As most of you are aware comic shops get their comics from Diamond, the main (sole) distributor for most comics. Retailers receive a discount on their book; for most it’s 50-56% off cover price. With that profit they pay for the store, staff, expenses and some even offer a discount to regular customers.
IDW follows this discount model, except for Artist’s Editions. For these prestige books IDW through Diamond only offers net price; a fixed amount the retailer must pay per book. For the upcoming Wally Wood Artist’s Edition the net price is $95 with a suggested retail price of $125. When originally solicited it had a suggested retail of $95 and that’s what online sites are still quoting, including Comixology. That’s giving retailers significantly less profit for these books. The new Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition doesn’t list a suggested price: Previews says please inquire.
The reason for the change is to allow retailers to charge whatever they want or need to. Most I’ve checked with are charging 100% markup so the two mentioned above will be $190. This has been going on for all the previous volumes: I haven’t paid cover price on any. Unfortunately I haven’t located any mail order or internet comic shops selling these but would be interested to see what they’re going for. The major online book sellers don’t carry these either.
From a consumer standpoint I really don’t like buying something that doesn’t have a set price: confirm with your comic shop what they’ll be charging before putting an order in. On the other hand retailers need to stay in business and when they work with a 50% discount on all their books and when that drops to half that it becomes an unsustainable model.