When Marvel’s trade paperback collection begain in earnest about twelve years ago, there were a few distinct formats. The phonebook, a black and white collection of thirty or so issues, the colour trade paperback with around six issues, the hardcover Marvel Masterworks that had been running for some time and the oversized hardcover taking in around twelve issues.
Then Marvel introduced the Premiere hardcover, basically the colour trade paperback issued in hardcover with a higher price around three months before the paperback. The market for this grew to about ten to fifteen such Premiere hardcover title a month. Seen by some as gouging the market, others found it their preferred format. But over the last few years we’ve been used to Marvel liquidating lots of their Premier stock, with shops selling them for a few dollars each as a result. Leaving some to wait for the inevitable liquidation before buying them – and some retailers doing the same.
Clearly Marvel have noticed. Recently I had a number of Journey Into Mystery fans complaining to me that they were unable to buy the final Kid Loki volume of the book in hardcover, as they had the rest and wondered what to do.
Suck it, it seems.
In a private retailer interview with Diamond, David Gabriel has told retailers that they will be reducing the number of Premier Hardcovers, restricting them to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, All New X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Nova, Uncanny X-Men, Uncanny Avengers, and Indestructible Hulk followed by the paperback six to eight months later as standard. Other books will get the trade paperback treatment earlier.
And for both hardcover and paperback, Marvel are planning to keep the books in stock longer.