It’s been a month since it first kicked off. Digital comics distributor and publisher ComiXology selling hundreds of Marvel Comics collections in a digital form for 99 cents, week after week, including brand new volumes the same day they were released and before comic stores doors had even opened, and including the original graphic novel Thanos: The Infinity Siblings. ComiXology’s owner Amazon followed sporadically on the Kindle.
Comic book retailers took to the Diamond Retailer Summit at Chicago last week to voice their anger. Marvel Comics EIC C.B. Cebulki said that Marvel were powerless to stop this, as Amazon and ComiXology still paid what they always did to Marvel. Later retailer Brian Hibbs spoke openly against this while Michael Savage defended Marvel.
And this Wednesday, it happened again, new trade collections and hardcovers discounted to 99 cents. Had nothing been learned?
Well maybe, just maybe, it has. As of today, all such extreme Marvel discounts have been pulled from ComiXology – but not entirely from Kindle on US accounts which have fourteen titles, including this week’s, still at 99 cents. For now.
ComiXology still does not respond to e-mails on this matter but maybe the matter was escalated high enough this time?
You can read Brian Hibbs’ original objection below.
I was extremely disappointed at Marvel comics’ performance at the Diamond summit this week. NOT because of C.B. — he very obviously has a heartfelt passion and concern for the line — but because of the lack of preparation for, and proper response to, retailer’s sincere and existential threat from the now FIFTH week of the wild undercutting on new-this-week book product coming from Amazon. It is utterly unacceptable that Marvel is allowing 96%+-off pricing on a brand-new book like INFINITY SIBLINGS.
C.B. says you’re “trying to get to the bottom of” this, that you are “in talks”. This, to me, is the kind of situation that gets resolved in absolutely no more than 72 hours (and that’s 48 more hours than my heart tells me it really takes) because of the literal harm it is doing to an entire class of customers.
Because after FIVE weeks, five weeks where this has been reported FAR and WIDE, five weeks where that reporting is DRIVING customers to digital at the expense of print, I have decided that as of this FOC, I can no longer order new Marvel graphic novels, and have zeroed out my orders on all book format product published by Marvel at both of my stores. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS, but the way that Marvel has slow-walked this tells me it’s the only thing I can do.
There’s still time to change this. Ceasing this program, and coming forward publicly with a full and completely transparent accounting of what happened, and I’ll happily reinstate those orders. Blissfully, even. But my economic power of purchasing, even if it’s only a fraction of Amazon’s, is the only power I have. And there are plenty of other publishers wanting to sell me books that are bending over backwards for me so that I will have no problem filling my racks.
I don’t know everything about what Amazon does and why, but in years of watching them, what C.B. described does not match any known behavior that I have observed, nor what I have been able to discuss with other publishers about the behaviors THEY have observed. C.B.’s picture simply doesn’t make any sense — Amazon does not take that kind of a loss on that kind of scale unless it is being made up in some other consideration from a manufacturer.
I hope this is dealt with both promptly and publicly; I’d like to keep ordering new Marvel book stock.
Thank you for listening.
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