…and Cheap Stuff

11 Sep
Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

It's all your fault! (Image via CrunchBase)

Comics publisher Top Shelf is having its annual super-sale – lots of stuff for $1 or $3 or at a nice discount. There’s far too much to recommend: just click over and check it out!

And Things From Another World is having a 60%-off “nick-and-dent” sale on its site – again, lots of great deals, if you don’t mind your books in less-than-mint condition.

(And, if your local Borders is still open, whatever’s left in those desolate wastelands is 70-90% off…)

We all want to stretch our entertainment dollars further, and the “Amazon Effect” has basically taken over at this point: why pay full price for anything, when you can find it at a discount?

It seems to me that it’s the “middle men” who are being squeezed the most – the distributors and retailers who are in between the creators/publishers and the end-customers.

When everybody’s been trained to spend as little as possible on their entertainment (or just get it for free), what incentive can the “middle men” provide to get as much money from customers as possible?

Right now, it looks like online sellers have the advantage: after all, when there’s Amazon, eBay, and a zillion other discount retailers offering just about anything you’re looking for, without leaving your home, why would anyone drive to a brick-and-mortar store that has only a tiny fraction of those offerings available?

And: I buy used/secondhand stuff all the time, and I don’t see it as taking money out of anyone’s pocket. But if nobody’s buying anything new, or at full price, then how does anyone – especially the content creators like writers and artists – make any money?

I’ve been to a number of comics conventions with several sellers offering graphic novels for half-off or more. (Heck, at Wondercon last April, my wife bought 40 or 50 manga volumes (with cover prices of $10-25 each) for less than $3 each.) So why would I buy a new graphic novel for cover price?

And I’ve been to numerous comics shops that sell new comics for cover price, and back issues for over cover price. But with online retailers like My Comic Shop, Mile High Comics, Discount Comic Book Service, and Midtown Comics, why would I spend that much when I can spend a fraction of that amount without leaving my house?

As Bill Maher would say: I’m just asking questions…

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