 among all books on Amazon's sales charts (it was up to 1,600 a few days ago). We've had a few customers check to make sure that we will be carrying it (though at $75 they're all holding off on pre-ordering it -- or else buying the signed version from Top Shelf). Now, let's be honest, Amazon is the place to get deluxe format books like this based solely on the fact that they can afford to offer at least a third off of the cover price whereas a moves like that would put us out of business. And I've seen it postulated that this book will sell online but not in stores based on both the subject matter and the idea that customers for a book like this will seek it out rather than purchase it on impulse. Excellent and completely valid points that may hold true but I'm becoming more and more convinced that Top Shelf is going to make a killing on this book not because of controversy inflated sales but simply because it is something of a curiosity in the field and people are always looking for something new (not to mention something new from Alan Moore).

With consumers set to get a look a the book at San Diego and we may not have to wait long to see what sort of demand there ends up being for this and if Top Shelf has printed enough to meet that demand.


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