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What Constitutes a “Sell-Out”?

by  in Comic News Comment
What Constitutes a “Sell-Out”?

In an otherwise kinda silly piece about why Brand New Day is bound for failure, a CBR poster did make a decent point regarding Marvel’s concept of what a book “selling out” is. It appears as though Marvel overprinted Amazing Spider-Man #546 by a considerable amount and planned on using this issue for promotional purposes, for instance, as an incentive for retailers ordering more copies of the other parts of Brand New Day. You know, “Reorder any part of BND and get a free Amazing Spider-Man #546!”

So the question becomes – is a book a “sell-out” if there are a bunch of copies still available?

This doesn’t mean a book shouldn’t go to a second printing – you don’t need to sell out for a second printing to be made – but Marvel DID say that the book sold out, which is notable considering they were pretty public about overprinting the books to make them available to retailers (which I think was a great idea, by the way – I hate the whole “no overprints on books we think will be popular” thing), so #546 selling out was impressive.

So do you think it is fair to say that a book sold out if there are still a number of copies available? Or does “sold out” just mean that a book is unavailable for conventional sales?

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