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  1. #1
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    Default Price of Comic Books

    From World War II to 1961, comic books were 10 cents. During the war, that was equivalent to about $1.50 today. In 1961 it was equivalent to about 80 cents today. When they upped the price to 12 cents the same year, that was equivalent to about $1.00.

    In the late 70's, the price of comic books had gone up to 35 cents. That was equivalent to today's $1.40.

    By the mid-80's comics were 75 cents, which was equivalent to $1.75.

    So as you can see, throughout the decades, comics have cost an average of today's $1.50. Computers have made comic book production costs less. Yet most single issue comic books are now between $3 and $5!!! Why is this?

  2. #2
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    Fans, very vocally, demanded writers, artist, and the creative teams be paid more. They are paid better, although much less than they would like and you still have fans demanding better pay for all involved.

    Of course no one wants to actually pay more for comics, regardless of their stance on the pay issue. In my opinion comics do cost too much, adjusting for inflation it's insane what they are charging. But it's not going back. They will only get more expensive.

  3. #3
    Mad scientist Carabas's Avatar
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    Comicbook cover prices are more determined by what fans will put up with than by what they actually need to cost to make a decent profit.

    https://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/06...ness%E2%80%9D/
    So this Zealot comes to my door, all glazed eyes and clean reproductive organs, asking me if I ever think about God. So I tell him I killed God. I tracked God down like a rabid dog, hacked off his legs with a hedge trimmer, and boiled off his corpse in an acid bath. So he pulls an alternating-current taser on me and tells me that only the Official Serbian Church of Tesla can save my polyphase intrinsic electric field, known to non-engineers as "the soul". So I hit him. What would you do?

  4. #4
    Veteran Member rui no onna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    Comicbook cover prices are more determined by what fans will put up with than by what they actually need to cost to make a decent profit.

    https://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/06...ness%E2%80%9D/
    Which is a pretty myopic view. They've sacrificed casual fans for hardcore fans who will pay through the nose to get their superhero fix and now it's kinda biting them in the ass.
    Currently Following:
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  5. #5
    Elder Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    This is one of the reasons I think OGNs like the Earth-One books are the way to go.
    Six or seven months worth of comics material, with hardcovers priced at $25 and softovers at around $15, released once or twice a year.

    It could follow a similar approach as music albums, and digital chapters could be released between the hardcover and softcover release at $2 a chapter.

    Example: Justice League #1 (Hardcover), 144 pgs, $25, released in January. Then every two weeks, beginning the week before the Hardcover release, each chapter gets released digitally for $2 each, with the first chapter also serving as a promo for the Hardcover release. And the Softcover edition is released the same week as the final chapter hits digital (about three or four months after the Hardcover).
    Then three months later, release the Hardcover of Justice League #2 (and begin its digital serialization).

    This would increase hardcover sales, because they would be seen as the first source of new material, and it would reduce cost (getting a bigger book printed, bypassing the cost of floppies altogether and only needing one cover art instead of seven).
    And digital readers would get a drop in price at the expense of waiting for each chapter. Some may even jump to the Hardcover to read it sooner, or use the cheaper digital issues to sample before buying the Hardcover or Softcover.
    "The truest and sweetest things in life are not those which we see, but of which we dream." -Édouard René de Laboulaye.
    Currently on my digital bookshelf: Arion, Fantastic Four (60s), Forever People (70s), Hulk (60s), Journey into Mystery (60s), Mister Miracle (70s), New Gods (70s), Strange Tales (60s), Swamp Thing (70s & 80s), Tales to Astonish (60s), Titans, Titans Hunt.

  6. #6
    Elder Member DebkoX's Avatar
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    When I buy a comic, I see it as;

    £3 = Subway meal or a comic book.

    Subway often wins.
    That is the land of lost content, I see it shining plain, the happy highways where I went and cannot come again.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member dancj's Avatar
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    I think there are many reasons for the higher prices.

    Creators are no longer working stupid hours for pathetic pay.

    Sales figures are much lower so they need to get more money per copy to cover their costs.

    Diamond

    Higher quality paper

    Higher quality printing.

    According to what I remember reading in a Permanent Damage column years ago, paper used to be dirt cheap because it was used as a front for mob money and they wound up with loads of paper to get rid of.

    Greed (particularly in Marvel's case)

    Shift in market. They used to be aimed more at kids so prices needed to be lower.

  8. #8
    Swollen Member GOLGO 13's Avatar
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    I started buying comics when they were still .25 cents. I also remember when they were thicker than a quarter.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    Comicbook cover prices are more determined by what fans will put up with than by what they actually need to cost to make a decent profit.

    https://www.bleedingcool.com/2009/06...ness%E2%80%9D/
    Just curious, what do you think would be a fair price point?

    $2.99 to $3.99 I feel is appropriate. I doubt we will get 40 pg issues at those prices and I'd like to see less splash pages. I do not like digital prices being the same for a variety of reasons but that is not likely to change.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member WillieMorgan's Avatar
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    There are several reasons for that.

    To sum it up, back in those earlier periods of comic-book history that you mentioned, comics were produced very quickly and cheaply by creators that were seriously underpaid for their talents. Frankly, it's amazing that they were as good as they were. Talk about professional pride. These comics were printed on cheap, low-grade paper for a younger mass market audience that could afford to pay for them with their pocket money. They were, quite literally, pulp fiction. You could pick up a comic anywhere that you could also buy a newspaper, some cigarettes or a can of pop. And they were very affordable.

    As time passed things started to change. There were initiatives started to, quite rightfully, get creators better credited for their work and better paid also. Many young fans found that, as they got older, they couldn't give up their hobby. Many continued to read well into adulthood and they now had the wherewithal to purchase several books a month. The industry had got them hooked at a young age and they didn't grow out of it. Finally, the old business model wasn't yielding decent profits anymore and change was needed.

    Comic-books either evolved or died and it chose to do the former. It had developed an older audience over time that demanded better quality books to suit our more 'adult' tastes and that gradually got them, on better quality paper and with better production values. This made the books more expensive and turned the industry into a niche one. Only hard-core fans are going to spend 3 or 4 quid at a time on more adventurous 'decompressed' comic-book storylines that can last for months and are almost like chapters of a book being released every month. I mean that quite literally as stories are now written just as much for the 'trade' collections that are released soon afterwards as they are for the monthly direct market. To service this niche audience specialist comic-book shops opened up around the world and the industry's distribution model changed completely. Which is where we are now. For now.
    Last edited by WillieMorgan; 04-21-2017 at 12:21 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillieMorgan View Post
    There are several reasons for that.

    To sum it up, back in those earlier periods of comic-book history that you mentioned, comics were produced very quickly and cheaply by creators that were seriously underpaid for their talents. Frankly, it's amazing that they were as good as they were. Talk about professional pride. These comics were printed on cheap, low-grade paper for a younger mass market audience that could afford to pay for them with their pocket money. They were, quite literally, pulp fiction. You could pick up a comic anywhere that you could also buy a newspaper, some cigarettes or a can of pop. And they were very affordable.

    As time passed things started to change. There were initiatives started to (quite rightfully) get creators better credited for their work and better paid also. Many young fans found that, as they got older, they couldn't give up their hobby. Many continued to read well into adulthood and they now had the wherewithal to purchase several books a month. The industry had got them hooked at a young age and they didn't grow out of it. Finally, the old business model wasn't yielding decent profits anymore and change was needed.

    Comic-books either evolved or died and it chose the former. We demanded better quality books to suit our more 'adult' tastes and gradually got them, on better quality paper and better production values. This made the books more expensive and turned the industry into a niche one. Which is where we are now.
    Excellent points. I'm one of those that got hooked as a kid and demanded more adult stories as I got older.

    I'll ask, what would you consider fair pricing?

    I will say this, even though it's a niche market and it seems (to me) there are less buyers you do have a wide age range of books to purchase. I buy books for myself and my 8 yr old daughter. The quality of the books being offered to her age group are light years ahead of what used to be produced for kids. Naturally they should cost more per unit than they used too.

    Also, should digital cost less than floppies? I believe they should even if it's only by 25 or 50 cents.

  12. #12
    Mad scientist Carabas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stain View Post
    Just curious, what do you think would be a fair price point?

    $2.99 to $3.99 I feel is appropriate. I doubt we will get 40 pg issues at those prices and I'd like to see less splash pages. I do not like digital prices being the same for a variety of reasons but that is not likely to change.
    Anything over 2.99 is just crazy money for 10 sheets of paper and two staples. Especially since its ad-supported.
    So this Zealot comes to my door, all glazed eyes and clean reproductive organs, asking me if I ever think about God. So I tell him I killed God. I tracked God down like a rabid dog, hacked off his legs with a hedge trimmer, and boiled off his corpse in an acid bath. So he pulls an alternating-current taser on me and tells me that only the Official Serbian Church of Tesla can save my polyphase intrinsic electric field, known to non-engineers as "the soul". So I hit him. What would you do?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
    Anything over 2.99 is just crazy money for 10 sheets of paper and two staples. Especially since its ad-supported.
    Agreed, that's fair (although I think $3.99 will be the norm) I openly admit I was willing to give Rebirth a try due to price. I hadn't bought an Aquaman book on over decade, now I have the entire Rebirth run. I gave lots of Rebirth titles a chance and settled on a few for my pull list. $2.99 was a huge reason for it.

  14. #14
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    You want to lower the prices?

    1. simply give the creators minimum wage pay.

    2. Instead of the glossy paper, use the cheaper newsprint paper quality similar to the Japanese manga anthology magazines also known as"zasshi".

    3. Merge 4 or 5 comic books into an anthology similar to the Japanese anthology magazines called "zasshi".

    4. Not using the coloring saves the costs.

  15. #15
    Veteran Member WillieMorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stain View Post
    Excellent points. I'm one of those that got hooked as a kid and demanded more adult stories as I got older.

    I'll ask, what would you consider fair pricing?

    I will say this, even though it's a niche market and it seems (to me) there are less buyers you do have a wide age range of books to purchase. I buy books for myself and my 8 yr old daughter. The quality of the books being offered to her age group are light years ahead of what used to be produced for kids. Naturally they should cost more per unit than they used too.

    Also, should digital cost less than floppies? I believe they should even if it's only by 25 or 50 cents.
    I think anything over $4 (or the English equivalent that I pay) is a bit much. You can make the odd exception with annuals and specials and the like but anything over that figure is pushing it too far for me.

    Thing is, I mix and match the way I read titles. There are the monthly (or currently bi-monthly) titles that I just don't want to miss. As my avatar shows I love the Green Lantern franchise. Aquaman too. I'm gonna buy those titles every month. I'm not waiting another six months for those stories. There are other things that I'm not as fervent about though and am perfectly willing to wait for the trade for, which is obviously cheaper. That's one good thing about the current set-up. You can choose different ways to pursue this hobby according to your budget.

    Like digital. I'm not into it myself, I prefer to hold a physical copy of something. I do think that reading digitally should be cheaper though certainly.

    I'm totally with you in that it's important that there are quality books available for your daughter. Although it's not remotely aimed at me, I thought that DC Superhero Girls was a magic idea. I hope your little girl loves that type of thing.
    Last edited by WillieMorgan; 04-21-2017 at 11:56 AM.

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