Yesterday, Bleeding Cool ran a cracking number of big stories including photos of pallets of large number of DC Comics Rebirth covers being returned by retailers. Regular reader Rob Liefeld has a question to ask.
Per that BC story on Rebirth returns, my retailers confirmed they are sending back a staggering amount. Isn't that the point of returns tho?
— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) February 7, 2017
Good question Rob! Let’s see if we can answer. The point of making a comic book – or a line – fully returnable is to enable a conservatively-ordering retailer – and aren’t they all in this current climate? – to increase their order to see exactly how much the market will bear. It’s intended that a comic won’t sell out, the retailer will be able to measure a more accurate level of demand for a comic, and return the unsold copies – or rather the stripped covers – for a refund.
DC Comics introduced returnability as a promotional mechanism with the New 52 making the first three issues returnable – albeit with a 10% fee. For DC Rebirth, there is no fee and returnability for six issues. That’s a big jump in the amount of issues that have been made returnable. And because Rebirth didn’t hit with quite the bang that the New 52 did, there have been a lot more issues returned.
And that’s the issue, Diamond and DC worked along the assumption that a certain amount would be returned, and it’s a lot more instead. Returnability has a cost associated with it and publishers are charged by Diamond for making their book returnable. But with so many and a lower $2.99 price point for the books that aren’t returned, it makes it more of a financial burden for Diamond as well as DC, as well as being a logistical headache.
More returns also means retailers won’t by upping future issue numbers by as much as DC might have hoped either.
So basically, Rob, the answer is yes – but not that many!