June 3, 2005
One Book to Rule Them All
Book Expo America began yesterday in New York City, and while the love affair between sellers and (certain) comics and manga continues, my guess is that barring the purchase of Tokyopop or something equivalent, the rollout of the Complete Calvin and Hobbes
for this Fall will be the comics publishing story to watch.
Not only should the book be hugely successful, it should be interesting too see how much enthusiasm booksellers can generate for the project. While having the book out where people can see it might be important to the book's success, one can imagine a scenario where many stores pass on hyping it heavily or intensely on their own accord, feeling that the majority of business is going to come from Wal-Mart and Amazon. The book is already discounted under $90 at Wal-Mart, which should put it into the hands of a lot of people that couldn't afford it at the $150 list and also attract savvier buyers. The books look beautiful, contain a bit of new work, and should benefit from intense targeted publicity, so I would't worry too much about the overall success of the project, but rather the degree.
I'm guessing other news that might be worth noting are more feel from the floor kind of things about who is showing and how heavily and what is being emphasized. Two years ago, Marvel's sad-sack representation, particularly when compared to the manga publishers, kind of prefigured that company's present direction in the book market. DC's changes in sales and marketing may give them a new look. Drawn and Quarterly has a new distributor (although I'm unsure if they will be there.) My guess is that Fantagraphics will be previewing their Ketcham collection in some manner. NBM's Papercutz has a new distributor so how they're presented might be interesting. Diamond gets sturdier every year... and so on. I think comics is at least past the stunned-at-the-applause stage. Heidi's preview is here.
Down in Pennsylvania, Wizardworld Philadelphia
should allow mainstream comic book publishers a final chance to hype summer event books to the direct market, and generally try to out-hype each other with publishing news of the who's-doing-what variety. Preview at Newsarama.
posted 7:48 am PST
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