Friday, October 03, 2008

World Without Marvel and DC: Part 2

In yesterday's post, we discussed the high-level fallout of the end of the "Big Two" comic publishers on the corporate level. Next up: The retailers

Things for most retailers will be messy at first; whether we like it or not, a lot of comic shops depend on the Big Two for a sizable percentage of their business, so they are going to have to adapt fast or perish. Like the remaining comic publishers, they are going to have to spend a good deal figuring out what business they are in, what their customer base is, and what their customers want. It will be a trying time and it will be hard for many. Alan David Doane has an excellent paper on the matter that I highly recommend.

Now, thankfully, most of the good comic stores will manage just fine because they've long weaned themselves off of the Big Two. For the most part, they've done it by supplementing the lack of income from the big two with Manga, or roleplaying games, or independent and small press publishers. These are the likeliest long-term survivors of the comic retailing businesses.

An interesting side-effect of this change is that Diamond will no longer be the sole distributors of materials that customers will want, and so retailers will have quite a few new avenues to explore, and new materials to introduce to customers. Another interesting possibility will be that there will now be more shelf space not just for manga and "alternative publishers" (they will be the new "mainstream"), but there will probably also be plenty of room for materials by young and ambitious local creators who want to make a few extra dollars with their stuff. Again, retailers would probably have some interesting times figuring out who they are, what they want, and how to create new markets for new customers.

Interesting times:

Tomorrow: The Fans

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