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Monday, February 27, 2006

Update on WALT DISNEY'S COMICS #666


Last week I wrote a post about the release of WALT DISNEY'S COMICS #666, and as an afterthought, I griped about the fact that Gemstone Comics, who is the publisher of Disney Comics and also happens to be owned by our main comic distributor Diamond Comics, had placed ads promoting their subscription service. I commented "Holy mackeral, I'm apparently in direct competition with my distributor! What a world."

Well, on Friday, I received the following email:
I'd like to try and see where you're coming from with the whole subscription thing, because we don't want to screw retailers. I guess the main reason that I don't understand why you're upset is that Gemstone's subscriptions are offered at cover price, while...
• Marvel's subscriptions start at $1.99/issue,
• DC's subscriptions are $2.00/issue ($1.66/issue for their Johnny DC titles), and
• Archie's subscriptions are offered at $1.35/issue.

I mean, I could totally understand your frustration if Gemstone undercut the SRP, but that's not the case -- and we refuse to do it precisely because we don't want to compete with y'all! The only reason we're offering subs is because we have fans who either don't have local shops or the shops that are near them won't carry the books.

I just don't see how our subscriptions are competing with you... but if I'm missing something here, please let me know!

Thanks,
Travis Seitler
Art Director, Disney Comic Books
Gemstone Publishing
Well, after some thought (and a little research), I replied with this:
Hey Travis!
Thanks for writing, and I must say I feel pretty stupid. You're absolutely right. Diamond isn't undercutting me at all... I ASSUMED that Gemstone was offering the subscription comics at a reduced rate, but now I see that that's not the case. I stand corrected. I was just sort of caught off guard by a big full-page ad that initially sounded like Gemstone was fishing for subscribers, thus cutting the stores out of the loop.
I guess I would have only been happy with something like "If worse comes to worst and you absolutely, positively can't get to a comic book shop, we will send you copies through the mail with an additional healthy shipping fee, and with the chance that they will be lost or damaged. In extreme circumstances, Gemstone will provide this service." Or something.

Sincerely,
Bill Wahl
Comix Connection

P.S.: I hope you do charge subscribers lots and lots for shipping! Heh heh heh.
After which, I got this back:
Thanks!
Travis Seitler

PS: I really don't know about the shipping (that's handled at Gemstone's West Plains, MO branch), but I would assume we're including it in the subscription price. So... maybe the case could be made that we're undercutting you if the price of gas is included...but...um...hey, look over there at that silverbulletcomics.com! They're charging 30 cents off the cover price!

I just thought you all might be interested to know that my anger was mostly unfounded, and I really appreciated the contact from Travis. See, they DO care.

8 Comments:

At 2/27/2006 9:41 PM, Blogger Linnen said...

Cool story - thanks for the update on that. It's interesting to peek behind the comic book curtain sometimes and see how things work!

 
At 2/27/2006 10:17 PM, Blogger stymieresh said...

So, Bill. Did you send them an e-mail complaining or do they regularly read your blog?

Pretty cool if they read your blog often. Imagine the POWER you can yeild over the comic book industry. You're a giant among men!

 
At 2/27/2006 11:56 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

linnen - That's one of the best things about the Internet to me... connecting people... feedback is important and debate is vital.

stymieresh - HA! No email was sent, so I'm pretty sure that was a random stumble-across, although there are literally TENS of people reading this 'blog... I am a Giant Midget. (I stole that from Mike Hawthorne's HYSTERIA, by the way, which coincidentally will be in the stores this week!)

 
At 2/28/2006 10:00 AM, Blogger Travis said...

stymieresh: Bill's right, we sorta stumbled on it. I guess. (Does a Technorati search count as stumbling?) I'm here to stay now, though (even if I'll remain mostly a lurker)!

Now Bill, about that "my anger was mostly unfounded" line... mostly?! [Sigh.] There's just no pleasing some folks...

;)

 
At 2/28/2006 3:43 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

travis - Well, on Earth Bill™, there would be no need for publishers to even bother offering mail subscriptions because comic shops would be so popular that everyone would visit them monthly!

Also on Earth Bill™, everyone has non-polluting personal rocket packs to get around...

 
At 3/01/2006 10:55 AM, Blogger Travis said...

Earth Bill™ sounds really nice, and I'm all for it! =)

My POV -- subscriptions fall in the "[somewhat] necessary evil" category... like Pokemon five years ago.

 
At 3/01/2006 10:30 PM, Blogger Bill at Comix Connection said...

travis - Yes, a necessary evil that hopefully carries a surcharge, not a discount.

Oh, and on Earth Bill™, reviewers would try not to link the comics they review to Amazon.com, they'd link to the Comic Shop Locator Service to help readers find their local comic shop...

Heh heh heh.

(I know I know, you were just linking to them to show the comic and it's contents, but still.)

 
At 4/07/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger Travis said...

"Oh, and on Earth Bill™, reviewers would try not to link the comics they review to Amazon.com, they'd link to the Comic Shop Locator Service to help readers find their local comic shop..."

I do both... and even if the CSLS mention isn't always explicit, the CSLS search bar is still on every single page. =p

 

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