Not So Much Free

Over at Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson recently summarized some of the more important pieces of a conversation on the CBIA regarding the upcoming Free Comics Book Day offerings. The gist of the conversation is that many retailers are only willing to pay so much to promote a publisher's product via giveaways.

There are 42 FCBD titles this year (a few publishers have more than one) at an average cost of $.275. I certainly don't blame any store for carrying only what they think they can use, or even only those that they think are cost effective. And, while the majority of titles come in under that average, some of the more useful titles (I'm assuming sight unseen) will likely be Whiteout, Train Was Bang on Time, Unseen Peanuts, Owly & Korgi, Amelia Rules and hopefully Wahoo Morris (a cool little book that hasn't gotten much coverage -- Johanna's got a review). Notice, none of these are Gold Sponsor books, but I'll get back to that.

Unfortunately, only two of these books come in under the average of $.275, and they are from two completely opposite sides of the spectrum. Train was Bang on Time costs is an excerpt from The Black Diamond Detective Agency, Eddie Campbell's newest due out from First Second at the end of May and costs retailers $.20 per copy. It has the promotional weight of First Second (and by extension Holtzbrinck publishing) behind it and these are publisher's used to working in the spend money to make money world of book publishing. The other is the Wahoo Morris book, excerpting the first chapter of that series' first book, from creator and self publisher Craig Taillefer, who's working on a much smaller advertising budget yet he's also offering his book at $.20 per copy. I suspect (or hope) that this price point may pay off in spades at those stores restricting their purchases to the less expensive silver sponsor titles.

The rest of the titles I listed are$.29 and up, topping out at $.37 for Owly & Korgi (overall the most expensive title offered is Pirates vs. Ninjas #1 at $.50 each). In my breakdown of our FCBD purchasing last year, I pointed out that we set aside a certain percentage of our budget for each title and bought however many copies that budget would allow and we've done the same this year (if I have time I plan to break down the percentages for this year's books in the coming weeks).

All of that said, we're carrying almost every FCBD title this year. The only titles we're omitting are Jack the Lantern Ghosts (only 2 people took last year's book and we're never sold a Jack the Lantern comic) and Comic Genesis and Keensot Spotlight, two books that promote web comics and that almost no one picked up last year.


Blogger David Beard said...

I wonder whether, someday, FCBD books will be listed in the Diamond catalog, so that those of us who are interested in one of each can cough in to be sure that our shops carry all of them. We might move to a few free comics on FCBD and a mass of "other" comics at a massive discount?


11:39 AM  
Blogger jim kosmicki said...

I don't have a local comic shop, so I use Mail Order Comics -- they had each one listed on the order form so that you could purchase it if you wanted. if past years are any indication, they will also include the gold level titles (and a few silver) as free extras in the next shipment after FCBD. I realize that this is a bit confusing at the retail level when the books all say "free" on them, but maybe anything under the gold level needs to just not have a price so that they could be priced at a quarter or something to offset the higher costs?

1:22 PM  
Blogger Thomas Zahler said...

All of that said, we're carrying almost every FCBD title this year.

Which means you're carrying "Love and Capes", right? I appreciate you ordering it, and I've added your store to the list of comic shops on the website.

9:41 AM  

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