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

November 7, 2007

Brian Wood on Comics Sales Figures Discrepancies and Summary Analyses

A few of you have e-mailed links to this post by the creator Brian Wood, who has been on the record in the past about the inaccuracy of sales estimates and the damage that can be caused by people making summary statements about those inaccurate figures.

imageIt's a position for which it's easy to find a great deal of sympathy. Beyond the principle of the matter, Wood like many creators tends to work in an area of comics where someone not figuring in 2500 in reorders can change the entire picture of how his projects are doing. If that fact, or the reporting of that fact, costs him any traction in any comic shops, that's an unfortunate thing. Avoidable, too. Further, Wood appears totally cognizant that a lot of this could be solved if the publishers made accurate sales information available, either generally or to a specific agency, but seems to be saying just because there's frustration with the lack of better information, it shouldn't mean he has to suffer unfairly. I agree with him.

It's a good mini-essay, and I hope everyone will read it.

The reason that companies should be castigated for being secretive about their numbers isn't that they owe readers numbers, but that 1) releasing them in a reasonable way is an act of good industry citizenship that would benefit people in making accurate decisions, and 2) they frequently seek to gain advantages by not releasing them, and in many cases I feel they do this in unethical ways.
posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

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