Sara Gray of Mira Mesa Comic Gallery in San Diego, California saw Steve Bennett's comments on comic formats (see 'Steve Bennett of Dark Star Books on Comic Formats') and had this to say:
I've read the recent goings on about 'pamphlets' and the supposedly huge sales of the Shonen Jump anthology in the USA and I would like to add something.
I do believe that the book Shonen Jump is printed in huge quantities - but most of those books are not sold to comic store chains. I see the book on magazine shelves in bookstores, supermarkets and other such non-industry locations. Meaning? I would guess that many of those Shonen Jumps are not 'selling' at those locations - they are being returned along with the rest of the traditional American magazines that don't sell.
I can't sell Shonen Jump at my store to save my life. We get all of one or two copies an issue, and even those often wind up languishing on the shelves. My store is a *very* manga-oriented store, always has been. So one would assume that either the content or the 'Japanese format' would suck in readers by the score.
It is a format that the general American comic buyer is *not* ready to accept (I was going to say 'jump into' but that would be silly), for the reasons that have already been commented on by a prior Talk Back participant. But aside from that, while it does have what appears to be a reasonable price for a large anthology magazine, its content is not as desirable to mainstream American buyers, not even kids, and not even the large number of Anime lovers we have going for us.
The target audience for this book appears to be booksellers or companies with magazine racks that know the words 'Anime' and 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' and equate them with 'hot sellers'. They may or may not sell on those shelves - but I'm convinced (by having seen them on those shelves) that those books aren't actually being bought by *customers* in the quantities that have been suggested.
I will hardly panic because the 'pamphlets' that the hundreds of my customers buy in large numbers are 'outdated formats.' It seems to me that if the format made the book sell, our shelves would be difficult to stock - all those big bulky titles could hardly fit on the narrow stock shelving... And I'd be selling by the pound. The anthology format is *not* the wave of the future.
And one more personal peeve? The continued and insulting use of the word 'pamphlet' to describe traditional American comic books is something that I hope will become a thing of the past. A trend, rather like Pogs, that will be a reminder of how 'hot' things tend to cool rapidly.
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.