Food or Comics | Money, comics and the economy

• I wondered on Friday what was awry with The New York Times' weekly Graphic Books Best Seller List that could allow a two-year-old hardcover collection to rocket to the top one week and then completely disappear the next.

A few commenters suggested that Marvel offered remaindered copies of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born at a deep discount to comic shops, accounting for the one-week spike (or glitch). Retailer Christopher Butcher essentially agreed with the explanation, and spelled out a few of the details. However, he went on to describe the Times' bestseller list as "broken" because it appears to treat direct-market orders (from Diamond Comic Distributors) the same as bookstore sales: "... Two largely incongruous sales systems are being merged – pretty badly it looks like – to generate a list that has books with little long-term sales spiking on release and never appearing again, and heavily prone to being thrown entirely out of whack by promotions, sales, discounting, and …  hell, just giving stuff away for free!"

Starlog, the 33-year-old monthly magazine that covers science fiction and fantasy film and television, has announced it's ending as a print publication with April's Issue 374 -- at least for now. The website will continue.

The announcement refers only to a "temporary cessation" of the print magazine: "It is also at this time that we announce the temporary cessation of the current run of STARLOG as a print magazine. After 33 years, and considering the present state of the economy, we feel its time for a major revamp and will be temporarily discontinuing publication while the model and redesign of the magazine are contemplated and executed."

Mark Evanier points out that "temporary cessation" in the magazine industry typically means, "Cancelled, probably forever."

"I can't think of too many publications that ever left the newsstands and returned, at least under the same ownership," he writes.

Mouse Guard creator David Petersen wonders how many comics readers actually pre-order titles rather than rely upon whatever is on the shelves at the local shop: "I bring this all up, not to complain or offer a solution, but to take notice that there are books being offered that are in danger of falling below Diamond's minimum that you readers may not even know about because they shop based on what their LCS ordered. I'm not suggesting that every comic buyer buy an issue of Previews or for shop owners to change their policies, I just saw a massive disconnect between creators/publishers who are marketing to readers who may not even know how or know the option is there to order books."

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