Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 18, 2007

Analysis: Geppi to York, Countdown Pop

* about a half dozen people wrote in to CR concerning yesterday's story that Steve Geppi was moving a part of his business across the Pennsylvania state line and into York. Most, including one person admitting they were drunk at the keyboard, wrote in to make further fun of the assertion in the press release that York was a dynamic and emerging town. One person even pointed out a recent surge in murders there.

Two others made the point that it's not just a Gemstone move but a reincorporation of Gemstone Publishing, Hake's Americana & Collectibles, Morphy Auctions and Diamond International Galleries into a single entity, Geppi Entertainment. That's where the move begins to make more sense. Hake's was founded in York, and Morphy Auctions is already in Pennsylvania. So in addition to the potential savings in warehouse space, office space and perhaps even workforce costs, Diamond likely stands a chance to make things easier for more of these companies' traditional management employees who were commuting to Maryland or working at an outside location.

* of the reasons I proposed why there might have been a jump in sales of Countdown, a weekly series that had until August's issues been defined by a careening, down-the-charts free fall, Marc-Oliver Frisch believes my fourth answer, the one that there's a timed, structural initiative built into the series sales strategy that made itself known, is likely closest to the truth.
Countdown sales in August follow pretty much the same pattern as the sales of 52 a year ago: With the 13th issue, there's a sudden 20 percent increase, for no apparent reason.

What's been suggested to me, and what I think makes sense, is that it's because the first twelve issues of each series were made returnable by DC (provided retailers ordered a specific amount, and at a 10 percent fee per returned copy, mind you), which made Diamond bump off a token 20 percent from the actual numbers for their charts.

In fairness, I've only heard it from one source. But it seems reliable, and I'm inclined to believe it, because it fits the numbers precisely.
So: that's a theory. I always want to lie down when I start thinking about direct market numbers, but I would imagine that if this theory were true, it might indicate something odd about how such sales initiatives are used.
posted 2:06 am PST | Permalink

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