Retailer blames sales declines on 'self-serving choices' by publishers

Retailer Ilan Strasser detects a decline in comics sales over the past six months, and calls shenanigans on any suggestion that the dip is part of some industry cycle.

"I have been a comics retailer for 27 years now and really, this notion that comic sales are cyclical is bullshit and always has been," he writes at ICv2.com. "If you know what you're doing as a retailer, sales, cash flow, and profits can be regulated. Comic sales have always declined as a result of bad decisions by the publishers. Like raising comic prices 33% in the last year in the midst of a global recession. But even our best efforts as retailers are undermined when those who publish our product insist on making self-serving choices, diminishing the market and its long-term viability for everyone."

Strasser, owner of Fat Moose Comics and Games in Whippany, New Jersey, rattles off the usual list of issues publishers should address -- lower prices, end cross-over storylines, etc. -- before suggesting it may be time for him to leave the business.

"My lease is up March 31st of 2010," he writes. "I wonder if that will be the end for me as well."

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