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

February 22, 2005

Go, Read: Hibbs on Bookscan Numbers

Retailer Brian Hibbs' rolled-up sleeves march through a couple sets of Bookscan Numbers does a pretty good job of 1) throwing cold water on certain broad assertions made on the bookstore market's behalf and 2) giving the attentive reader a look into the mindset of at least one comics retailer vis-a-vis that market. However, there are so many caveats offered and tricks of rhetoric employed that it's hard to see this as a definitive statement of any kind; I'm not even sure it's a positive step towards such an understanding.

I don't blame Brian, though. The problem with sorting through pro-direct market and pro-bookstore arguments is that so much of it is willfully uninformed, although in some cases it's the institutions that are withholding information and propagating nonsense, and in some cases it's just some guys on the Internet or in print making stronger claims than they should -- I'm a little bit more sympathetic to the latter. But bascially, when I read Brian claiming that "it's clear that there's still lots of life (and growth!) left in the DM," I can't imagine he heard differently from anyone who matters.

I mean, is there really any conflict here beyond an exercise in combative rhetoric? I would imagine publishers are happy to sell wherever they can, and don't really care where those sales come from, and in fact would prefer to have as many venues as possible. Am I wrong?
posted 7:24 am PST | Permalink

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