Posted by: Brian Hibbs on February 16, 2009
This is about retailing and distribution and all that stuff, so I’m hiding it under the jump…
Right, so Chris Butcher has written a widely linked panic attack about Diamond “de-listing” over 1000 Viz backlist items.
As near as I can tell, however, he’s concerned about a bunch of material that, well, doesn’t sell. YES, some of the titles on the list are REALLY FUCKING GOOD COMICS, no doubt about it… but do they SELL is the question?
I also use Baker & Taylor as a source for books, an unlike Diamond’s site, B&T has some neat tools on their pages, including real time inventory for not only what is in stock, and what is expected to show, but also for REAL THIRTY DAY DEMAND for those products.
I think that most of us can agree that DRIFTING CLASSROOM was the big “wait, what?!?” on the Diamond de-listing list — thems some fine comics.
But when I search for DRIFTING CLASSROOM on B&T’s inventory, for their west Coast warehouse (they have four: East, West, Midwest, and South) this BOOKSTORE FOCUSED distributor only has inventory on hand for two volumes, and their thirty day demand for ANY of the eleven volumes is… wait for it! ZERO COPIES.
Same thing for GOLGO 13.
Same thing for Tezuka’s PHOENIX, pretty much — 2 of the volumes have single copy demand, wow, big seller.
The secret reality of things is that a huge chunk of things that YOU like, or maybe even things that Butcher or me could sell a bit… don’t sell at all well out in “the real world”
Like… you basically can’t get ANY Drawn & Quarterly published titles from B&T. WHAT IT IS, and SHORTCOMINGS and maybe 3-4 others, but that’s IT. BECAUSE THEY DON’T SELL FOR MOST STORES.
INCLUDING “not comics” stores, guys.
My new TILTING is on Friday, with a look at the 2008 BookScan numbers. While you’re waiting for that, take a guess at what the BookScan reported sales for LOVE & ROCKETS NEW STORIES #1 was (remember, they changed TO an annual, spine-d format FOR the putative bookstore market). Write your guess on a piece of paper, and see on Friday how close you were.