Waiting For Trades

Superman Trade

In the business world, you need to be quick to supply your product to your customers.  If your customer has to wait, they will find the product somewhere else.  Or, it is quite possible that your customer will change their minds completely and you will lose out on your sale.

But it doesn’t work that way in the comic book industry.  We are constantly waiting for the goods that we want, to get into our hot little hands.

There several comic books that I have been waiting for to come out in trade.  Superman, Action Comics, Thor God of Thunder and Captain America are some of the titles, to name a few.

Sure I could buy them monthly, but those are the ones I have decided to buy as collected editions.  All of those titles are released, but as hardcovers.  It was just this past week that New 52 Superman came out as a trade paperback (released the same day as the Volume 2 hardcover).

I don’t think this is fair.  Why should I have to wait?

I could have spent the money as soon as the hardcover came out, and got the same content (with a couple of extras) but I prefer the trade paperback.  First and foremost the cost is less.  It also takes up less space on my shelf.  It just doesn’t make any sense that I have to wait 3 months later to buy the same product on the shelf now.

It wouldn’t hurt the sales of either book, if the hardcover and paperback came out the same day.  The people who are going to buy the hardcover are still going to buy it, and the trade paperback people are still going to buy their copy.  So why wait?

Now that I have Superman Volume 1 in my hands, I will have to wait another 3 months to get Volume 2.  If I even decide to buy it by then.

On the most part, consumers are impulse shoppers.  Shopping has become more convenient and there are more and more impulse purchases being made.  In my opinion, impulse purchasing is very common in the comic book business.  How many times have you picked up a book, just because the cover looked cool?  Or you heard something good about “a” particular book?  I think it happens all the time.

Sure there are trades I plan on buying (which are added to my pull list).  But on the most part the bulk of my trades are purchased on impulse.

If comic book shops have every version of a book available, at the same time, I think impulse purchases would go up.  Retailers would make more money, and us comic book fans would have what we want, when we want it.

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Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.
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3 Comments

  1. This method is the same in traditional bookstores. You sell the hardcover first which is where you make the most profit, then sell a paperback to catch any holdouts. Retailers also make more money on HCs. I can’t see this changing any time soon.

  2. I don’t think you can say both ” The people who are going to buy the hardcover are still going to buy it, and the trade paperback people are still going to buy their copy. So why wait?” and ” In my opinion, impulse purchasing is very common in the comic book business.”

    Evidently waiting is worth more to you than the difference between a HC and TP. The industry says fine and believes that not everyone feels the same way and for those people, we’ll make more money.

  3. You could say that about regular novels. They put the hardcover out and then when sales slump they release the paper back.

    There is a lot more misinformation and wrong ideas here about how hardcovers vs paperbacks. To put a paperback out the same day as a hardcover would certainly hurt sales of the hardcover, exactly because a lot of people would take the cheaper option.

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