Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Byrne-ing.

Here's one for the library contingent out there. John Byrne living up to his reputation. Oh aye. Quick! Comics need protecting, from those pesky potential readers!

Ever since I started writing for a living, I have found myself viewing libraries
somewhat differently than once I did. I think we are all in agreement that
libraries are A Good Thing -- but are they A Good Thing right across the
board? When we have niche products like comics, is it really a good idea for
them to be available in libraries? Some might argue that reading a trade
paperback could encourage a reader to seek out the comics themselves, but
I wonder if that really happens as much as we might like to think it does?
After all, as I have complained so many times, the comicbook industry has
done just about everything it can to make it as difficult as possible for
someone to start reading comics. The product is sold almost exclusively
thru out-of-the-way venues. It is "expensive". Shipping schedules are
erratic. Increasingly, once juvenile (in a good way) fare has become "adult".

The notion of "waiting for the trade" has, I am sure, had a negative impact
on the sales of the monthly books. How much more negative impact comes
from those trades being available in libraries? Not only are they reliably on
the shelf from month to month in a library, they are free! Taken from the
most cold hearted and mercenary stance (which is where I think we really
have to be in this crumbling business!) are libraries a Good Thing for
(via Gutters)


Trevor said...

Heh. you know, I work in an independent bookstore that works on roughly a 3% profit margin--and that is certainly not always steady--yet I surely do not lay down a portion of my woes on the local public library system. For every person (young or old) that checks out a comic from the library and tells a friend, there will be a person who will be impatient for the book and will buy it.

Typical of so many professions, everyone is for open source, creative-commons, sharing, until that profession is all threatened and immediately the idea of sharing and community go out the window and it's then all about "who's taking what's mine?!"


Thanks for the post Mark!

Mark said...

Understandably, I'm on pretty good terms with most of my customers who regularly borrow graphic novels, and I know for a fact that all of them also buy comics. So what very little logic Byrne's argument stands upon fails even there.

plok said...

Also, donating blood...good, sure, but is it good for comics?

Jesus, every time I think he can't out-jackass himself...

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