So here I am switching again. That is dumping the traditional 32 page stapled comic book in favor of hard cover and softcover collected editions. Of course I’m only doing this for NEW comics. I still prefer the original format for the old stuff. But honestly about 95% of everything written in comics today is really intended for the collected format. They read BEAUTIFULLY in nice collected arcs (typically 4-12 issues or 88 to 260 pages). I will continue to complete the great old stuff like Werewolf By Night, Tomb of Dracula, etc. in “real” “comic book” comic form. But as of now I’m out of the 32 pager for $2.99 -3.99 cover price business. It just had to be done. It should save me a bit of space in the ComicBook Room and maybe even a bit of money -but NOT MUCH. Lets take a look at a cost breakdown for the typical newish comicbook run:
Marvel’s Avengers Volume One (2009) this collects the 2009 series issues 1-6. Amazon has it right now for $16.49 (34% off of cover price) Cover price is $24.99. This is for the hardcover. The math on this comes out to about 12.5 cents a page (Amazon) or 18.9 cents a page at standard retail list.
IF you had bought the same story as they came out in 32 page (22 without ads) chunks it would have cost you about 13.5 cents a page (at $2.99 cover price) or 8.13 cents a page (@40% off by PRE-Ordering online).
Another option is the Trade Paperback (softcover) collected format. The math on this is 10.29 cents a page (Amazon) or 15.14 cents a page (retail list).
Just looking at the raw math the 32 pager pre-ordered online from an etailer like DCBS seems to be the clear winner. BUT there are hidden costs (at least for ME) in the form of Bags and Boards. Hardcover books if moderately cared for have a nice long life sitting on a normal shelf. Tradepaperbacks aint so bad either. But “real” comicbooks need a fair amount of “care and feeding”. They need a proper box/lid and they also need a board and a bag. If you use ANYTHING other than Mylar you are just making a bad situation worse and in time (5-20 years depending on various factors) that cheap plastic bag will degrade, yellow and eventually start to destroy your books. I put all my comics in Mylite2s from E.Gerber. I buy in lots of 500. Even at this quantity they ADD about 30 cents an issue or 1.36 cents a page (only counting story pages here).
So the single 32 pager pre-ordered online is STILL cheapest at 9.49 cents a page (this now includes a nice Mylar bag & board). But this does NOT put a dollar figure on the Pain in the Ass factor. I’m talking about the time and labor of messing around with bags and board, boxes and lids and all that jazz. Sure its “fun” for a while but in time it does get old. And let me tell you mylar bags are NOISY. When one is trying to read a comic or two at night when the wife’s asleep you DO NOT want to be rattling a crispy/crinkly mylite bag! Trades and hardcover are virtually silent in comparison! :-)
Now all the calculations above were assuming we are dealing with the $2.99 cover price of the typical modern comicbook. Sadly many comics are now $3.99 and many more soon will be. The math on this is:
10.86 (naked without bag or board) pre-ordered online or 18.13 (naked -standard cover price)
Shipping -lets not forget the shipping cost. Amazon has free shipping for all orders over $24.99. This is easily met so effectively my hardcovers and trades will have NO SHIPPING charge. At DCBS I currently pay $6.25 per month for UPS ground – a good deal to be sure but this adds (averaging book numbers here) about 16 cents an issue or .75 a story page. Not a lot but a little.
And don’t even get me started on how much Pain in the Ass factor is added by having to order all your comics months in advance. Trust me it sucks.
Amazon.com here I come.