We don’t normally get into the business side of things in the comic book industry here at iFanboy, choosing instead to focus on the more positive aspects of the comic industry that we know and love… like art and stories. Not that the comic book industry business stuff is always negative, but sometimes it can be hard to parse it all without the expertise that others have that we lack. But every now and then a happening in the comic book industry business side is worth noting and this week, Image Comics has been in the center of one such occurance.
Earlier this week, Image Comics PR & Marketing Director Jennifer DeGuzman sent an update to retailers regarding the policy around reprints of comics, most notably, that Image would be ceasing reprints of popular titles, such as Saga. While the intent of this was a bold business decision around getting a better approach to print runs, the message itself was received with negativity from retailers, many of whom disagreed with this change or didn’t quite understand it.
Minutes ago, Image Comics issued an open letter from publisher Eric Stephenson. Below is the entire open letter, as Stephenson responds to the reaction to the policy, and provides clarity on Image’s intent, and reacts to the requests of retailers specifically around Saga.
Believe it or not, we listen to you.
Just as you use the information provided to you by your customers to place orders for our comics, we use the information we get from you to set our print runs. Like you, we modify the numbers a little bit. We always assume there will be reorders and we make sure to overprint. Most of the time, our final number provides us with just enough inventory to satisfy demand, but more and more frequently, we’ve been selling out.
When we sell out – and more importantly, when you sell out – we know we’re all losing both time and money. It typically takes three weeks to a month to get a second printing to market, and that’s three weeks to a month we all could have been selling more books. That’s frustrating.
It’s doubly frustrating when a book like Saga, a bonafide hit by the creator of Y: The Last Man, Runaways and Pride of Baghdad, Brian K. Vaughan, and his insanely talented collaborator Fiona Staples, continues to sell out even as it gets deeper into its run. We did five printings of issue one, three printings of issue two, and there were second printings of issues three to six. We are, as I type this, preparing to go back to press on the first trade paperback collection.
And like the previous six issues, Saga #7 sold out, and given that orders hadn’t skyrocketed upwards from issue six at FOC, we decided that it was probably time to bring the second printings to a halt. Using the information we had at our disposal – your orders – we figured the generous overprint we did for this issue would satisfy demand.
By “we,” incidentally, I mean “me.”
It was a rash decision made somewhat in haste and a little bit out of frustration, and I think it was that sense of frustration that bled into the retail newsletter our PR & Marketing Director Jennifer de Guzman sent out earlier this week. For those of you who found the tone of that newsletter condescending or abrasive – you have my apologies. In communicating my frustrations to Jen, that inadvertently got passed down to you, and that should’t have been the case. We also should have given you more of a heads up on how we were handling this, so that you weren’t completely blindsided by a sudden change in policy and again, that’s on me.
We can’t go back in time and fix the past, though, so instead, we’re going to move forward.
Like I said up top: We listen to you.
So we’re going to reprint Saga #7, and we’re going to offer that reprint to you at a massive discount.
For the second printing of Saga #7, every account ordering 25 copies or more by its FOC date, will get them at an 80% discount, making your cost per copy right around 60¢. And for anyone ordering fewer than 25, we will be extending Image’s maximum discount to you, regardless of your usual discount.
The order code for the second printing of Saga #7 is NOV128073. FOC will be 12/24, and the in-store date will be 1/16.
We did a pretty hefty overprint on Saga #8, too, but looking at current reorder activity, I’m guessing we won’t hold onto that stock very long. More news on that as it develops, but if we have to reprint that issue, too, we will.
In the mean time, though, we simply cannot reprint every single issue of this series on an indefinite basis, so with the FOC for Saga #9 in the not-too-distant future, I’m going to ask you to help us out and make sure to double-check your orders on that issue when the time comes. I have an advantage here in that I get to see this stuff before you, but I promise you – this series is only going to get better from here. Brian and Fiona have some amazing things planned, and you are not going to be disappointed if you continue to support this series.
Thanks, and again – my apologies for the way my frustration on this issue was communicated. We won’t leave you out of the loop on decisions like this in the future, and in fact – make sure to check out next weekly newsletter for full details on our reprint policy going forward.
Publisher, Image Comics, Inc.
SAGA #7 Second Printing
Diamond Code: NOV128073
Final Order Cut-off: December 24, 2012
In stores: January 16, 2013
Diamond Code: OCT120541
In stores: December 10, 2012
Diamond Code: NOV120578
Final Order Cut-Off: December 24, 2012
In stores: January 16, 2013<
SAGA #1 – Image Firsts Edition
Diamond Code: OCT128195
SAGA Volume One
(Collects #1 – 6)
Diamond Code: AUG120491