Mark Waid Drops Knowledge About INSANE COST Of Print Comics.

Mark Waid is beginning to win me over. I’ve opined that I can find the chap both insightful and infuriating, but I’m particularly enamored with his pulling back of the veil and exposing the insanity of trying to make the ducets through print comics.

Robot 6:

Mark Waid has started his new blog on digital comics with a summary of the problems facing print publishers. He kicks it off by noting that Diamond has a monopoly on comics distribution, and then goes on to a pretty scary summary of the math of publishing a print comic:

Typically, a non-Premier publisher sells its wares to Diamond at 40-45% of cover price. Let’s say 40%. You’re one of those publishers. That means that if your comic is cover-priced at $3.99 (which, at the moment, seems to be the average bottom threshold), you’re making roughly $1.60 per copy. Which actually doesn’t sound too awful, right? Let’s say you’re not a Bendis- or Millar-level sales superstar but neither are you a total unknown, so you’re selling 5000-6000 copies of each issue, very respectable in this day and age. Less if you’re a brand-new creator with no track record among retailers, but for argument’s sake, let’s say 5-6K. That’s, what, eight or nine grand gross?

But here’s the big bite: at those print-run levels, that comic is costing you around a dollar a copy just to print. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. What’s that? You’ve decided to forego expensive color for cheaper black and white? You’d be surprised how little that lowers the cost. Printing, shipping, and various related charges—that’s where you’re spending more than half your income. More than half. Not on creative, not on marketing, not on advertising, not on all of that put together. On printing the damn thing.

Ooph! Them the raw tits. Such an explanation does several things. It makes me hope that digital distribution takes over and allows talented chaps to make some money off the medium. It makes the entire enterprise seem ludicrous. More than both of those, it makes me respect the people who don’t give a fuck and venture into it anyways even more.