TOP

Image Comics ends second printings of ‘known over-performers’

by  in Comic News Comment

Image Comics has announced it will end second printings of titles “that are known over-performers in hopes that it will help initial sales find their proper level,” cautioning retailers in this week’s newsletter to “believe in the titles that sell and believe in your ability to sell them. There might not be a second chance.”

“This isn’t meant as a punishment or some weird scheme to drive up prices of single issues on eBay,” wrote Jennifer de Guzman, Image’s PR and marketing coordinator. “The weeks of delay in waiting for the second printing cost you sales. Knowing you can count on reprintings has encouraged caution when none is called for, and that hurts you as much as it does us.”

The announcement accompanied news that Saga #7, the acclaimed space opera by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, had sold out at the distributor level, despite overprinting of the issue. “Should we have told you specifically “Order a lot of this one”?” de Guzman wrote. “Well, did we really need to?”

“This is Saga we’re talking about. Issue #7 was its return after a brief hiatus that had fans of the epic by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples as restless as cats in heat and following on the heels of the release of a trade paperback that is moving like wildfire (it’s is still on the New York Times Bestseller list). And its FOC [final order cutoff] came just two weeks after I quite single-mindedly harangued you about order numbers decreasing with each issue of even our most popular titles, using math. (Math, people!)”

Noting that orders for Saga #8 dropped 4 percent from those for Issue 7, de Guzman continued, “It’s not empty boasting to say that Saga is the best new series of 2012 — it’s borne out by review after review, recommendation after recommendation, and when we see sales go down on an issue, we know that there is a problem, and it isn’t with the book itself. ”

Saga #8 arrives next week. Read the full statement below:

I have some bad news: SAGA #7 is sold out. Sounds like good news, right? Well, it’s not. First, it means that retailers under-ordered it. And second: We will not be reprinting it. Should we have overprinted? We did. Should we have told you specifically “Order a lot of this one”? Well, did we really need to?

This is SAGA we’re talking about. Issue #7 was its return after a brief hiatus that had fans of the epic by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples as restless as cats in heat and following on the heels of the release of a trade paperback that is moving like wildfire (it’s is still on the New York Times Bestseller list). And its FOC came just two weeks after I quite single-mindedly harangued you about order numbers decreasing with each issue of even our most popular titles, using math. (Math, people!)

What’s even worse news is that orders for SAGA #8 decreased 4% from orders on #7. It will not be reprinted either. We have decided to cease second printings of single issues of titles that are known over-performers in hopes that it will help initial sales find their proper level. That’s marketing-speak for “You know this sells, so you’d better make sure you order enough!”

This isn’t meant as a punishment or some weird scheme to drive up prices of single issues on eBay. The weeks of delay in waiting for the second printing cost you sales. Knowing you can count on reprintings has encouraged caution when none is called for, and that hurts you as much as it does us.

And there’s absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be more readers of our best-selling titles now that the $1.00 Image Firsts editions of FATALE #1, THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #1, SAGA #1, REVIVAL#1, and THIEF OF THIEVES #1 are available and (should be) in your stores. They’re there to help you evangelize, so spread the good news! (Can I get an “Amen“?)

It’s not empty boasting to say that SAGA is the best new series of 2012 — it’s borne out by review after review, recommendation after recommendation, and when we see sales go down on an issue, we know that there is a problem, and it isn’t with the book itself.

So believe in the titles that sell and believe in your ability to sell them. There might not be a second chance.

Here are some #2s on this week’s FOC list that you may need more of (with even more math!):

CHANGE #2 — Orders presently are 38% lower than orders for the debut issue. If you haven’t read CHANGE #1 yet, please give it a look. Its writer Ales Kot had a breakout hit with WILD CHILDREN this year, and CHANGE taps into the same sensibility.

THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #2 — Orders are 21% less than orders for #1, which has sold out. This is a known seller by creators whose traction in the industry is growing — Justin Jordan, who also writes Shadowman for Valiant and Tradd Moore, who has drawn a variant Deadpool cover for Marvel and a story in the digital Legends of the Dark Knight for DC.

NON-HUMANS #2 — I know. It’s late, and lateness is a death knell for sales numbers. But! This is the return to Image by Whilce Portacio, and a 33% drop in orders seems a mite steep, considering that NON-HUMANS #1 sold out.