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View Full Version : The move toward a $3.99 standard price point per single comic


Troy Wall
11-29-2008, 04:29 AM
Augie DeBlieck (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=18862) wrote a few words about it in a recent edition of his Pipeline column @ CBR.

Who thinks this will really happen? We know it's already common place at smaller publishers, but do you believe $3.99 will become the new standard for pricing at Marvel and DC? Augie does, but it's difficult for me to imagine paying four dollars for the new issue of, say, Ultimate Spider-Man. But, maybe that's just me not wanting to believe it. Heh.

I went and looked at the prices on the comics I bought this week after reading Augie's column. I had a few standard 22-pagers that were marked $3.99. Just for an example, one of 'em was Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #2. It's almost as if we're being "eased" in to the new price point. First the "event" books, even if they didn't exceed 22-pages, were priced at $3.99. Then we began to see a lot of mini-series, like the above mentioned comic, priced at $3.99, even if the page count didn't exceed 22-pages.

It's funny because it looks like they're using the most popular books, the ones they're most confident in, to flagship the move to a higher price. You'll notice that books like Runaways, as well as the entire Marvel Adventures line, remain at $2.99.

When you look through a recent Previews you'll see that several ongoing mainstays are turning to $3.99. And new ongoings like Dark Avengers are simply starting out and appear to be adhering to the $3.99 point, based on solicitations.

Try and keep the discussion centered on standard 22-pagers. I bought Batman 681 this week and didn't mind being gouged $3.99 because it had extra pages. It's the common 22-pager going to $4 bucks a pop that is really going to sting our wallets.

pi0trov
11-29-2008, 04:49 AM
It's almost as if we're being "eased" in to the new price point.
That's just what I see as well, and I believe it's only a matter of time before the price change happens. I've recently cut back on most of my monthly comics, due to lack of money and rising prices on everything else, and this will just mean more titles will be cut.

I remember being in high school when most books were going up to $1.50 and being disgusted, but here I am, still buying them at twice that amount now. But I think the $4 mark will be the point when I'll finally have to only buy those series (atleast from Marvel and DC) in trade.

dmh_3000
11-29-2008, 05:02 AM
I actually have to pay about $5.95 Australian for an American $2.99 issue, due to the economy and such. But the $3.99 stuff is $7.25 here. Yep, that's how much Batman would cost me. When i got into comics, they were $3.95 down here. If they were still that much, I'd be fine. Hell, I'd be fine with $4.50. But I have never bought an issue since they climbed past $5. It is just not worth it.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but what about the money they get from advertisers? I pick up Batman and it's littered with ten pages of ads. Why can't DC and Marvel just tell their advertisers they need to pay more money for a spot in their publications? Hell, they could make 26 pages the new number needed for a story so they could print at 40 pages and have 4 more pages of ads. Readers get an extra four pages of content and DC and Marvel can make more money before their product even hits the stands.

Hopefully no one thinks I'm just flying off the handle in my rants. Remember, I'm on the opposite side of the world.

~ David

pi0trov
11-29-2008, 05:37 AM
Yeah, I'd be happy with more ads, if it meant a lower price (or more content for a stable price).

I'd love it if they could get it down to news-stand magazine levels - sure, a 120 page magazine has 60 pages of ads, but it's still got 60 pages of content, and it's only $5....

L Jamal
11-29-2008, 07:58 AM
I'm already mostly buying HCs and TPBs. Once comics hit $4 for singles, I'm pretty much done with that format. I've outgrown the need for the weekly fix.

Buckyrig
11-29-2008, 12:09 PM
The 22-pager needs to be retired. It takes me 10 minutes to read a 22 page comic book at $3.99. The average movie is 100 minutes long. 100 minutes of comic book entertainment at $3.99 per ten minutes translates to $39.90 for a movie's length of entertainment.

Yes, those are clumsy and incongruous comparisons...but there is enough of a point as far as cost of entertainment in there to me to be upset. At $10 to see a movie ($15 to own it), I don't know.

I doubt the majority of the factors of cost are within the control of the publishers...but there are things they can do. Although I haven't been regularly reading in a little while (broke), when I am buying regularly, I'd feel better paying a higher cover price for longer stories less frequently and with less titles available.

Either that, or the publishers are going to have to begin to view 22-page monthlies as loss leaders for the company...but I don't know how that all works. I mean, can the publishing part of the companies intentionally run to take a loss so that the revenue created through ancillaries can make the company a profit?

dmh_3000
11-29-2008, 09:17 PM
I'm already mostly buying HCs and TPBs. Once comics hit $4 for singles, I'm pretty much done with that format. I've outgrown the need for the weekly fix.

I'm actually still trying to catch up on all my faves. Just started getting No Man's Land this week. But I also sometimes read them in the shop (Naughty).

The 22-pager needs to be retired.

I wouldn't say that. I used to love getting my comics in that format. All that needs to happen is the price needs to be brought down.

cbgiles
12-01-2008, 01:48 AM
Comics are finally catching up to the price of greetings cards...how long does it take to read a greeting card?

Pricing problems is a nice way of making me want to create my own characters and worlds into my own comics. It's always been that way. When I was a kid and all my parents allowed me were one or two books a month(no allowance but was raised on a farm...hard work for room and board(I mean bored)heehee), I used the rest of my time after reading the 21 or 22 pagers by coming up with my own stuff. It was cool to draw stories with no ending until I got there.
I agree with ljamal on the outgrowing my weekly fix and going TPB. The intervals are "my" creating time and I'm saving money with TPB.

Khuth
12-01-2008, 02:32 AM
Greeting cards are a special occassion thing, besides you have the option of buying greeting cards for less at dollar stores and such.

Comics on the other hand are monthly installments and for those who collect them are shelling out 3-4 dollars at a higher rate then they would a greeting card. I've only bought TPBs over the last little while.

I think I'm over that collector mentality of having to own every individual pamphlet size issue. With the way things are going, there's not $5 for something as frivilous as a monthly issue of a comic book.

Buckyrig
12-01-2008, 11:13 AM
I wouldn't say that. I used to love getting my comics in that format. All that needs to happen is the price needs to be brought down.

I'm not sure the price can be brought down much. Production costs are up, the talent is sometimes paid well...but nothing extravagant really, and how many more ads can they sell? You generally see the same handful of ads in all comics each month. I don't think it's a big place for a lot of advertisers.

What I was suggesting...not that I came up with it...is increasing the page count on the regular titles and moving away from monthly titles. A 44-page comic would only have a slightly higher price than the 22-pagers and you would actually be getting a better value for your dollar. With some foresight (yes yes, stop laughing) the companies could space them so you still have books to pick up each week.

Imboden
12-01-2008, 11:53 AM
My solution, which I ran by a guy at the store who's been into comics longer than I've been alive and he agreed with it, is this:

Combine like titles into one "family" book and charge a more appropriate price.

Example:

Take "Mighty", "New" and "initiative" and make a book called simply "The Avengers". It would still be the same page count as three monthly books, just all in one wrapper. Charge me $7.95 for this and I'd be satisfied.

"Batman" and "Detective" in a $5 book called "Detective Comics starring Batman". "Nightwing", "Robin" and, I dunno, "Birds of Prey" in a book called "Batman Family".

When story arcs are over, collect them in trade as they do now. That (sort of) solves the problem of someone not wanting to pay more for a book that includes something they don't like.

It's not perfect, but it's a decent middle ground.

The DarkMind
12-01-2008, 01:02 PM
That's just what I see as well, and I believe it's only a matter of time before the price change happens. I've recently cut back on most of my monthly comics, due to lack of money and rising prices on everything else, and this will just mean more titles will be cut.

I remember being in high school when most books were going up to $1.50 and being disgusted, but here I am, still buying them at twice that amount now. But I think the $4 mark will be the point when I'll finally have to only buy those series (atleast from Marvel and DC) in trade.

I've said the same thing about cigarettes for many years...

"I think when they hit the $X mark will be the point when I'll finally have to quit..." :laugh:

I admit it's been several months since I've actually purchased a comic book since my roommate bailed on me and I've been struggling to keep the house I'm in, but $3.99 for a standard 22 pager is just ridiculous. Looks like it will be several more months before I can buy one. Gotta save up for it :cry:

Buckyrig
12-01-2008, 01:05 PM
Looks like it will be several more months before I can buy one. Gotta save up for it :cry:

Maybe someone can start up a Rental Service.

25 cents per comic or something. :laugh:

cbgiles
12-01-2008, 03:09 PM
Greeting cards are a special occassion thing, besides you have the option of buying greeting cards for less at dollar stores and such.
Maybe if people gave comics as greeting cards instead of greeting cards the prices wouldn't be going up because sales are high. :)

cbgiles
12-01-2008, 03:10 PM
Maybe someone can start up a Rental Service.

25 cents per comic or something. :laugh:
Our local library has tons of tpbs. Almost rentals but cheaper. :)

Wayne Drake
12-01-2008, 03:41 PM
been noticing this through most of Oct. and all of Nov. It was like every book I liked started costing more. It's gonna be time to narrow my titles. good thing Dark Horse puts out my favorite stuff, and have virtually no ads and are all mostly $2.99