Comic Book Pricing

The day after a discussion about digital comics, writer Warren Ellis has an interesting discussion going on at his Whitechapel forum about print comic book prices.

Warren Ellis:

And now, most of the more popular comics in the commercial field are 3.99. The old favourites, your X-MENs and so on. Some of them are including extra material — indicating that the price could in fact have been held at 2.99, but pricing them at 3.99 increases your dollar market share in nice ways.

More than one commentator has noticed, however, that the midlist is getting cannibalised again.

No-one can retreat from 3.99 again, really. That’s the new threshold.

— and —

My thinking is — and this isn’t news, it has been for a while — that in the current time, comics probably have to work a little harder to be owned. To quote myself about magazines, they are objects that have to want to be owned. In fact, you can also frame it in terms of experience design — comics singles must want to be used.

Someone over there calls himself a “geezer,” stating that he began buying comics when they were sixty-five cents.

Dear god! When I started, they were twelve cents.

Anyway, that “geezer” says he has a hard time going into a store with twenty bucks and coming out with 3-4 comics.

I don’t know what digital comics are going for at the App Store. I haven’t looked (going through the disorganized mess of the App Store on a desktop is No Fun). So, I can’t comment on the digital price aspects of it.

One way or the other, though, I expect I’ll be surprised.

And I also expect to be buying a lot of e-reprints, if those ever happen. There’s a huge comic book nostalgia market out here that shouldn’t be ignored.

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