Sara Gray of Comic Gallery in San Diego, California saw our article on the Barnes & Noble exclusive on the trade paperback editions of Marvel Masterworks (see 'Barnes & Noble To Publish Masterworks TPBs' and 'Marvel on Barnes & Noble Masterworks Editions') and didn't like what she heard:
This is infuriating.
As a direct market retailer I ought to have first choice of what is meant to be 'direct market' merchandise. I have commented many times, to both my Marvel and DC reps that if they would only put those beautiful collected Masterworks hardcovers into paperback editions, my customers would be far more likely to buy them.
Now, perhaps, they still will.
Only, not at my store. What is up with Marvel's decision making here? They weren't planning on it until a huge market jumped up and slapped them upside the head? Hello! Been asking for this format for years! Captive audience!
We're trying to make a living here! With those books in a competing market -- ALONE -- our customers will literally walk right across the street and spend their $20-30 THERE, instead of at the stores where they first heard about the products in the first place.
That is completely unfair, and very shameful of Marvel to do. While I understand that it is a good business decision FOR THEM, and I daresay for Barnes & Noble, to do this, they must start to recall that it is OUR market first. 'Direct' market, remember? Not newsstands, not book stores, COMIC stores, who should be getting the first pick of these items...
I'm positive that I'm not alone in this opinion. It is terribly frustrating to find that at every turn, one or two huge markets (Wal-Mart, Target, B&N, et al) are edging their way into OUR territory as retailers who SPECIALIZE in these products. Everything from action figures through comic collections, these gigantic stores already HAVE every advantage. They buy at huge discounts -- discounts that we as small stores CANNOT compete with anyway -- they stock huge amounts (a good thing for the manufacturer, I realize) and they land themselves RIGHT NEAR the specialty stores. Almost as though they would like to rub our noses in their success at our market. It's a default that they have more customers. But I know my products. Let them have theirs, but I'd like to SHARE this time.
I worry that stores like B&N, Wal-Mart and such will simply drown out specialty stores -- all to the great benefit of one or two publishers, leaving the rest of the indy books, manufacturers of small press, and worst of all, SPECIALTY RETAILERS, out in the cold...