How Much Will You Pay?

Drawing the Line at $2.99

Literally not worth the paper it's printed on. Which is expensive.

A week or two ago, I was minding my own business when the lady of the house approached me wearing a look on her face that was hard to pinpoint. I guess I’d say it was equal parts “where the hell did you leave my keys?” irritation and “I found two empty gin bottles hidden in the toilet tank” concern.

“Hey,” she said, uptalking, “I was just paying the Visa bill online…? And I noticed this ‘Fantasy Shop’ charge on Wednesday…? For, like, sixty-eight dollars?”

“Oh yeah!” I said. “I had some catching up to do.”

“Sixty-eight dollars.”

“With work and all, I hadn’t been able to, you know, swing on over and pick up the ol’ comic books.”

“Sixty-eight dollars?”

“I hadn’t been to the shop in weeks.”

“How many weeks?”

So many.” [Two.]

She gave me the most sideways glance I have gotten since the last time I had a principal. “Ohhhhkaaaay….” she said, before backing out of the room with a furrowed brow, never breaking eye contact.

That conversation was probably the first time in a year I’ve given any serious thought to the cover price of a comic book.

I am well aware that I’m the exception, not the rule. Many people are keenly, vigilantly aware of which books are in which tier. It was not so long ago that fans were pumping their fists at DC Comics’ pledge to “draw the line at $2.99,” as if DC were Fighting the Man. Sort of an odd thing to use as an advertising centerpiece in this business, if you think about it: “We are stalwart in our belief that not one of these stories on its best day is worth more than a Rallyburger. We will stand by that.” I love a deal as much as the next man, but you’re not selling soda, fellas.

Not that it matters now.

NOW how much would you pay?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a reader of comics through a handful of price increases. I hopped this train right as they were going from $.60 to $.75, but at that point I barely knew the difference. By the time they went up to $1.00, I was making a decent allowance (what with my expansion into the lucrative lawn maintenance market and all) and the publishers back then were still taking pains to convince us big spenders that we would be getting more for our quarters. Back then, in the Bullpen Bulletin days, they’d actually use some of the paper to talk about how much better the paper was getting. That seems like a communique from the planet Bleep Blorp when I think about it now. It was an entirely different pastime, and we hadn’t even gotten to the holofoil covers yet.

I came back to comics years later, and by then we had the internet. As prices rose from $.60 to $1.00, I don’t remember much hubbub. When prices rose to $2.99, I remember it as something like the climax of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. If you can get your hands on some archived Newsarama message boards from about ten years ago, you owe it to yourself to do so. I’ll get you started: search for “I will never read another Marvel comic as long as I live.”

Did anyone who typed those words live up to them for so much as six months? We’ll never know, because they will never read this.

Back then, though, people lost their marbles and their Marvels. In comparison, the slow creep to $3.99 was met with, if anything, bitter resignation. (I acknowledge that this may be projection on my part.)

I think the reason why is similar to the reason I rarely think about cover prices anymore, and it’s something I’d love you Dear Readers to weigh in on. Nobody who’s reading comic books in 2012 is doing it because they have an entertainment dollar, and they’d like the most bang they can get for it. The comic book reader is buying comics because she likes comics, and value doesn’t enter into it. If you like the Avengers, you don’t go in looking to buy an Avengers book and come out with Batman because it’s cheaper. In my personal case, comics are the only real indulgence I allow myself. I’m not interested in gaming; I rarely go to concerts; I probably won’t see the inside of a movie theater again until my kids are in their dorms. Comics are one of the chief things I do for fun, and I will be damned if I’m going to walk into the Fantasy Shop counting pennies in my palm.

Of course, now Marvel’s got this plan where, instead of trying to sell fifty different books, they just find out which ten you like and publish those four times a week. Talk to me a year from now, and maybe I’ll be singing a different tune.

What about you? How price-conscious are you? Do you wait a month to download your DC books to save that dollar? Does a $3.99 cover price make you less likely to try a new book or more likely to drop an old one? If asked, could you even tell me how much your favorite book goes for these days? How much do you think about prices in These Tough Economic Times? Right now, the only thing I know for sure is that you think about it more than I do.

 


Jim Mroczkowski is not a journalist. I mean… come now.

Comments

  1. Viewt Viewt says:

    Having gone all-digital recently, it’s very difficult to spend $3.99 on a comic book. A lot of my comics reading has shifted over to buying in bulk during Comixology’s $0.99 Sales. I got all of Transmetropolitan for a mere $59.

    I know that we’ll probably never see a day-and-date release at $0.99, but I really don’t think $1.99 is unreasonable. I know I’d surely read and spend more if that were the case. That being said, I don’t mind shelling out a bit more for a nice hardcover or omnibus every now and then. But $4 for a floppy just doesn’t sit right.

    • Friday Friday says:

      I get a lot of the .99 sales myself. I also run a month behind on a lot of books because they drop to 1.99 then. I’m a lot more willing to try out new books at that price point too. I’ve noticed as a side effect i get less marvel books because they don’t seem to have a set time when back issues drop in price. As a random example Avengers Assemble #1 came out 8 months ago and its still $3.99. I’d expect part of that is because of them providing Digital Redemption codes in the physical issues. It also isn’t really great for business if you want to maximize your $3.99 sales to have a set time for the price drop because of people like me.

    • thescimitar thescimitar says:

      I too am all-digital. I wait the month to save a buck on my DC and Image titles (3 for the price of 2 – I can buy more comics). Then I pick up a lot of the $0.99 sales.

      I haven’t been reading as much “current” Marvel books, because they don’t drop the dollar in price.

    • JimAdkins JimAdkins says:

      Agreed. I am all digital too, and I read almost NO marvel because they don’t go down $1 after a month. There are a few books that I will get for full price. Mostly just Manhattan Projects, Batman, and Chew. And that’s mostly because I read iFanboy constantly and don’t want anything to get spoiled. All my other books, I just wait until they go down in price. Like you Jim, it’s much easier for me to meet my wife’s eyes when she asks me about my comic book spending if I can say, “They were all $1.99.”

  2. idviceroy says:

    I am very price conscious, to the point where I’ve quit buying books again after being excited by the New 52 for about 6 months. Between the debt I’ve racked up, either from stupid choice or economic downfalls beyond my control, my every dollar is precious. The 4000 or so books I’ve accumlated since age 7 aren’t going to be do me any good if I don’t have a roof over my head.
    Thank God for sites like this – intellgent about comics. I come to hear to remember why I like them, and to see what’s new. I can always read my old books, and I do, to enjoy the art of reading comics.

  3. I wonder what percentage of a typical $3.99 title’s print run is actually sold for $3.99? At my last LCS, the owner gave a 15% discount on all purchases of new titles (so $3.40). In my new town, the closest LCS is 45 min away and only gives a 15% discount if you subscribe to 16(!) titles. So I do the online thing now where I get a 30% discount (so $2.80). I had heard that 15% discount is pretty standard among LCS’s, but this may not be true. I’m sure the markets are different in different areas.

  4. Julesxsxex says:

    Luckily for me, i’m an employee of a comic shop so i get a pretty sweet discount on all my books. Never spending more than 20 dollars at any given time. That being said, i did skip all the anuals for the $4.99 cover price and don’t even consider getting the alternate covers or retailer incentive variants. I do have customers who come in and spend upwards of 70 dollars and say “man, i miss two weeks and it piles up” and i’m thinking “two weeks?!?!!? this is two weeks?!?!?! did you really need every cover to black kiss, five avengers books, AND the skottie young variant to Deadpool?” But who am i to say.

  5. jcwell01 jcwell01 says:

    I have an obsession problem, I have 2 hobbies(video games and comics) that I pour most of my free dollars into. I’m pretty much the perfect consumer for companies because I want ‘everything’. I play every major video game release and I read the majority of books on the stands. Or at least I did.

    I make a decent salary, I’m not married and I don’t have any children, so I thought the expenses for my hobbies were justified because it was something that made me life happier. But because I decided to try saving money for more important things(real big boy things) I finally took a look at how much was I was spending. I was pretty shocked by the amount and that’s when I realized that maybe my obsession was indeed a problem and not just some quirky thing. Because of that I’ve put some rules on my monthly spending, $40 for single issue, $20 for trades(1 trade or 2 on sale mostly). Since I’m not buying as much I’ve had to force myself to stop caring what goes on in other books, but still the desire to know everything that is going on everywhere in every issues is still there. So the only thing I can possibly do is try to manage my pull list to get as many books as possible. 3.99 is fine when it’s a quality title that comes out monthly, Batman for example. But with this Marvel NOW! stuff I realized that most of the books I wanted were going to be double shipped at 3.99. For each book I sub to that’s a dual shipper that removes another from my pull list. So I decided to hell with all of that, the books that I still want to read will be reserved for that trade purchase sometime down the road and from now on I’ll read single shipping books(preferrably at 2.99).

    So uh…don’t double ship DC or I’ll be down to a handful of books.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      “….but still the desire to know everything that is going on everywhere in every issues is still there.”

      Yeah, I still have this problem. I’m getting better though.

      You are getting more for your money with Batman also. It’s a bigger sized issue with a backup story.

    • jcwell01 jcwell01 says:

      It’s a really tough obsession to curb.

      At this point I’ve cut out all 3.99 books except Batman, Secret Avengers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Secret is ending Remender’s run soon and then after that the book will be gone from my list opening up a slot for 3 monthly 2.99 comics. (with an extra buck added sure).

      It just doesn’t make sense why I would want to spend 8 bucks on one story when I could get 3 stories for 1 buck extra.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      That’s my argument too. We can get 3 different DC titles for the price of one Marvel title.

  6. Firemass13 Firemass13 says:

    Wow. The opening scene to this article was pulled directly from my own life experience. (I think mayhap someone is stalking me.)

    Obviously, I prefer to pay $2.99. But for a title like Batman, $3.99 is definately a great deal. For me, it depends on how GOOD the book is. I’ve read some expensive books that are outstanding, and some cheap books that were…well…cheap.

    And on a final note, my 1st child is due in 2 weeks, so I imagine the cost of comics is going to be a MAJOR concern in my future!

  7. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    My version of economizing is that I’ve taken to going to the shop on (twice-a-month) paydays instead of every Wednesday so that I can pay cash instead of accumulating DEBT over these things. (Do I sometimes end up using a credit card for, like, food, because I dropped $60 on 2 weeks of comics. Oh, probably. This is why I’m not a financial genius or, as they say, solvent.) Anyway, the result of that is that I feel like I live in a mining town and am running off to the liquor store when I get paid, but hey, I bet those miners had a lot of fun on payday. More seriously, I try not to buy more books than I have time to read, or books that require me to buy other books so that the first book makes sense, and that tends to take care of itself. Obviously, everybody’s mileage varies with their budget.

    I do think the double-shipping situation creates an interesting study in default behavior. Shops and publishers (or at least individual creators) seem to like it when you pre-order/pull list books, which generally requires a bit of extra effort. However, once you’ve pre-ordered, books that double-ship (or ship random issues at an increased price point for whatever reason) can create an inconvenience/wreak havoc on your budget. Thus it seems that one thing they are doing creates a disincentive to do the other thing that you supposedly want to do. So it seems they are counting on people taking action to pre-order and then gambling that they won’t take action again to cancel the order. And even if a customer doesn’t cancel over double-shipping/price hikes, they might be less likely to pre-order in the future and this could hurt the books that NEED the pre-orders?

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      I usually buy on my pay week too. Although if it’s a book I’m really excited about, I’ll stop in the shop and grab just the one. It helps me keep track of my spending a little better, and I get around ten books to read at once (sometimes I gorge and the withdrawal is pretty rough). I miss out on some of the discussion here and other places, but it’s worth it if it helps me balance my finances. I too am a financial Neanderthal.

  8. I wait for tpb. Not sure if its cheaper although I feel I get a better value.

  9. daningotham daningotham says:

    I am very price conscious as well. I stick to the $2.99 books. I can only justify a $3.99 book if it is extra sized like Justice League or Batman, they both have extra content in them. Paying $3.99 for a Marvel book that is the same size as a $2.99 DC book doesn’t sit well with me. Yeah, it comes with a free digital download, but I will never use it. Plus why do I want a paper copy AND a digital copy? The only regular sized $3.99 book I am currently getting from Marvel is Amazing Spider-Man, and I am dropping that after issue #700. My comic budget can’t wait!.

    I have a monthly comic budget so there are no surprise charges to my credit card. I have everything figured out to the cent per month. Which isn’t hard since I only get one monthly shipment and there is no sales tax or shipping and I get a %15 percent discount.

    One time I did go into a comic shop with no budget and I ended up getting the same response from my wife. I now have my monthly comic pull list mapped out 3 months in advance. As soon as the new solicits come out, which is always 3 months in advance, I create my new pull list for that month. And I just keep it under the amount I can spend per month.

  10. zombox zombox says:

    The comic market seems fairly inelastic. Price isn’t what has driven people away. At least not on the main.

  11. KillTheG1mp KillTheG1mp says:

    Price isn’t really an issue for me… 2.99$ or 3.99$ or bargain bin for 0.85$ an issue.

    I have a 200$ budget for pure entertainment purposes per month and about 100$ of it goes into comics cause it’s a passion and I love it. I’m conscious I pay a hundred bucks a month to read 22 pages books about superheroes and stuff but hey, I’d rather do that than drink or smoke that same hundred bucks away… ;) Healthier by far!

    I’m not making a huge salary but enough that I can “afford” my hobby. If my financial situation would change though, I would cut slack on a lot of titles I read and mostly keep the AAA stuff like Batman by Snyder/Capullo or Manhattan Projects by Hickman.

    So yeah, crazy I might be but that’s the way I roll and I’m okay with it.

    Again, I would probably buy less titles a month if I didn’t have a 25% discount on all my purchases at my LCS for being a loyal customer. Basically I get a free issue for every 4 I buy, which is great! ;)

  12. gobo gobo says:

    “Worse” than the $3.99 cover price is Marvel charged $5 an issue once they collect them in premium hardcovers. $20 for 4 issues of Wolverine and the X-Men? It’s a great book, but COME ON.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      Yeah, Marvel really has it in for tradewaiters, which seems very destructive of the potential audience. I used to read some series in issues and some in trades, and now in effect I just don’t bother with the trades (but haven’t gone up on the single issues I read)

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Yeah, they really get you on the hardcovers. The paperbacks are better though. You can get that same Wolverine and the X-Men TPB on barnesandnoble.com for $9.00. Which is $7.00 cheaper than buying the actual issues. And $11.00 cheaper than buying the hardcover.

    • Being a trade waiter makes me feel dirty, I’ll stick with the singles.

  13. tripleneck tripleneck (@tripleneck) says:

    One of my LCS is offering the Marvel Now titles at a 25% discount. That got me to buy several that I would not have otherwise since I would not have wanted to get started on 3.99 books that double ship. I can tell you that I stay away from a lot of Marvel titles because of that very strategy and will continue to do so if there’s no discount on offer.

  14. I don’t really care about the cover price. If I want to read a book, whether it is $2.99 or $3.99 I am going to buy it either way. The dollar difference never factors into which books I read or don’t read.

    I also started reading comics when they were $0.60 each. Not long into my reading,t hey switched to $0.75. I don’t mind paying $3.99 for a book. I actually don’t understand the people who say “I want to read that book, but it is $3.99. If it was $2.99 I would read it.” I don’t get that. What are they doing with that dollar? Do they literally on;y have $3 to their name, and are spending their last penny on a comic and really can’t afford $4? If so, perhaps a career change would be in order.

    Comics are my only indulgence. I spend roughly $100 a month on comics. Usually less. I don’t really have a “comics budget.” My only thing is, I only buy books i really want to read. if something “kinda sorta” interests me, I don’t buy it. If I’m not enjoying a book, I drop it. I only buy what I really want. That way, whatever it costs, I feel it was worth it.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      If I want to read a $3.99 I still get it, I just wait for the trade paperback to come out so I can get it cheaper. Just can’t justify paying $3.99 for a book that is the same size as a $2.99 book. My comics budget is around $100.00 a month too. Just want to make sure I get the most out of my money for $100.00. Plus I don’t want comic companies to think they can charge whatever they want and people will still buy it. But I guess some people do.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      It’s not that I say “it’s 3.99, I won’t read it,” it’s more like “I could buy Marvel Book A for 3.99 or DC book B for 2.99.” If I’m equally interested in both, price could be a deciding factor . . .

  15. Radmobile Radmobile says:

    Very price conscious. This new Thor book is the first Marvel book I’ve picked up since Fear Itself. It’s hard to justify $3.99 when $2.99 gets you a book of the same size and provides (arguably) an equal amount of enjoyment from the other guy (DC).

    This is especially true when you want to get several books in the same universe and have a sense of what’s going on in different corners of that world. Maybe $1 different doesn’t matter if you just get one book, but it adds up quickly with multiple titles!

    Anyway, I’ve complained a lot in the past about this issue, and now I just accept it as the way things are. I feel a little more loyalty to DC for respecting the customer a little more. I don’t really know the numbers, but I would think that Marvel charging less per issue would encourage people to pick up more books. They might make the same total profit either way, but it would be nice if they went with the method that encouraged more total books sold. Hopefully I’m off base with how those decisions were made, but that’s just the impression I get.

    Marvel can charge what they want, and I’m done complaining about it (unless someone asks my opinion on the subject). I just won’t buy much, if any, from them.

    • BCDX97 BCDX97 says:

      I feel exactly the same way. I don’t buy any Marvel books anymore. At first I stopped buying the 3.99 books. Then the I got sick of the company altogether and dropped the 2.99 books. I gave them a second chance during the AvX mini, but I just felt ripped off every time I read another 3.99 book from them. I was paying an extra buck for what? The Marvel name? The books weren’t better because they cost more.

      I do buy some other companies books that are 3.50 or even 3.99 if I really like them. I dropped the Boys when Dynamite went to 3.99 for the whole line, but I picked it up again because I missed it too much. But I don’t read any other Dynamite books. I do read IDW’s 3.99 GI Joe and TF books, though, because I love them.

      But I don’t know why I should pay an extra buck to the biggest comic company in world. Because they want more of my money? Well, they can have none an like it.

  16. DarthDelRio DarthDelRio says:

    I live over an hour away from a comic shop and have been forced to find alternative means to get my comic fix. I get my comics by subscriptions from Marvel and DC and the comics I read that are not offered thru them for subscription I get from Discount Comic Book Service. The downside to this is that I don’t get my comics the day they come out but the plus side is that I save hundreds of dollars a year shopping this way.

  17. Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

    Nothing will ever be as traumatic as when comics went from $1.00 to $1.25.

    “You mean I can only get FOUR books for five dollars now?”

  18. OliverTwist OliverTwist says:

    I am price conscious, My favorite book( by which I mean I keep buying the issues) has been X-factor, and was Scalped. I rarely purchase a comic book beyond the 2.99 price. The economy definitely effected my play money. I find it hard to legitimize paying the 3.99 and above price for 20 pages, vs a novel. I was not as money conscious as a kidt. I don’t have an ipad at the moment, so purchasing digital download aren’t my preference, especially since I am in front of a computer screen the majority of the time. The bottom line is as an adult I have a budget, and I like to stick to it as best possible. The industry raising prices doesn’t compel me to buy more of my favorite artists, it always forces me to look as my current expendable cash for comics, and make a choice on what to cut out.

  19. Wrkngclasshero (@joinedtofollow) says:

    Let me tell you Jim, as much as I like your usual posts, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have a 3 year old and one more on the way and daycare just isn’t getting any cheaper these days. I buy all digital and only when things are reduced in price. For monthly reading I purchase after the 4 week price drop, and for all back issues I only buy when there is a 99 cents sale. To facilitate these transactions, I keep two seperate word docs:

    1) One titled “Back Issue Bin” to track the back issues I want to go on sale (an attempt to limit what I buy as opposed to everything that Comixology drops to $0.99). A quick glance shows that I have at least a few hundered on there currently and it seems to be growing all the time,

    2) A sheet titled “Pull List” where I keep track of every book I follow, what day it is released and what day the price drop will occur.(DC gets very complicated in the 5 week months). Using this sheet I have a 4-5 week look ahead at what comics I will be purchasing every Tuesday night (that’s right, the Comixology price drop occurs at 11pm on Tuesday).

    To give an idea what kind of savings this get me. I currently read the following titles monthly. I will provide their cover price and reduced price in parenthesis. and FYI while DC drops books by $1, all other publishers (except Marvel) drop their monthly books to a flat $1.99 regardless of cover price. Marvel drops prices after 6 months I think, way to far out for me to follow anything monthly at a reduced rate.

    Title (Cover/Reduced)

    Action Comics ($3.99/$2.99)
    Batman ($3.99/$2.99)
    Batman Inc ($2.99/$1.99)
    Chew ($2.99/$1.99)
    Detective Comics ($3.99/$2.99)
    Earth 2 ($2.99/$1.99)
    Green Lantern ($2.99/$1.99)
    Green Lantern Corps ($2.99/$1.99)
    Green Langern New Guardians ($2.99/$1.99)
    Happy ($2.99/$1.99)
    Justice League ($3.99/$2.99)
    Manhattan Projects ($3.50/$1.99)
    Peter Panzerfaust ($3.50/$1.99)
    Red Lanterns ($2.99/$1.99)
    Saga ($2.99/$1.99)
    Superman ($2.99/$1.99)
    Walking Dead ($2.99/$1.99)
    Where Is Jake Ellis ($3.50/$1.99)

    If I were to purchase these books at cover price my monthly cost would be over $60 (assuming my math is correct). By waiting four weeks I can get all of these for around $40. Additionally, I have the benefit of hearing all of the reviews in advance so I can modfiy my pull list as necessary (the review shows don’t actually spoil that much either).

    You will notice a lack of Marvel titles, fortunately for me I was never really into them, but they do have digital sales every Monday and Friday so there are always opportunities to grab back issues (for instance, some of Brubacher’s Captain America is on sale right now).

    Anyway that is what I do, love to hera what some other folks do to save a buck!

    • Wrkngclasshero (@joinedtofollow) says:

      One last thing, I also buy all my comics with iTunes cards that I purchase through BJs or Costco because they sell them at a slightly reduced price (typically on the order of 5-10%). I also keep an eye out for box stores that offer sales of iTunes cards as well. Target and Best Buy frequently have sales ranging from 20%-50% off. I stockpile those when they happen.

  20. Softfoot says:

    I would have bought Hickman’s Thor, Bendis’ All New X-Men, Waid’s Hulk, Aaron’s Wolverine, Slott’s Amazing Spiderman, and Bendis’ Ultimate Spiderman for $2.99. I do buy indies for that price if I like the creative team or if it is well-received. I did buy Uncanny X-Force (well after the fact), and will be getting Uncanny Avengers (when it comes out) based on Remender. But mostly it is Marvel that’s missing out on my business. I initially was waiting for trades for books that got good reviews, then I either lost interest or the collected editions weren’t worth it either. So I add things to my Amazon wish list and get around to buying them whenever I do. So to DC’s benefit I will try their books as they come out and drop the ones that don’t hold up. I can’t say that for Marvel.

    • BCDX97 BCDX97 says:

      I would totally have Wolvie & the X-Men on my pull list if it was 2.99. I really enjoyed the 2 issues I’ve read – but I’m not happy at all about Marvel’s 3.99 price so I can live with out it.

  21. i’m very price conscious…like Jim, i’m having a tougher time justifying to the wife and myself spending all that money on a weekly basis for a hobby. I use my debit/credit card for almost everything, as having that running list of expenses really helps my budgeting overall.

    So what i’m doing is buying most of my issues digitally but not all at once. I reduced my weekly budget and cut my list down a lot. I don’t have as much time these days anyhow, so don’t need all these titles in my life. I only get must read books when i want to read them. That way they wont’ sit and be forgotten (no one needs a digital stack). I keep a list of other series/runs that people keep talking about and look for sales in either digital or trades and jump on them at that point if the budget is there and if it seems like the run/series is worth the buy. I’ve moved away from the Big 2 and more towards image stuff as it has shorter series and i don’t have to worry about getting sucked in to giant crossover events and all that. Plus, i’m finding the creator owned stuff to be a bit more exciting for me at this point.

    Very much for me, price is a big factor, and i’ve actually decided to kick the double shipping books out of my life entirely. I liked them enough, but i hated the cost. I’ve also been selling a bunch of old trades and action figures to my LCS for pretty good store credit that i’ve used to get a whole bunch of stuff that i could never fit in budget (Tale of Sand is mine!) I do feel that pricing, double shipping, crossovers and all that stuff they do has pushed me away from lots of titles at the big 2.

    I know i’m missing out on a lot of stuff, but i’m not going into debt to read comics.

  22. fukbot fukbot says:

    I recommend using Discount Comic Book Service (dcbservice.com).
    $2.99 titles for $1.79
    $3.99 titles for $2.39
    I get 60-70 books shipped to my house ($6.95) once a month for $120-$140.
    Great deals on trades and OGNs.
    Great customer service, always ships on time.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Do they ever sell out of stuff or do they have an online pull list? I go through midtowncomics.com. You can sign up for an online pull list. Very user friendly. You can make changes to your pull list until midnight the Saturday before the Wednesday when the book comes out. They don’t have as big a discount as your place, there’s is only 15%. So a $2.99 book is $2.54 and a $3.99 book is $3.39. But any order over $75.00 is free shipping and every comic comes bagged and boarded already. It’s great. Oh, and no sales tax.

    • @daningotham: I had noticed in an earlier comment you said you generally make your pull list 3 months in advance with the solicits. Have you considered using Midtown’s Previews ordering system, at least for those books (a 35% discount instead of 15%)?

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Yeah, I think I am going to look at it. I got scared off since right now for my pull list if my order is over $75.00 shipping is free. But shipping is not free on any preview orders, according to the website. I will check and see if it is still cheaper. It might be. Thanks!

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Yeah, minus the shipping cost it would be $13.00 cheaper than the pull list for what I normally order. But I still think I will keep the pull list as I can make changes to my order, plus add trade paperbacks and magazines to my order, just days before it ships. I have done that in the past. Just has so much freedom.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      I was a Midtown user, but made the switch over to DCBS. It’s basically the same as Midtown’s Previews offering. You have to purchase books 2 months in advance (orders placed now are for January books, February books will be available to purchase in early December).

      Pros to DCBS:
      Bigger discount (40%)
      Additional sales on specific books (For instance, Young Avengers #1 was offered at 50% off)
      Additional “Clearance Specials”- Sometimes they have extra stock on a book and will sell it for a HUGE discount. For instance, they are currently offering the first 2 issues of “Fairest” for $0.70 each.
      After you submit your order, you can make edits to it (add/remove items) up until about the 2nd to last week of the month
      Shipping charge is $6.95 per shipment (Midtown’s freight charge increases by the amount you spend). You can have your orders shipped weekly, semi-weekly (every other week), or monthly. I personally choose monthly to save a little extra dough.

      Cons to DCBS:
      Have to purchase 2 months in advance.
      You have to pay extra for bags and boards (Each book from Midtown comes with a bag and board at no extra cost)
      The only other Con I can think of is Proximity, although that has been largely resolved. I live in NJ and I get my books the same day that they would come if I ordered from Midtown without expedited shipping.

      So, I still use Midtown for books I may have overlooked or hear good things about after the fact. I try to wait until I have $75.00 worth of books I want to submit an order so I can take advantage or the free shipping.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Do you get charged sales tax through DCBS? If not I might be sold. The only issue is I’m going to have to pay double what I pay right now for 2 months because of the overlap with Midtown since they charge me at the end of the month when my order ships.

    • ClasikRok ClasikRok says:

      Correct, no tax :)

      I went through the same thing when I switched

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Ugh, yeah, I’m going to have to make the switch. NOW….how do I talk my wife into letting me do this……….she won’t be a fan for the double the price for 2 months…….

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      I figured out by going through them it will save me another $17.00 a month. Nice!

  23. I’m not married, yet there’s a $20 allowance every week for comics I’ve placed. I don’t take any plastic with me to the LCS and pay strictly with cash, so if I decide to buy some other book on a whim and it exceeds my limit that’s that. I’ve broken my rule from time to time, but I stick to it for the most part.

    $3.99 is a deterrent for me and that’s why I’m only buying select few Marvel Now titles. The stories I gladly give 3.99 for are Locke & Key, one reason is that each story are put out with 4 -5 month gaps in between. And the other is Rachel Rising because Terry Moore is an independent publisher and I respect him for it.

    Even at $2.99, its still a reason not to over indulge and this has me looking more toward the trades for my reading pleasure.

  24. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    For titles that I don’t really care that much about but have a passing issue in, price matters somewhat. When I’m looking to prune my pull-list, I do take it into account whether a borderline-drop title is $3 or $4 an issue.

    And for titles that I’m just sort of interested in, $3.99 has scared me away from dozens of impulse buys.

    But for titles I really like, price just doesn’t matter.

    I’ve never really understood people who — and I’ve heard this multiple times — say things like “Avengers is my favorite title. I love the Avengers, no matter what. I’d compare my love of the Avengers to religious believers’ love for their deities. I won’t stop talking about Avengers ever and make it known that they are a big part of my personal identity. . . . But the price is going up from $3 an issue to $4? That’s it — I hate Marvel and I’m never buying Avengers again.”

    I guess a lot of this has to do with how many comics people buy. I get about ten titles a month. For those people who buy double that many titles a week, price-point evidently should matter way more to them.

  25. Comics? Dinosaurs? Hmmm…. There may yet be a connection.
    I have to say I started buying Comics at 12 cents cover prices in drugstores. Yeah, you heard me right the first time. 12 PENNIES FOR 32 PAGES.

    So now I am all grown up (wipe that smirk of your face), married to my partner, own a home, have a big dog and 2 cats and 4 vehicles (used/older). I am a professional and while I made a better living before the ‘Recession’, I still do pretty good.

    Where do I draw the line. Well the New 52 is quickly becoming the dwindled down to 4 titles. The Marvel ‘NOW’ initiative is starting out with digital and paper #’1′s (to sign at Cons). All I can say is I resent Marvels double ships. FUCK YOU and shove your no-prize. Oops..did I really say that!

    I see comics pricing themselves right out of existence. It is a sad thing. When I look back there is not tons that I would re-read. And that’s how I make my purchasing decisions… read a title for a while, if I lose interest (or patience in the case of DC telling the same Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Demon Knights, etc… story issue after issue until I don’t care) I toss them. Snyder’s Batman is a rare exception. But more and more I just don’t care.

    I am already getting ‘hooked’ into some of Marvel’s ‘relauch’ (cough, choke, choke… and it ain’t a chicken bone girls). Iron Man… faged’aboud’it. Fantastic Four (not so FANTASTIC), Uncanny Avengers…AWESOME! New X-Men… potential abounds. Thor… great. But can this go on-and-on and at what price. I guess I can always re-mortgage or sell off a toe at a time (what can I get for a kidney? Hmmmm?)

    So there I go… rambling at my rage.

    No answers, no end, credit card bills keep coming…oh yeah, did I mention the cost of groceries, insurance, heating oil, gas, and a good haircut?

    If I buy 3 books, and you buy 3 books, and he and she each buy 3 books, let’s start a swap.

  26. kmob181 kmob181 says:

    My then-girlfriend now fiance knew comics were part of the deal from the get-go and she has been supportive. The only thing she asked was that I stop using drawer boxes and start using bookshelves which I did and quite frankly, like better.

    That being said it wasn’t so much the jump to $3.99 as the jump to $3.99 and a reduction from 22 to 20 pages. Of the two, the latter has bothered me far more. I know some people say what is 2 pages but it’s 9% of the book. 9% gone and a 33% increase in price. That was like saying we’re going to cut your paycheck by 9% but don’t worry we’re going to increase your taxes by 33% to make up for it.

    I am in comics because I love comics and 22 pages or 20 great comics are still great. But I have to be more selective. I have to pass on Hickman’s Avengers because as much as I love Hickman I can’t afford more than one double shipping $3.99 a book per month and Wolverine and the X-Men has that spot. So I just read New Avengers which was the title I was more interested in anyway. So I guess what I’m saying is that while the combination price increase/page reduction has made me a bit bitter it has forced me to be more selective, which is a good thing. I’ve also really come to appreciate the indie books that are still 22 pages, especially BPRD which is 22 pages and $3.50. If every book shipped once a month, with 22 pages and cost $3.50 I would be the happiest man alive.

  27. Skruff Skruff says:

    I consider myself fairly price conscious, particularly now that I’ve gone digital-only. Currently, I only pay the full $3.99 for one comic: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, and only a handful at $2.99 (Batman & Justice League, but that’s only after they’ve been out a month).

    All the rest, if I read them monthly, I wait until they’re $1.99 to pick them up.

    Otherwise, I’ll wait for the nearly inevitable $0.99 sales on Comixology. Sure, I might be a few years behind on big stories, but that doesn’t lessen the value of the stories themselves. I’ve now picked up practically all of the Ed Brubaker run on Captain America, as well as the entire post-OMD Amazing Spider-Man run through Spider-Island (I still feel a little dirty for that, since I’m a staunch supporter of the Peter/MJ marriage), at $0.99 per comic.

    So I’d say I’m spending MORE on comics than I was a few years ago before I made the switch away from paper, but I’m getting a lot more bang for my buck as a result.

  28. sirfox89 says:

    I’m EXTREMELY conscious of the price of my comics. I’m a recent college grad getting ready for grad school and also recently married, so money is definitely tight. I use DCBS for all the books I get in print and wait a month for my digital books to price drop. Of all publishers, Marvel is the one that makes me throw frugality to the wind. I hate their practice of double shipping $3.99 books and refuse to pick up the books that follow that model (with the exception of the X-Men books). I also bite the bullet and pick up the few Marvel digital titles I get at full price, as it takes months for the prices to drop. All in all I usually buy about 20-25 books a month and end up spending about $60 a month.

  29. Switch625 Switch625 says:

    Cost is the main reason I rarely buy comics any more. The value just isn’t there any more. I can remember buying comics for $0.60 at the corner convenience store when I was growing up and I remember it bumping up to $0.75 and then $0.99. As soon as it broke $1 for an issue, I knew the day would come where we’d be buying comics for $4 and $5. Now with digital service, I see no reason for anything to be more than $0.99 because there’s no physical property to hold in your hands. I’ve purchased a few $3.99 downloads and felt like I just didn’t get my money’s worth. Then there’s the fact that i don’t like a lot that’s being produced by any company. I anticipate being out of comics completely within the next year.

  30. Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

    A comic book needs to be rather good indeed for me to shell out $3.99 per issue. I’m far more likely to drop an ongoing @ $3.99 that’s not “delivering” relatively promptly. I have more patience, if you will, with a $2.99 offering. Only 2 of my 20 x DC titles are $3.99. There are at least 2 titles I would add, if they were also offered @ $2.99. There’s at least 2 I’d drop, if they shifted to $3.99. I keep to a rough monthly budget & thank the source that DC don’t ‘double- ship’.

    I have a different attitude with ‘independent’ titles. They’re trading from a different position to the big two. I regard a $3.50 indie as I would a $2.99 from DC. Also, ‘indies’ often print on far, far better paper stock, which actually matters to me.

  31. Being a father of 3 I have to be aware of how much of my monthly income goes to comics. $3.99 is worth in on certain tiltes, and I do not shy away of the book is really good. However this affects my pull list. I budget a certain $ for comics a month and I do not go over that budget. Titles like Batman, TMNT, ans USM have secured their spots on my pull list at $3.99, and I have sacrificed Wolverine and the X-men, ASM, Detective to make sure I do not have to stress over the money I spend. After the Death of The Family arc in Batman I am seriously contemplating giving up singles all together and fousing more on Omnibus formats. I can get an omnibus a month ( online $ ) for the same $ I am spending on singles, and get a hell of a lot more reading material. Its too bad, I love my Wednesday trip to the LCS but the $ don’t lie. My wife and I have had the same conversation about a Visa bill that has shown one too many trips to a comic store. I tend to believe she is right $60-$80 trips to the LCS for singles is way too much.

  32. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Desire warps pricing expectations. I want these comics, and I will have them! I won’t be kept from them!

    If I want the book enough, the price doesn’t matter to me. I will say, however, that the $4 price tag will often be the deciding factor if I’m on the fence about a book. Paying four bucks for something I really want is easy to justify, but paying four bucks for something that MIGHT be good, when I can just wait and find out if it was good later, will prolly put the brakes on a purchase.

  33. Shingen Shingen says:

    It doesn’t bother me to pay 3.99, for multiple reasons.

    1. If I like the comic, if I enjoy it, then 3.99 isn’t too much to pay to get what I want for it. Considering that many magazines are over 5 dollars, and people just throw them away afterwards, having a 3.99 comic with a good story that I can re-sell in the future if I want to recoup part of my costs seems pretty good. Every person has to decide if the content is worth that price – and for me, 3.99 is worth it for the stories I read.

    2. I buy like 35-40 comics a month. Of those, maybe 25 are Marvel titles, and probably 15 are 3.99. That means that, over the course of the month, I am paying 15 bucks more than someone who spends money only on 2.99 comics. For one, the difference between spending $120 on comics a month and $135 doesn’t seem that big, and 15 bucks for the titles I like doesn’t seem to bad. And 15 bucks isn’t THAT much in the scheme of things.

    3. Marvel’s 3.99 titles all come with Digital versions for free. For me, at least, that is worth the 1.00 extra. Hell, I’d pay 3.99 for the current 2.99 titles I buy to get the digital with them, too. Having them instantly to access when I am away from my collection is great.

    4. I think part of this is anti-Marvel silliness. Many of the people who claim anything more than 2.99 will break the bank pay 3.50 for the Manhattan Projects and don’t complain. Many Image titles are over 2.99 and you almost never hear complaints about it.

    5. While the costs have outstripped inflation, generally the art, production values, and quality of materials is much better than it used to be. So I don’t mind paying a little more for that quality.

    • tripleneck tripleneck (@tripleneck) says:

      My problem with Marvel’s 3.99 is that they are often double shipping those titles which is even more money from my overall budget and forces the artists to alternate. I often don’t like the secondary artist or the rushed schedule makes for rushed and second-rate art. I also don’t like the cheap paper that Marvel prints on. Most indies print on vastly superior stock, but even DC’s paper is noticably a few notches better.

  34. TheSquirrel TheSquirrel says:

    I work for an LCS but had to take a look at my comic budget recently. I spend about $84 a month of floppy issue comics plus whatever I happen to find in the store or any trades I want to get. Almost all that $84 is spent on $2.99 books. The only $3.99 books I get are IDW’s TMNT, Ult Spider-Man, Action, and Batman. I was getting GI Combat for the Unknown Soldier story but couldn’t justify 4 dollars for half a book.

    I’ve always voted with my wallet though, and when DC brought out the new 52 primarily at $2.99 I almost left Marvel entirely. Brian Michael Bendis once said in an interview on Word Balloon that readers “don’t vote with their wallets” so he’s not worried about price. I believe if I’m paying an extra dollar the book should be longer and better. With books out there like Saga that are mandated at $2.99 there is little excuse for the big two to be charging $3.99 for 20 page cape and spandex comics.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      “With books out there like Saga that are mandated at $2.99 there is little excuse for the big two to be charging $3.99 for 20 page cape and spandex comics.”

      Do you mean other than the economics of producing a Marvel and DC books vs. producing an Image book being completely different?

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      Yeah, as much as the “if an Image book is $2.99 why isn’t a Marvel book?” line of questioning is appealing, it comes down to the fact that evem though Image and Marvel publish comic books, each company has a radically different way of doing it. Beyond the actual costs of production, Marvel is paying benefits to not only the people in the credits boxes, but many of the unnamed employees working in production, marketing, sales, etc.

      Your average Image books lacks a large amount (if not all) of that overhead.

      That and Vaughan made crazy bank working on Lost (I have ZERO idea if that’s true).

    • OliverTwist OliverTwist says:

      I heard Bendis make that statement as well, and I was scratching my head, because I completely disagreed with him at that moment, based on my experiences.

    • “Do you mean other than the economics of producing a Marvel and DC books vs. producing an Image book being completely different?”

      Completely different yes, But something that is done all the time, Marvel and DC have plenty of books that are 2.99. At that price that books supports the writer, artist, colorist, letter, editors, and publisher, and who ever else is working on the book, and still makes a profit on top of that. So if that is the case, Why would lower selling books be less? and higher selling books be more?

      That answer is Marvel knows that people will pay the extra buck, so they make the books higher priced. Its a way the corporation makes more profit, it has nothing to do with the actual cost of producing the issue.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @tomstewdevine: We’re talking about the difference in the economics of a book like SAGA vs. a Marvel or DC book.

    • “Economies of scale” like in your iTunes TV example, doesn’t seem to be working at Marvel or DC, since the best selling books are the most expensive.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @tomstewdevine: I’m confused. Right here in this discussion we’re not talking about the price differences between Marvel and DC books. We’re talking about the differences in producing a book like SAGA at Image and books at Marvel and DC. Your comments seem better suited elsewhere on this page.

    • Sorry for being confusing. I know we are comparing image against Marvel or DC books, What I’m trying to say is that even though there are differences in producing the comics at Image compared to producing them at Marvel and DC, the higher price at Marvel and DC isn’t justified per the fact that the big 2 can (and do) create books with a lower cover price and still make money on those books.

      I understand why they add an extra dollar to their best selling books, it’s good for the share holders short term profit, It’s just too bad that Marvel or DC can’t look at it the other way and make the best selling titles the least expensive, trying to grow the fan base and get new younger readers to read those books.

    • TheSquirrel TheSquirrel says:

      I like that conor decided what my post was about.
      “costs” for making a book at the big two are irrelevant. We’re talking about billion dollar corporations with comic publishing as a tiny minuscule part of it. Neither DC nor Marvel is having trouble paying its people (or the long list of other things you listed) they’re charging an extra book because as Mr. Bendis put it “comic readers don’t vote with their wallet” and “they cost what they cost”. Saga being $2.99 has nothing to with it being a “cheaper” book to make (a claim that has not in any been substantiated). It has to do with Vaughn saying he wasn’t going to do the book unless it was permanently at $2.99 for its run.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @TheSquirrel: If you think “costs are irrelevant” then you don’t know anything about Marvel and DC. (Or, by extension, business in general, possibly.) And SAGA is indeed a cheaper book to make than any Marvel or DC book because all Image books are made on spec (i.e. for free) and all the money the creators make income from sales. If you work on a Marvel or DC book then you are paid upfront per page. Those are the costs (along with overhead and editorial and other things that don’t come into play for Image books.) The business model that Image uses is so different from the business model that Marvel and DC uses that you pretty much cannot compare them.

    • rwpos rwpos says:

      I don’t work in comics and I don’t publish comics, I just buy them and read them. In most consumer settings the buyer doesn’t give a crap what the producer’s costs are or what their marginal drivers might be. For some strange reason though, when it comes to comics, we act like we should consider these things along with, or as part of, our consumer value equation. If Marvel can’t find a business model that delivers Saga-value to me as a customer I could care less what all the myriad reasons are for that failing. It’s still a failure. I think the original point wasn’t meant as a scholarly study of business models, it was a consumer’s honest visceral reaction to a purchasing decision. If the industry can only survive by having a bulk of its customers be as concerned about business models as the paid executives are, then the industry is screwed. And every buyer is welcome to feel like 3.99 is a bad value, regardless of his/her understanding of the business model, and shouldn’t feel bad about dropping a title regardless of the reasons why it cost “more” to produce. And with that said, when you look at quarterly earnings statements you can see that the Marvel argument for higher price has more to do with profit than it does with actual costs.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @rwpos: I don’t think the consumer necessarily needs to worry about the economics behind what they buy, just whether or not they want to buy something at the price it is offered. But in comics most of the consumers seem to be worried about them, and even more, most seem to think they know why comics cost what they do. And when they engage in false comparisons, it’s important to understand why there are differences in the market in terms of pricing and why one company can do one thing that another cannot.

    • @conor–i think that if you follow comics at a certain level (i.e. listen to podcasts, frequent review sites, follow creators on twitter) you can’t really hide from conversations about financials and talk about “how the hot dogs are made”. Its kinda become part of the fandom wouldn’t you agree?

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @wallythegreenmonster: Well, sure. If you follow comics that deeply it’s hard to avoid mostly because a lot of fans are interested in that aspect of the business, so it comes up a lot.

  35. sitara119 sitara119 says:

    i buy 3.99 books. i get 20-25% off all new books from my shop. i’m a lot tougher on them, though. they have to be near flawless from my point of veiw and i dislike when they double-ship because the art usually suffers. i like monthlies. too much too fast can really ruin a story for me and i like to avoid fill-in artists. however, in some cases, fill-ins work out fine (e.g. Atkins on WW or when Martin would substitute on DD). also, if i’m paying 3.99, then i expect more than 20 pgs.
    there was a time when i bitched more about price, more outa principle than anything else. i’ve accepted that this is an expensive hobby. so i’m just more careful what i choose month in and month out. it must be fucking-outstanding. if i question it, i drop it.

  36. randall4000 randall4000 says:

    I’m looking for a cheaper way to stay involved. I told myself I was going to roll back on some Marvel books when NOW launched, but Thor was so good, I can see I’m going to buy it for awhile. I tried using Marvel’s Subscription service to save some money and it worked great until Midtown Comics recently took it over. Now I get books out of order and some up to 2 months late. Before, I could count on the books coming in order but 2-3 weeks after release. I try to offset some costs by selling comics on ebay 2 or 3 times per year. There’s so much I want to read and it’s too hard to keep up with trades.

    I will say that I think DC online comics are probably one of the greatest values in printed comics. Smallville is 40 pages of main story with no backup for $3.99 per month. Legends of the Dark Knight has been great as well. If Marvel could switch their $3.99 books to 40 pages published once per month, I’d weep tears of joy.

  37. Friday Friday says:

    My problem with the price of comics isn’t that its took much to ask for $2.99 or $3.99 but how out of synch it seems to be with other entertainment mediums. If I want to buy an episode of a TV show off of Amazon or iTunes its probably going to run me $1.99. For that $1.99 I get 40 some minutes of entertainment. The costs in producing that $1.99 product has to be significantly higher than producing the $2/3.99 product. So why am I paying twice as much for it? That’s what I don’t like. That and when Marvel does $3.99 for 20 pages. That just sucks.

    • randall4000 randall4000 says:

      Comics appeal to a much narrower slice of the consuming public. The audience for a popular television show is in the millions while most comics are in the tens of thousands.

    • Friday Friday says:

      You could argue that. But its just a medium for the story. We’ve seen time and time again that the story is viable for consumers and that the problem is in getting them to try the medium. Pricing yourself into a niche market, or pricing as if you’re always going to be there is not the answer.

    • randall4000 randall4000 says:

      True. But, the pricing is a reflection of the costs associated with producing the product. There are fewer people to support the costs of paying a writer and artist, upfront, to create a comic book. 250 million people got see Avengers the movie (and later buy the dvd or rent it at least once) and on a good month maybe 150,000 by Avengers the comic.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      Economies of scale means that it’s cheaper to buy a TV show on iTunes than to buy a comic book.

    • rwpos rwpos says:

      How companies monetize things to make a profit is important to companies and stockholders; how I value an entertainment experience is important to me as a buyer. I don’t care why a producer is offering me something at a given price point, I only care if it looks like a good value to me. In the original comment, I think the poster was just trying to point out that as a consumer he thinks there are better values available for his dollar. If an entertainment industry needs to give its consumers economics lessons to sell its goods, that’s a bad sign for the long-term health of that industry.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @rwpos: The original poster wasn’t merely pointing something out, they were asking a question. A question whose answer is an economic principle.

    • rwpos rwpos says:

      You are of course literally correct. The original post did include the question “So why am I paying twice as much for it?” But it was included in a way that I dismissed as being purely rhetorical since it was immediately followed by a declaration of preference without regard to any possible answer to the question. It was a comparison of the relative value perceived by the poster of two different story telling entertainment mediums, and in the comment expressed a view that the comic book option offered less value. Also, in the context of the question, your response relative to economies of scale doesn’t seem like an accurate reason for the pricing strategy being discussed, since sales volume of digital content isn’t typically cited by publishers as a consideration in the current market for publishing decisions. So we can assume that any revenue generated from digital sales is above and beyond the estimated break even point and profits estimated in setting the base price. Therefore, the publisher could probably afford to offer the digital product at a lower price point, but they choose not to. I suspect the actual motivation has more to do with a perceived need to prop up a failing hard-copy distribution network. The major publishers have a desire to suppress the rate of consumer migration to the digital-only marketplace for fear that it would result in a collapse of the current distribution model, and a net loss of total sales. Consider that Marvel actually pays stores a bonus for each comic redeemed digitally (that’s why the redemption page asks where you bought the comic) and DC has dealers sell copies with included codes at a higher price point and higher profit percentage at the point of sale. Both companies incentivize the hard copy distributor to soften any possible customer loss to digital sales. Marvel also supplements that by sustaining a price match longer, to essentially discourage customers from making the jump to digital-only. Yes, the direct market really is that unhealthy.

  38. Wrkngclasshero (@joinedtofollow) says:

    I have to agree that I think Marvel is a bit over priced. While I don’t know the economics of the big 2 vs the other independent publishers, people are putting out good books for $2.99, including DC. I don’t understand why Marvel does $3.99. It seems to me that if more people spoke with their wallet this would change.

    It’s almost as if complaining on the internet has no affect whatsoever on how Marvel prices their books…

    p.s. Not taking a dig at anybody here. I am clearly guilty of complaining on the internet about Marvel’s prices as much as the next guy.

  39. Paradiddle Paradiddle says:

    I have to be price-conscious with my comics because in addition to being a father of twins I have several other hobbies on which I like to spend my monthly disposable income (clothes and music being the big two right now). Limiting my monthly comics budget to $30 has worked so far, although it invariably means I don’t get to read nearly as many comics as most people on here. I don’t have much time for reading these days, anyway, so it actually works out pretty well.

  40. Alexa D. says:

    I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I make a good salary, reasonable rent and bills, and have no dependents, so I don’t pay nearly as much attention to prices as I did when I was just a student, or that I would if I had a kid or a mortgage. But I probably should.

  41. randall4000 randall4000 says:

    This is total speculation, but, I would also assume that the $3.99 books at Marvel have more overhead as Bendis, Aaron, Fraction, Remender, Gillen, Hickman, et al probably command a larger salary than lesser known creators. On the DC side Johns and Snyder are on the $3.99 books. I’m not saying this is a gold standard for all books but it probably has some effect on pricing. Am I off-base?

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      I think the bigger motivation for DC on their $3.99 books is the books are actually more pages.

    • randall4000 randall4000 says:

      That’s another thing that I’ve wondered about. Why not trim the back up stories in Batman, Justice League and All-Star and drop the price? Assuming 4 issues of backup equals one full issues worth of comics, you could drop the price and the backup story to foot the bill for one issue of main story, more or less.

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @randall4000: BATMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE are DC’s two most popular books. They charge $3.99 for them because they will make more money because they know that most people will still buy the books at that price. I suspect that ALL-STAR WESTERN is priced where it is to ensure its survival.

    • randall4000 randall4000 says:

      @cskilpatrick I’ve wondered about that. JL is the top-selling monthly while All-Star barely breaks 20,000. Both $3.99

    • @Conor: I haven’t ever counted the pages for ASW but it definitely seems like it is worth the $3.99 a month. It takes me a while to read it at least, certainly more than my ever failing Avenging Spider-Man :/

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @randall4000: Right. For two different reasons.

      @mattiebatslayer: ALL-STAR WESTERN runs 40 pages (with ads) vs. AVENGING SPIDER-MAN’s 32 pages (with ads).

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @randall4000: Marvel’s pricing system is strange and largely unknown. The status of the creator doesn’t seem to be the driving factor — Fantastic Four and FF were 2.99 books during Hickman’s run and remain so now that Fraction is taking over (Fraction’s Hawkeye is also $2.99). Gillen’s Iron Man is a $3.99 book, but Young Avengers will be $2.99. Conversely, Uncanny X-Force is a $3.99 book with Remender at the helm, but will remain $3.99 even when it relaunches with up and comer Sam Humphries writing.

      I’d guess they arrive at a price point based on some formula that factors in the popularity of the characters, historical sales of books featuring those characters, and the actual costs of paying that specific creative team.

      And why should DC drop the backups? I don’t read Justice League, but they’ve been great in Batman. Well worth the extra dollar to get 8 pages of Jock drawing Batman.

    • randall4000 randall4000 says:

      @KenOchalek: I’m not suggesting DC should drop the backups in those books because of quality. I’m sure they are great. I will say that if they did drop the backups and the price, I’d come back to Action and JL. I’m probably not the only one that feels that way.

  42. I don’t see myself as very price-conscious about comics at all. If I like a book, I’m gonna buy it. It’s as simple as that but I realize it wouldn’t work for everyone. I make good money, don’t have any rent to pay, have a fiance but not married yet and no kids. So barely any of my money gets spent. On what it does get spent on, is really only food, comics and other forms of entertainment.

    My biggest issue is TIME, not money. between working at least 10 hours a day and then working out and cooking food, I don’t have enough time to read all the comics I already buy. This is why I make sure that what I buy is what I am enjoying the most. I have cut back a huge amount on the books I have been buying but it’s mostly because I have less time to read in general or that the book just doesn’t satisfy enough to justify the time or the dollars involved.

    As for going digital, this is something that I really want to do. I love the idea of the LCS, but it hasn’t panned out to the fantasy I have in my head and I don’t think that it ever will. BUT, I will still go there because I fucking refuse to pay $3.99 for Avenging Spider-man, Thor or Wolverine & the X-Men and not have it in physical form.

    I also realize that when I do buy things digitally, I tend to just blow through reading them where as the floppies require more time. Not sure why that is though :/

    • >$3.99
      All-Star Western w/ Backup
      Amazing Spider-Men
      Avenging Spider-Man (dropping soon)
      Batman w/ Backup
      Joe Kubert Presents ($4.99 but TOTALLY worth it)
      Thor
      Ultimate Spider-man
      Uncanny Avengers
      Wolverine & the X-Men

      >$3.99
      Animal Man
      Aquaman
      Batman & Robin
      Batman Inc.
      Daredevil
      Deadpool (starting)
      Fantastic Four (starting)
      Happy
      Manhattan Projects
      New Mutants (ended)
      Punisher (ended)
      Revival
      Saga
      Scarlet Spider
      Swamp Thing
      The Massive
      The Shade

      So, while I probably forgot a few series and some have just ended/started, this is roughly how I have been buying the last few months or so. It tallies like this

      $3.99: 9
      >$3.99: 17

      Almost double the mount of the higher priced books. I know that there are a bunch of Marvel books that I would like to get into, but the $3.99 isn’t a fun price for only 20 pages of story when I am getting backups from issues at DC. Even though I’m not super price-conscious, I know that I am less likely to try something that is $3.99 unless I am positive that it’s awesome.

  43. Will Magnus Will Magnus says:

    In this day and age, there is no reason to buy your comics/trades at full price. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for my LCS.

    I buy my ‘core monthly reading list’ (about 8-10 titles and trimming all the time) from a discount comic reseller and have them delivered twice a month and I buy my trades online at a discount (Amazon, In-Stock Trades, etc…).
    I will occasionally stop by my LCS to grab a single issue I missed or heard good buzz about, but will quickly add that new title to my core reading list if I enjoyed it.

    I’ve been reading comics since I was 5, but I do see a day where my comic experience will revolve around collections and trades only. Single issues are too short and too expensive for what you get in my opinion (I actually read “Where is Jake Ellis” during an Arrow (DVR) commercial break ).

  44. MadCowDzz MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

    I’m surprised at how many people here don’t pay attention to the prices, or don’t care. I always put price point first when picking up a new title. I am definitely critical of my monthly comic budget. I’d love to try many of the new Marvel NOW titles, but their $3.99 double-shipping prices have scared me off. I tried many of the new 52 before settling on a core list of titles I could enjoy.

    I’m also very jealous as many of your LCS’s seem to offer discounts on new titles. All of mine are full price with no exception.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      Do you have a regular pull list? A lot of shops do that as an incentive for weekly customers, at least on the books that you pre-order. If your shop doesn’t do that, maybe online is the way to go.

    • MadCowDzz MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

      I do have a regular pull list and they don’t offer any discount. I’m not sure if other shops in my area do or not, but I’m at the biggest/most-popular place in town.

      Without buzz-marketing, what are some reputable online shops that ship internationally? (I’m Canadian)
      [Perhaps an iFanboy article could discuss this?]

  45. Does anybody know if these titles from Marvel are double shipping every month or just a couple months?

    • player1 player1 says:

      Some titles will continue to double-ship.

      I believe Avengers is scheduled to be twice-a-month.

      I would think Superior Spider-Man will continue the shipping schedule for Amazing Spider-Man, which is now twice-a-month, down from when it used to ship three times per month.

      Most of the other books will settle into a “monthly” schedule, once the initial phase of flooding the market is over.

      However be warned that Marvel’s “monthly” schedule still means about 18 issues are shipped per year for certain titles, especially popular ones on a pre-planned or especially serendipitous artist rotation.

      Look at when Uncanny X-Force or Wolverine and the X-Men started and divide the number of issues by number of months, as an example of “standard” policy. I think both have shipped close to 18 issues in around a year, during their first year. WatXM #1 was released October 26th, 2011. WatXM #18 was released October 10th, 2012, less than one year later. UXF #1 was released October 6th, 2010. #34 just came out this week. That’s 16 or 17 issues a year.

      That’s a “monthly” title, at $3.99. They don’t always double-ship, but they at least ship-and-a-half.

      8)

  46. iSteve iSteve says:

    I’ve been back into comics as an adult since 2004. Comic collecting is really one of my only vices/hobbies. But I am really more of a reader than a collector now. When I first got back into comics, I would buy comics that I might not read, but that might be collectible one day. Now I only buy comics that I will read – future worth be damned. There was a time when I would spend $100-120 each week on comics. Now it’s more like $50-60. Part of the reason for that drop was my purchase of my iPad and both DC and Marvel going on Comixology. I made a decision that with DC’s relaunch, I would wait a month and buy my DC books for $1.99 digitally. I also buy quite a few other publishers that way too – Image, IDW, Dynamite, etc. I buy my Marvel books at my comic book store at a 10% discount. On average, I buy more digital comics than physical ones now.

    Though I appreciate Marvels $.99 sales on Comixology from time to time, I am still bothered that Marvel doesn’t discount older digital titles after a month. There is no good reason that I should be paying $3.99 for a digital comic book. I strongly believe that Marvel needs to rethink it’s digital marketing plan with a lower price in the offing.

    So I still spend a good deal on comics, but I have become a smarter buyer.

  47. aurgail aurgail (@aurelgaillard) says:

    I’ve finally realized I was spending way too much money on trades and had a tiny appartment to boot, so I decided to go digital. I get back issues in the $0.99 sales or as bundles, and I wait for the price drop on everything else. $1.99 seems to be the cut-off price. For example, I’d love to read Archer and Armstrong, but when the time comes to click on that BUY button, I can’t bring myself to spend 2.99 on just one book while Manhattan Projects, Stumptown or Wander are waiting for me, cheaper and phenomenal. And I have yet to buy one Marvel book digitally, because 3.99 twice a month for not even owning a book is just insane. Trades used to be cheaper, but are now even more expensive than the issues (for example, the next X-Factor trade is $16.99 for 4 issues. Uncanny Avengers is supposed to be $25 for 4 issues also. This is insane!) and they come out all the time with double-shipping. I’m keeping up with Marvel trades until the end of the stories, but Marvel Now is going to be a huge jumping-off point for me, even though there’s no shortage of books I’d love to read. At this point not buying Bendis’s X-Men means I can buy 8 Image books! I think I’ll just wait for big online sales from now on. I’m sure as a Marvel Zombie, I’ll have my moments of weakness and end up buying way more crazy-expensive comics than I should, but Marvel is pricing and double-shipping me out of reading their books, and Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Oni, Monkeybrain and DC are the winners. Oh, and Hawkeye ($2.99, I buy the paper version).

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Yeah, Hawkeye and Daredevil are both great $2.99 books.

    • You pretty much summed up the entire reason my Marvel subscription list went from 8 books down to 1 with marvel now. I was hoping to just transition to trade waiting but not only have the Marvel prices gone up on trades the quality has gone considerably down. Thank god Barnes and Nobel had a buy 2 DC titles get 1 free special last month or I’d probably have zero comics to read next year (who am I kidding I’ll have read the 40ish I bought before the years out)

    • player1 player1 says:

      daningotham says: Yeah, Hawkeye and Daredevil are both great $2.99 books.

      This is true. Both are excellent, and largely standalone. I wish there were more like these.

  48. kennyg kennyg says:

    I generally try to stick to $2.99 books, especially when it comes to trying something new and unknown. I might go $3.50, but for $3.99 it better be fantastic, or more than 22 pages.

    I don’t know how many comics I buy monthly. I don’t want to know. I think it would be upsetting. I buy enough to get a 15% discount, which means I am subscribed to enough books to get that. If I get out the door for under $30.00 on a given week, I feel like I did OK. But if it’s over $40 (or God forbid $50 unless I picked up a trade too), I feel like I kicked a puppy.

  49. Grandturk says:

    I try to limit my monthly DCBS order to the $75 range – plus or minus $15.

    I forgot what the question was…

  50. My wife and I just had a baby and that means that money will be tight for approximately the next 20-25 years. As a result I have drastically reduced my pull list to just the books that I’m most interested in reading, which usually ends up being just one or two books a week. Because these books are literally the ones I cannot give up reading (Manhattan Projects, Saga, Batman, Frankenstein, Punk Rock Jesus, WATXM, Daredevil plus one or two that escape my mind right now) I don’t really think about the price. I’d rather buy the seven books a month I don’t want to give up reading than buy 12 books a month that I kind of like just because of the price point.

    I do still pull all the books I want every week on iFanboy even though I won’t get them that week, I have this crazy plan to go back and buy them all once I win Powerball.

    • Paradiddle Paradiddle says:

      Yep, I’ve had the exact same experience since our twins were born 2 years ago. With only about 6-7 books on my pull list (Invincible, Unwritten, The Massive, Batman, Saga, Uncanny Avengers, and Hellboy when it comes out), it’s much more about quality than quantity these days. Congrats on your new baby!

  51. cubsmodano cubsmodano says:

    My wife and I probably drop between $20-60 a week on comics, usually only looking at the prices on trade paperbacks or collected editions/memorabilia. However, once a book starts double shipping we usually just drop it outright because of how many other books we’ve noticed that have dropped in quality because of Marvel’s stupid, stupid policy.

  52. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    I’m starting to pay attention to it more, especially during weeks where I have a big pull list – which for me seems like every week these days. (I still consider 9 comics in a week a big pull list for myself). Sometimes an Annual will be $7.99 or something and I’ve been a lot more frugal regarding those. For example, a couple weeks ago I didn’t pick up the Ghostbusters Annual that was 7.99 because I already had a big stack of books and didn’t think I had the room for that one in the budget.
    I spend a ton of money on comics though. Like you, it’s my biggest entertainment source, more so than movies or video games, I don’t even have a cable tv subscription. Hopefully the Mrs. will understand your situation. That you are a comic book journalist, that its your favorite hobby, and that $34 bucks a week isn’t the end of the world to support that hobby.

  53. undertak1983 undertak1983 says:

    I generally spend $30 a week ($120 month).
    I used to get 15% off with a subscription but now I get 35% percent off when ordering through previews at 3 months in advance.
    This really helps me try out new books that I wouldn’t otherwise try. That’s makes a $3.99 title turn into a $2.59 title, saving me $1.40.

    I’m really not a fan of Marvel’s $3.99 books shipping twice a month.
    I’m trying out a lot of the Marvel NOW comics but I expect to drop some if they aren’t a good read.

    Mini-series come and go. Marvel sometimes ships twice in a month and once in the next month so my overall spending fluctuates a lot. As long as I’m spending below $130/month, I’m golden.
    Once a run or mini-series has been completed, I generally sell them on ebay.
    I’m about to put up the complete run of House of Mystery on ebay.

  54. brianmaru brianmaru says:

    My price is the current one. I don’t mind a few books at $3, or even the occasional one at $4. The majority is out of my price range because I literally cant afford them

  55. stasisbal stasisbal says:

    I’m fortunate in that I don’t need to budget my comic spending. I probably spend, on average, a little under $100 a month on single issues. If I had less income and/or a family I could see a tight budget being in order.

    If anything I budget the amount of titles I buy based on time rather than price. I have other interests and I can only read so many floppies. Plus I tend to get less interested in comics as a whole if I constantly have large stacks of them to catch up on. I get more out of the ones I love if I read less. So I’m often trying to cut back for that reason.

    On $2.99 vs. $3.99, I’ve come to not care much at all. All things being equal I’d rather pay less for any given comic (or anything else in the world). I’ll probably drop a book I’m not digging quicker if it’s $3.99 and double shipping. But if I truly enjoy a series $3.99 is worth it. I’d rather read a $3.99 book that I love than a $2.99 book I like.

  56. I subscribe to all my comics and redeem the digital code (its the only reasonable way to pay for over priced digital comics).

    I still can’t fathom how the comic industry thinks its going to last more than another 10 years when it costs $3.99 for a 20 page story. I can buy a 200+ page manga for $4.99!

  57. ScottE ScottE says:

    Would it be possible for some of the companies to team together and make an app like Netflix or spotify where you would pay 10$ a month and then be able to read from a library of older comics on your tablet? Marvel has something like this but it sucks on tablets.

    • cosmo cosmo says:

      That’s a pretty good idea — I would actually try reading digitally in order to take advantage of it . . . (That comment’s no judgement call on digital books by the way; my taste is for physical things, that’s all)

  58. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    I have a monthly pull list of about 30 books. With a few double-shipped books, and a late book every now and then, that’s about 20-30 bucks every two weeks, 60-70 bucks a month. That’s as high as I’m willing to go. I rate my books from 1-5, and any book that’s been lower than a 3 for three months in a row gets cut. Simple as that. Coincidentally, the three Marvel Now! books I’m trying out are debuting around the same time some of my current titles are coming to an end (Morrison on Action, Uncanny X-Force, Hellblazer *sob*) so in a few months that’ll balance itself out. Read only what you truly love, and you’ll find it’s a lot easier to curb your spending.

  59. For me, it’s not about $2.99 or $3.99, etc…..it’s about the number of titles I’m collecting. For a while; when I first dove back into comics in 2003, I was collecting upwards of $100 a month. Over the years I began scaling back by title, not by price. The New 52 actually helped in that regard, in that I could justify letting go of titles I collected only because of my “completist” mindset.

    Now I collect 10-12 character titles a month, and maybe a couple mini-’s or try out a couple new titles here or there. I get all the titles I really like (though sometimes it’s torture to find a title to drop to stay within my allotted allowance), and almost never spend more than $50 a month….so individual issue prices don’t matter. In fact, I couldn’t tell you what the cover price is to most of them without looking.

  60. Master-Futon Master-Futon says:

    It’s not that big a deal to me. My pull list is spaced throughout the month so I only get 3-4 books each week with one week where only 1 book comes out (assuming no delays). The week where I only have 1 book is usually when I try new books or pickup trades. The only time I’m really price conscious is for trades and limited edition books, since then the price jumps around a lot and I don’t want to go over budget (which can be really easy since I’ sucker for full-sized art books) . I think for all the complaining, comics is still one of the cheaper entertainment mediums. Songs average a dollar but most are only 1:30-3 minutes long. Movies/dvds range from $20-$30 new. Videogames are $60. Unless you’re a completionist who needs to have every title every week, it’s pretty hard to be spending more on comics than you would on pretty much anything else. Heck even necessities like groceries are more expensive.

  61. glcfarmboy says:

    I do buy a good few $3.99 books, but they would definitely be the first to go if I had to cut my pull list down. I feel that $3.99 for a DC book with 30 pages of story content is a pretty fair deal, whereas paying $3.99 for a Marvel book with only 20 pages of story is a bit of a raw deal. Having said that there are some Marvel titles at the higher price point that are very good.
    I haven’t bought a Bendis written book since the majority of his titles increased their price for the simple reason that I feel he is not a writer who can deliver a satisfying read in 20 pages. His de-compressed style of storytelling just doesn’t cut it for me at four bucks a pop. Jason Aaron and Scott Snyder, however (to name just two), seem to be consciously making an extra effort to give readers a denser, more satisfying read for their money. I think I got as much story out of the first issue of Thor: God of Thunder as I probably will out of the first three of All New X-Men (which I’m about to give a try, mainly due to Immonen’s art and the great Skottie Young variant cover which I managed to snag at cover price).
    I guess what it comes down to at the end of the day is, whatever the price point, do I consider a book good value for money? Batman at $3.99? Yes. A Bendis Avengers book? I don’t think so. Would the $3.99 price tag deter me from trying a new title I thought had a great creative team or a lot of story potential? Absolutely not.

  62. scottie67 scottie67 says:

    I have no real problem with the $2.99 or $3.99 cover prices (although I wish they were all $2.99 or less). I live in Canada and I remember when all comics (1990′s & 2000′s) had the US price and the Canadian price on the cover. I’m looking at Starman No.1 right now (issue date November 1994) it states $1.95 US and $2.75 Canada. Spider-man #26 (issue date September 1992) it states $3.50 US and $4.25 Canada. There is no real price change for me at all (it is up a bit).
    Back then I bought the comics because I loved to read them, same as today. I budget what I can buy and how much. I currently read about 15 titles a month. Let’s say an average cost of $3.50 per title that’s roughly $53 a month.

  63. I get DC and a handful of Image titles monthly and typical tradewait for Marvel. I decided I would rather be immersed in one universe totally rather than half way with many. I get a lot of the trades from the library which is a huge money saver.

  64. 3.99 for 20 pages of story and art is too much. And that is what marvel has been giving us. Then again, I had no problem with the price jump of Prophet because there are more pages and it’s worth paying more to keep the series around.

  65. TA TA says:

    I’m slashing several comics to fit my personal budget.

    Most 3.99 books or series with spin-offs (I feel like I have to read them all) will be cut.

    I’m using Marvel NOW! as a jumping off point; I want to wait and see what’s good and also look into other books.

    My goal is to spend less and read what I really enjoy.

    • player1 player1 says:

      Marvel NOW! represents a jumping-off point for me too.

      I went almost all subscription. And dropped from twenty titles down to around 14.

      All but three are by subscription. I hit the store once a month. No pull box, no discount.

      Or the back issue a sale once a year, like I used to.

      That’s down from a high of around 40 titles, a couple years ago.

      I hope to have it under ten by the end of 2013, all by subscription.

      I love the public library.

      I may stop buying comics altogether very soon.

  66. Tachyon217 says:

    I’m pretty price conscious. I have a budget. I do regularly drop titles, so that I’m only getting what I really want and enjoy (i.e., The Massive, Green Lantern, etc.), rather than spending money consistently on stuff that’s underwhelming (i.e., Fury of Firestorm, Stormwatch, etc.).

    I do get some $3.99 Marvel comics, but I get most of them via subscriptions from Marvel. I decided that I couldn’t buy them in the store with all of the double shipping that Marvel does. I do get a 10% discount at my LCS, but its not enough of an incentive to buy that stuff from a store. So most of what I get at my LCS is priced at $3.50 and under with no double shipping. Recently I’ve moved 1/2 of my pull list to another LCS where I can get 35% most titles if I pre-pay. This has helped me to save money, while maintaining my normal levels of consumption. So between my main LCS my second LCS I’m spending around $55-$60 a month.

  67. hanson724 hanson724 says:

    I spend about $100 A month on books. I try to stay away from the 3.99 books but if they’re good like the Valiant titles I don’t mind paying the higher price. Double shipping is what kills it for me. I don’t buy any of those.

  68. Goldenboy says:

    I stopped buying comics back in 2007 for price and storage reasons. I still love comics but now get them from my local library. With the ability to get comics from any library in the county and even the state, it is easy to follow story lines, even though it keeps me about 6 months behind in most cases. If I went back it would be for digital, but $2.99 is a hard pill to swallow.

    • player1 player1 says:

      I agree.

      I read the trade when the HC hits the library, or a couple years later.

      There are so many books out now, there’s no way a person could be day-and-date on everything.

      Might as well surf the best stuff at the cheapest price, with a minor delay on being “current” or “spoiled”.

      I really don’t care that much to spend that much.

      I’m not that current on a lot of things, and all are potential spoilers.

      I like to sit down for a nice chunk of free-ish Spider-Man, by the arc.

  69. cosmo cosmo says:

    I keep a (mostly) strict budget of $20 a week. If my total adds up to more than twenty something goes back on the shelf for another week. (It’s actually a great way of determining how much you truly care about reading a series. I have dropped several titles because I found myself perpetually putting off buying it for something else). Now, obviously the more $2.99 books I have in my stack, the more different titles I’ll be able to sample, and this, for me, is the core of what annoys me about Marvel. If they knocked Daredevil up to$3.99 I would keep buying it, but it would make me less able to try a new series. I’m curious to see what Gillan’s doing with Iron Man, but passed on it — $8 a month is a pretty big commitment for me. The higher Marvel price point & double shipping aren’t automatic deal breakers for me, they simply make it less likely I’ll check something out. . . .

    So, yeah, I appreciate very much that DC is still holding that line at 2.99. Don’t mind the extra dollar for Batman, as I am not only getting extra content, but back-ups that tie into the main story.

    As for independents, I completely understand that they have different economic models, and do not mind paying $3.99 for an issue, if it’s as good as Fatale or the Valiant books I’ve been reading . . .

  70. sackoshyte sackoshyte says:

    I quit buying all DC comics when they went up to 3.99. When the price went back down I never got back on any of them (including American Vampire). I said I would buy them in trade from now on but that never happened either. Like a worthless drug, once I found out what I was missing, I realized I wasn’t missing that much at all.

  71. jschweigert jschweigert says:

    “Of course, now Marvel’s got this plan where, instead of trying to sell fifty different books, they just find out which ten you like and publish those four times a week.”

    This drives me crazy. Especially when they put out issues with subpar art like the last Wolverine and the X-men. They make it impossible to budget, and I buy less Marvel books because I can’t predict what they will actually cost.

  72. I’m used to the $3.99 price since that’s what the prices have hovered at since coming back to comics. So that price doesn’t bug me as much as it probably should. But if it does go higher then that, say $4.50 or $4.99, then I gotta admit I will probably just stop buying comics. I can’t afford comics when they’re five bucks or more. Not sure why four dollars a comic is alright but for some reason it is for me.

  73. paulc51 says:

    I started reading comics just before it jumped from 75 cents to $1 in the late 80s. When I got back into comics a couple years ago after about 20 years out of it, I jumped into it with the same zest. This included embracing the main thing I loved about it–storing, alphabetizing, and cataloguing.

    Pretty quickly, the thirty something me had to quash some ideas the eleven year old ‘inner child’ was harboring:
    1.) You live in a one-bedroom apartment now with a wife–you have no space to store hundreds of comics.
    2.) Those aren’t comics…those are ‘floppies’ (this new, strange, and earth-shattering word quickly entered my vocabulary). Floppies have no value. (sigh). Say it again…internalize it—-take it down like medicine—those things are like the Time magazine you throw away.
    3.) Trade paperbacks are physical products that have value (these were but a blip on the radar when I stopped reading comics around 1995). They can be bought and sold online, and you will inevitably have some that you will want to sell, and that can be sold to feed the future habit (just like trading your Pearl Jam cds for that Jawbreaker 12′.’–there will be some that you will outgrow and that will make you cringe to keep on your shelf). Comi–er-’floppies’ are almost always worthless (sigh). No one will want them and you probably won’t read them again.
    4.) Your wife has an ipad. Use it.

    So, here’s what I do (and though I’m not as focused on money, it does help recoup value)–I buy trades of series that I will want to read again, like ‘Scalped,’ ‘Y the Last Man,’ etc.–titles that I’ve heard great things about, and wait a month to buy the digital monthlies (like Batman, Flash, other DC titltes), which save me a dollar. I buy the Marvel titles prior to the price drop back (I’m about twenty issues back on ASM) and I occasionally take advantage of 99 cent sales.

    When I go to my local shop (I’ve never been a Wednesday guy, so that helps) to buy my trades, I flip through the (ahem)…floppies, and I tell myself that they are not worth it. And then I try to remember what the hell Ron, Conor, and Josh were talking about a few weeks or months earlier so I can buy the right trades!

    By the way, I hope Marvel is reading this message board–I can’t think of a better impetus to change their pricing policies, especially for the digital price drop.

  74. theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

    I gravitate to good 2.99 books, and loathe Marvel’s 3.99 double ship (double artist…boo!). I will gladly pay 3.50 or 3.99 a month for a good book, but $8 rocks my budget. With 2 kids, a mortgage, and a car payment I shoot for $40, but allow close to $60 a month if I want to try some books out or pick up a trade, so the double ship basically kills another book for me. The double ship is a scam that Marvel has forced on us and we do need to “vote with our wallets” or we will continue to see our favorite books with varying quality getting shipped twice a month. I have stopped collecting good titles for this exact reason.

  75. icn1983 icn1983 says:

    Honestly, I have boxes and boxes of issues I don’t read and will probably soon begin the tedious process of selling/donating to good-will. Trades and digital are definitely the way to go. I understand that doesn’t help the creators and the books I like now…but that’s not my problem. The fact of the matter is that “floppies” are 32 pages or less yet are approaching the cost of a 300 page paperback novel and is now the same price as a number of monthly periodical magazines with a much higher page count and production quality. A trade at least feels a bit more reasonable because of the back matter (sketches, interviews, scripts, etc.) and also because it contains a complete story from start to finish.

    • Grandturk says:

      Agreed. Monthly floppies have a lot to do with what is wrong with the industry – including why no one can attract new readers.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      The cover price on paperback novels is closer to $7.99 these days. Which doesn’t negate the rest of the point, but that’s not a totally fair comparison.

    • Grandturk says:

      Depending on how fast you read, the comparison is even worse – it can take me 2-3 hours to read through a $75 monthly stack of comics. I’m a strong reader, but an average novel will take many many times longer than that for me to read.

      I’m on like page 200 of Moby Dick and they haven’t even found the whale yet!

    • But some special 100 page or so books, like the recent Ghosts anthology, were $7.99…and nowhere near as engrossing as a paperback.

    • Grandturk says:

      I tend to make the comics-to-movies comparison more often. A movie costs you $15-$30 for 1.5-2.5 hours of entertainment. About the same as a stack of comics.

  76. I have 2 close friends I talk comics with. Out of the 3 of us, I am the only one still buying monthly. They pirate…everything. I can’t say as I blame them, what with their respective jobs being threatened with layoffs every few months, and the utter lack of storage space either has.

    Reading through this thread, I have not seen the word pirate once, and I know some people are doing it. It’s the elephant in the room with $3.99 books, and no one wants to talk about it. I can totally understand why it happens, too. There are many days where I will read through my entire 8-10 book pull list in an hour. I don’t particularly speed read either.

    • Grandturk says:

      It’s still theft whether you’re “threatened with layoffs” or not. If you can’t afford something, that doesn’t give you an entitlement to steal.

  77. JasonB35 JasonB35 says:

    I can afford to spend more on comics than I do but I still have the mindset of voting with my wallet. I am not paying 3.99 for a single issue. I’m not paying 2.99 for a single issue if I can help it. I wait for the dollar price drop. If a company doesn’t offer a title for 1.99 or less I don’t buy it. I used to wait for trades but now that there are reasonably economical options for single issues in a digital format and that is how I buy most of my comics. I used to be a hardcore Marvel person, but the way they do their pricing compared to DC, Image and others has caused me to move more in the direction of giving my business to these other companies. I hope DC does not continue to move in this 3.99 direction.

    I don’t buy Marvel comics until they drop them to 1.99 or less. I also use their digital unlimited service. It doesn’t work with my tablet but I don’t mind reading some comics on my desktop or laptop considering the price. I am not hung up on “owning” comics anymore. The Marvel site has probably saved me 100′s of dollars on trades that I would have bought. On the one hand I think the 3.99 price is ridiculous, but I do think they are doing something right with the unlimited option. If it was actually compatible with my IPad it would be even more valuable to me.

  78. harwellpkg harwellpkg says:

    The price is definitely a factor, I’m less likely to try a $3.99 book and it is much easier to drop a $3.99 book. A $2.99 priced book gets a lot longer look at and I’m much more forgiving with it.

  79. its pretty unique to comics that its consumers are treated like fans (sometimes addicts) first and customers a distant second. Things like business models, distribution, sales numbers, understanding overhead and printing costs and even the livelihoods and personal financial woes of individual creators and publishers is as much a part of comics as is enjoying the books. We don’t “buy” books, we “support” them which i think is a very unique distinction. Perhaps its the accessibility on social media but the lines are blurred maybe even to its own detriment unlike any other creative industry.

    It seems a lot of us in this thread are voice similar concerns that we’re getting priced out or at least squeezed. There is opportunity for publishers to treat things like a more competitive business and explore some other models so they can adapt to the times. Rising prices and double shipping will only work for so long. Whether its more competitive pricing, or Netflix style digital subscription models or whatever else, i think its time to take some chances and experiment with 21st century ideas before all of the customers move on.

    • Grandturk says:

      As a hobby – you can do more expensive damage. Watches, guitars, RC racing. Comics is relatively cheap in comparison. What is no longer has is resale value. I can buy a $2K guitar and easily sell it for 50%-75% years later after using it every day.

      I buy comics. I read comics. I throw/give/donate away comics.

      I do agree with your Netflix/21st century model – it is time. It needs to be done. Everyone remember how much CD’s were towards the end? $17.99, $18.99, etc. Music priced itself into digital distribution.

    • There are A LOT of hobbies that have absolutely no return on investment besides personal enjoyment which is more than fine. The thing that i keep coming back to is that publishers and creators are *allowed* to complain about sales and numbers and financials and sometimes even blame us for all of their problems, but we, the customers and fans aren’t really allowed to complain about price points. We’re supposed to grin and bear it, and keep up the support no matter what. The relationship seems slightly entitled at times and isn’t really that sustainable.

      I think publishers think customer loyalty only goes so far as product offerings, but not necessarily helping us out when it comes to pricing and offering value for the dollar which is kinda flawed.

    • Grandturk says:

      I don’t think we as consumers HAVE to do anything. If you don’t like it – don’t buy it. I haven’t bought a DC comic in years simply because I can’t get my head around their continuity. They might have had me with the New 52 but I had been burned so bad by that time I elected to not buy anything from DC – except Scalped in my preferred medium – trade.

      Ultimately the power of the consumer is to vote with their wallet. You don’t have to buy comics you don’t like. These are smart people out there – they will figure out how to sell it – make it cheaper or make it better.

      If you allow publishers to treat you like an addict – that is, the product has become a necessity rather than a luxury – then you have no other recourse but to grin and bear it and make those hard decisions.

      Now you also keep bringing up this “support” word. I could not disagree with this more. I’m not a street team member. I’m not a little-known-comic-”creator” evangelist. That’s not my job. I’m a consumer and its the publisher’s responsibility to their shareholders to make a product that I want to buy.

      As it turns out… all it takes is to put Deadpool in the book and I’m in. lol

    • i think we agree but you kinda missed my side of things, I’m talking about how comics customers are treated in general by the industry. The word *support* is used A LOT in comics marketing and by creators. Its a kindler, gentler way of engaging a customer, but it also turns it a bit grass-rootsy and changes the customer/manufacturer relationship. I don’t know if its good or bad, but its just something i’ve noticed how comics are marketed and sold. I agree its a product that you buy, its not a charity or movement that needs support, but i think there is a blurring of lines at times.

      As far as pricing, i was talking about how any fan griping about price always gets dismissed with a laundry list of production costs and quarterly sales data and so on. Less of a focus on adding value and rewarding loyalty and more on passing on costs to end user.

    • Grandturk says:

      I got you. There’s two sides to “support.” One is the consumer “supporting” the product and the other is the publisher engaging the consumer to “support” the product. You’re right – the publisher can’t tell you to “support” them if they’re milking you like cows. It has got to be give and take.

      Supporting anything is tough because ultimately – and this is pretty cynical – you’re really just being used. Whether you’re supporting a band, a team, a politician or a non-profit. It all boils down to getting something from you. So I tend not to ever think of myself as a “supporter.”

  80. Dr.Casanova says:

    I’m only buying comics regularily now because i can afford them. And even then it’s relegated to 3 titles a month. Before then i only read what i could from the library or whatever arcs i could piece together from the comics bin of my used book store. In highschool the only comics i ever bought were jonah hex and hellboy one shots because i could afford them once in a long while and they were a complete story in each issue. The first series i ever followed completely was the blackest night event because i only needed to pick up the main book. So yes, price is a big deal for me. It’s why i dropped justice league because of the price and lack of quality. Heck i picked up wonder woman instead because i felt it was the better bargain (quality and price wise) and i stand by that. I love comics with all my heart and will continue to support it until otherwise. But in the end, if dc starts charging me more, i may not be able to keep up with them anymore. And that makes me very sad.

  81. Scarface Scarface says:

    I think all 20-page Marvel/DC books should be $2.99. If there are more pages like Snyder’s Batman with back-ups then it justifies the $3.99 price. I think for any independent book it should be $3.99. I hardly read any Marvel/DC anymore (Aaron’s PunisherMax run was the last Marvel book I bought), and almost everything I read is independent. It drives me nuts when there are great Image books that are struggling to find an audience and end up being cancelled because they are holding onto this $2.99 price point. If it means the books come out on time, they don’t need to fear cancellation and the creators get paid I’m all for every Image book being $3.99. I don’t get why Image books with less than a quarter of the print run of Marvel/DC books think they are competing by being priced at $2.99. I don’t care about the extra dollar, as long as I get a great book on time. All IDW, Dynamite, Avatar, Valiant and quite a few others already charge $3.99 and it hasn’t stopped me from buying them.

    The Valiant re-launch has produced some of the best books on the shelves (X-O Manowar & Harbinger) and they are $3.99.

    • theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

      I agree with you. Give me a consistent, quality comic (only once a month please) and I will pay 3.99. I didn’t even notice the dollar jump on Prophet because I really liked the book, and while the 3.99 for Valiant did deter me from sampling all of their books, once I picked them up, it made no difference. If it helps these quality books stay alive for my future enjoyment, all the better.

  82. Toshimoko29 Toshimoko29 says:

    Hopefully comics make the move to anthology books. I can easily justify spending $7 on a non-comic magazine that I will be reading for hours. A $4 comic that takes me 10-15 minutes to read is pretty laughable.

  83. CrimsonBlur CrimsonBlur says:

    I’m only 16… but I can’t help but be a little jealous of the guys who could get comics for 25 cents. 3 or 4 bucks for one comic? IT SUCKS!

  84. mguy77 mguy77 says:

    I was trying 15 books many of them post new 52 DC however now I am down to 8 books — 6 from DC & 2 from Image (Saga & Fatale). I am buying trades & HCs more often now while sticking to a budget. The $3.99 mess from Marvel killed my interest in that company until I saw the new creative team on Wolverine, dang them. So it will be 9 books in a few months.

    Matthew

  85. MegaPhilip MegaPhilip says:

    Price absolutely matters to me, especially when I’m considering picking up a new book. I picked up Thor this week based on the creative team and rave reviews it’s been getting but it is pretty rare that I pull a new $3.99 book. I do read Batman (which has a backup story with a GREAT line up of artists thus far), Prophet (mostly to help support it in issues so it continues), Hardman’s Planet of the Apes (which I’m considering go back to trade only as the artist is not my favorite), and Daredevil: End of Days (which I’ve been waiting ages for). I obviously don’t mind paying for entertainment but if a monthly book is gonna get my $4 when I could wait for a trade or digital discount, it has to be pretty amazing.

  86. OwlyFan says:

    Since I got back into comics around the Civil War era, all my purchases have been either in trade form or subscription form. I currently get practically every DC title available for subscription through their site. Some come earlier than release date, some a few days after, and some a week or two after, but overall I have no complaints. It’s much easier to just walk to my mailbox as opposed to driving to the store, finding they don’t have the issue, driving to another store, etc.

  87. Mark_S says:

    The price keeps me from buying a lot of comics until I can fish them out of the discount bins in a year or two or three. Especially marvel which tends to be more oriented toward big events than actual stories. I know I’ll be able to pick up all of AvX for about five dollars if I wait a while and frankly I don’t think it’s worth that much. More hype often equals less story.
    What the price does it push me to consider more indy titles because those will be harder to find later on. I know that if I miss a Wonder Woman I’ll be able to find it later, but something like Courtney Crumrin might be elusive. So often if I’m really tight on the budget that week I’ll skip a lot of mainstream marvel/dc stuff and pick up the indy titles.

  88. Arquero says:

    I live in Vienna, Austria and I just paid 30 euros for this week’s comics. A 2.99 $ comic costs around 5 $ here. So just be happy you live in the USA, where they are a lot cheaper.

    • Fludi says:

      Hi, I live in Vienna to… I switched almost completely to digital… then you pay the American price in Euro (which is a good deal I geuss) and you can even get them same day as residents of the US :-)

      And I like my books digitally.. trades I still get in print!

      But of course, digital is not everybodies darling… aber für mich ists mittlerweile echt absolut okay bei Comics… :-)

    • Arquero says:

      Oh that’s a nice suprise :D which store did/do you go to?
      I’ve been thinking about switching to digital several times, however I enjoy holding the actual issue in my hands and like collecting them.
      today was propably the first time I really thought about how much I spent on comics per month. Right now I pull ten books, the other stuff I get in trades, for that I spent about 200 euros monthly, which is quiet a lot for a student.

    • Fludi says:

      :-) I always went and still go for French books (and European in general) to the Comic Treff … really like that shop…

      I just had my collection sorted out and I figured i spent approx. 45k Euros on comics the last decade… that is a lot and buying directly from graphicly or comixology I can real cut my spendings AND get the stuff faster…

      I admit, at first I missed the prints (I am a grafic desigenr, so print means a lot to me), but I really just go digital on single issue and on stuff I can’t get easily in Vienna (like Comeback ’1… or the whole Joe the barbarian thing…)

      But I get it… trades and hardcover I still value higher

    • Arquero says:

      I get my single issues there as well. Trades I buy on Amazon just because they are a lot cheaper. The guys at Comic Treff are nice, but they don’t talk that much and it would be nice, if they asked me what I think about a particular series.

      Unfortunately, it’s not that often that I get the chance to talk about comics in Austria…. So obviously I would enjoy talking to them a little bit about what’s going on in comics.

      Wow, you’ve got a massive comic-collection, I guess.

  89. Jim Mroczkowski Jim Mroczkowski (@jimski) says:

    Spent $81 yesterday.

    This is now all I can think about.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      ‘ClasikRok’ and ‘fukbot’ earlier in this thread turned me onto Discount Comic Book Service, dcbservice.com. I have now made the switch to them. Most of their comics are at least 40% off. Can’t beat the deals. Some are even 50% off. They have these prices for new trades too. A $3.99 book is $2.39 and a $2.99 book is $1.79. I order about 30-40 books per month so this is going to save me a TON of money!! Shipping is a flat rate of $6.95 no matter how many comics you order and no sales tax.

    • Grandturk says:

      Yep. Been doing DCBS for the better part of 3 years or so. So much better than 0 discount from the major players in my area.

      Normally I like to support the local shops, but…

  90. CharlieRock CharlieRock says:

    My LCS gives a 10% discount to all customers who maintain a pull list there.
    When DC “drew the line” I decided to try out the monthlies. Up until then I only collected graphic novels or trades. The dollar difference does make a difference to me. Like, I generally look at DC instead of Marvel. And I’ll look at Batman the Dark Knight over Batman. (bonus pages be darned). The only exception seems to be Justice League and Action comics. I still skip a title if I know it’ll come out as a trade quite often.

  91. canadianD canadianD says:

    If i miss an issue i usually buy it digitally.That was the big push with the New 52 was so that you can get comics digitally the wednesday they come out in stores.I’ve always thought about picking up trades but DC is still rolling out their First Wave trades which haven’t caught up with the series.

    And the thing that really gets me is if there’s a big crossover.DC has been cranking out crossover/mini-events since September 2011 and it’s okay if its a Superman crossover in three books but then you get something like Death of the Family or Night of the Owls thats in half of the Batman books.Death of the Family is cool and all but when i look at that reading list i just sigh out of exhaustion, especially when i dropped Suicide Squad a few months ago.Now i’ll have two random issues of it sitting in my collection.

    I wouldn’t mind a continually 2.99 price if the books were giving me substance.Half the issues seem to be full page adds and back ups.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      Yeah, I would be complaining too about the Batman crossovers if I wasn’t already getting all the Bat books. I do like that they are keeping the crossovers in one family of books. So if you do already get one family of books you are covered. I am kind of worried about the upcoming Trinity War crossover. I have a feeling that is going to touch pretty much all the DC books.

  92. player1 player1 says:

    The debit or credit card bill is always the wake-up call.

    “But I only buy forty titles a month, honey!”

    “Trades put me over my budget!”

    But the price differential and the aggressive shipping really does make it hard to budget Marvel product.

    I’m just ending my third period of Marvel Zombie-ism. It was really expensive. I can’t afford it any more.

    My two methods are now subscription (for the dozen or so books that I do actually buy) and public library for everything else that I want to read. I buy three “monthly” titles at retail now. As of Thunderbolts #200, I won’t buy any.

    I haven’t pretended in a long time that I can afford everything; why buy anything? The library has it all, or can get it.

    I buy less and less all the time, but it goes in cycles, like it has for the last 40 years of “collecting”.

    Comics were a dime when I was a kid, like they had been since the Forties.

    When I started buying them, they started going up in price. 12 cents, 15, 20, 25, 35, 50, 75 cents, a dollar. Buck and a quarter, the Nineties happens, two-fifty! Wow, these are… four bucks, every three weeks!?! When I was eleven, they were five for a dollar. When they raised ‘em to a quarter I dropped Captain America.

    8)

    In the immortal words of Megaton Man: “All right so I’m back… now I QUIT again!”

    I’m entering the “sell” mode now. Time to get rid of some of this stash.

  93. Jimstra says:

    I am on marvel.com looking at their print subscriptions, and you can subscribe to 12 issues for 40% off cover price and free shipping. So for Iron Man instead of $47.88 its $26.99 for 12 issues which ends up being less that $2.99 an issue. Am i missing something? If someone doesn’t want to pay $3.99 for a marvel book why not get a subscription through marvel.com and pay less?

    Now i do realize that the comic book shops then loose my business, but no offense, me paying half the price for the books is worth more to me than buying the books full price and the shop staying in business.

    • Mark_S says:

      I don’t do it that way because if a book suddenly takes a nose dive in quality or they switch the writer/artist team and you are in effect reading a new title then it takes a while to cancel it. You can’t just walk away easily. If I find this happens in my lcs I can just tell them to take it off of the pull list. When you subscribe you can easily be stuck with bad books and that wouldn’t happen if you got a chance to skim them on the wrack first.

    • daningotham daningotham says:

      One option Mark_S is to subscribe through midtowncomics.com. You can add or drop titles up until the Saturday before they are released. They offer 15% off everything and free shipping if you order over &75.00 a month. Discount Comic book service is another option but you have to place your order 2 months in advance and it is locked in. So if you wanted to drop something you wouldn’t be able to for 2 issues. Or 4 issues for the Marvel double shipping titles. But they do offer 40% off on everything.

  94. NRD NRD says:

    Enjoyed reading that article because recently I did a quick catch up on some of the titles I had missed for a month or two, although it only came to approx £45.

    I also don’t indulge in too much other hobbies, I enjoy the odd Warhammer 40K game but rarely buy new models. The hobby of choice is definately reading comics.

    Price for me, isn’t anything major. I don’t want it to sound like I’m made of money but I 100% agree on your statement that you read a particle title for the characters in it. And I will buy the titles I enjoy, sometime picking up an extra “try-out” because I might have heard good reviews.