Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Comics and Graphic Novels Up and Downs

Comicworld is going through a lot this week.

Good news: San Diego Comic Con 2011 sold out in seven hours. Someone out there likes comics, or at least comic con.

Interesting news: Publisher's Weekly spoke to five college-level comics art programs. Enrollment has increased, as has the number of females entering the programs. So there are more people who want to make comics and therefore more possible competition for creators. Not necessarily a bad thing if quality goes up as competition increases, because it can lead to more opportunity. Remember the path in the last decade or so of young adult literature (YA lit): increased interest by consumers- increase in sales of YA lit - increase in publishing houses creating YA imprints or bulking up their acquisitions lists - increase in writers and manuscripts- increase in competition and quality of manuscripts - back to increase in interest by consumers as YA lit becomes better and more accessible. Get it?

Bad news: Borders possibly filing chapter 11 this week. There are fewer and fewer outlets for book sales in general, and the loss of this one is a biggie. Diamond Books Distributors (the kingpin of comics and graphic novel distribution) has already stopped shipments to Borders.

Bad news: Canada's largest book distributor H.B. Fenn filing for bankruptcy. Why? Because there are not that many distributors, either. This one moved material for 90 publishers, including comics and graphic novel groups like Marvel, Yen Books, Tor, Macmillan and Disney. According to Publisher's Weekly, publishers are scrambling to route sales channels in Canada through other distributors.

So, there are more people who want comics and graphic novels, there are more people serious about penning them, but there are fewer physical outlets to sell them, and fewer distributors to get those hard copy books to those retailers. Milton Griepp, CEO of ICv2 (Internal Correspondence Version 2, an information outlet that provides trending information to pop culture retailers. This grew out of Capital City Distribution, Inc. - one of the largest distributors of pop culture products in the 80s through the mid-90s that was sold to Diamond Comic Distributors in 1996) projected a ten time increase in digital comics sales in 2010 over the previous year in a white paper presented shortly before NY Comic Con last fall.

Change is coming. Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment