Joe Krolik of Comics America in Winnipeg, Manitoba saw John Riley's column on pricing and profit (see 'Sharpening the Sword--Pricing and Profit') and sees a related issue in brick and mortar stores.


I read John's latest column with great interest.


A related phenomenon to Internet deep discounting is the one regarding brick and mortar comic 'pull' or 'account' customers:


There are brick and mortar stores who start out offering such customers a deep discount of 25-35% percent or more just to get the account.  Some stores give a larger discount based on a larger order, so the base rate of 25% can get as high as 40 or 50%!


I wonder about these operations, because they basically say, 'Hi, if you give me your order and make me bust my butt many times as hard as I would if you bought your books straight off my racks, I will reward myself by cutting my nose right off my face when I slash my profit margin to next to nothing.'


Are these retailers incredibly stupid, or what?


It does nothing to expand the market.  It serves in many cases to cannibalize customers from other establishments, and the eventual result is that usually such stores run into severe problems or disappear altogether.  Meanwhile, the customer has been educated that:  a) he or she should always expect such discounts, and b) we're really selling a bunch of junk that isn't worth the cover price, or it wouldn't be discounted in the first place.  Subsequently such customers eventually vanish when they can't necessarily recreate the same deal with a surviving establishment, and the market actually shrinks as a result.


This is a phenomenon that also needs to be stopped somehow to bring some respect back into the pricing of the product.


I'm not begrudging the idea of 'getting a deal.'  Everyone likes a bargain.  However, when it's a perpetual bargain at a ridiculously deep rate, you have to start wondering what this bodes for the future of the industry as a whole.


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