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Old 2006-09-14, 02:28 PM   #201
Neuronutter
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Does anyone know if there any stats for the sales of the Beast Wars TPB yet? How well do TPBs usually sell relative to the comics? My local FPI had loads of copies of the TPB, priced way too high, but they seem to have shifted well. How well do Publishers do from these sales compared to the monthlies and do they see an increase in sales of Monthlies as a knock on from the TPBs?
 
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Old 2006-09-14, 09:04 PM   #202
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Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
Are we sure that there really is that big a difference in scale of operations between the two?
As far as I'm aware, Dark Horse has a bigger roster of ongoing properties -- including a lot of manga. As someone else mentioned, DH also already has SW story arcs complete and TPBs in print (and plenty of their own material, not putting out those of a previous company. I recall reading about SW comics when I was in college, so they've had the license for some time.)

Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
Star Wars also has toys, but more importantly, novels. Star Wars novels likely catch a good deal of the SW dollar.
It's a franchise many times the size of Transformers, with a much larger degree of cross-generational appeal and distinct demographics. (Sidenote: I'd lay you good odds that Transformers couldn't support a line of novels in the same way and to the same extent as SW, even if the people who patched together the three existing official full-lengthers were replaced with competent writers.)

A percent of adult SW fans buying SW comics is a lot more than a percent of adult TF fans buying TF comics. Additionally, books and comics are the way the fiction continues, and from what people I know who read them have said there's a fairly tight continuity. With TFs, the primary current fiction is whatever supports the latest main product line, and there's a great deal of subdivision: 'G1', BW, UT, separate comic/show timelines, etc. It's a process of constant fragmentation designed to keep successive series distinct and get people buying the toys. The "point" of SW for its right-holders is the fiction and merchandising. The "point" of Transformers for Hasbro is simply the toys.

Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
the cost of the Star Wars license must be higher than Transformers.
I'd expect it to be, but then I'd expect a license such as 24 with millions more adult eyeballs on it than TFs to as well. I don't think the reality necessarily matches up with what's intuitive.

Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
If Hasbro doesn't adjust the cost of their license to IDW, it will no longer be in IDW's interest to have a TF comic
Possibly. Look at it another way, though -- IDW's first priority is to pay off the initial one-off cost of the license; the more rapidly they can do that, the more secure their cashflow and the more likely the license will have a long future with them.

I think it's very likely artists/colourists will be on a standard per-page rate, and Simon probably gets a consultation sum (for promo material, etc) as well as a per-page/per-book rate. Trialling different artists is one flexibility the company does have.

Quote:
Originally posted by Neuronutter
Does anyone know if there any stats for the sales of the Beast Wars TPB yet?
Sales through speciality comics shops aren't very useful -- as far as I'm aware, they don't include either online stores such as Amazon or brick-and-mortar bookstores. Speaking personally, I've only ever bought a couple of trades from comic stores, because they're significantly more expensive on a lot of stuff than Amazon.

DC has a long history of supporting books as singles (particularly in the Vertigo line) that they recoup cost/profit from as trades. Their demographics generally don't buy cape books, and don't even tend to frequent comics stores -- walking into B&N/Waterstones/etc or ordering online is much more common.

TFs attract a lot of fans that buy cape books, but anecdotally there's a sizeable minority that only tend to buy TFs and no other type of singles. I'm one of them; I much prefer trades, but I buy TFs as singles for the conversation.
 
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Old 2006-09-14, 09:31 PM   #203
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer
Sidenote: I'd lay you good odds that Transformers couldn't support a line of novels in the same way and to the same extent as SW, even if the people who patched together the three existing official full-lengthers were replaced with competent writers.
I'd say the lack of Hardwired and those other two being continued is actual solid proof... from what I gather from talking to a few SW fans who aren't mad completist bastards, lots of the novels are very poor and written by hacks of a similar level to Ciencin - jobbing franchise types, basically - the Star Wars hardcore fandom is big enough to basically keep lots of these books (NOTE TO ANY INDIGNANT AND VERY STUPID SW FANS - I'M NOT SAYING ALL THE BOOKS ARE CRAP OR ANYTHING), whereas hardcore Transformers fans couldn't keep one series going... I mean, SW fandom have managed to support series based around an obscure comedy-named plank like Biggs Darklighter; could Transformers do the same for, I dunno, Overdrive?

If the fandom was big enough, the poor quality of the three official novels wouldn't have stopped them from continuing.

That said, I'm not sure how much trades will supplement IDW's issue sales... the figures quoted on the site for DW really aren't especially impressive. I know TPB sales are cumulative rather than "mainly within a month", but I just don't think hardly anyone who owns the issues will be buying them in that form, and can't see the readership growing enough to generate a significant number of people going back and buying previous trades. Paper quality of original issues is so good (and most people look after their comics so well nowadays) that many people won't be fussed about the advantages of TPBs over issues, and it could well be very easy to track down reduced back issues and save a bomb over the TPB cover price (which I would guess happened a lot with the DW stuff).
 
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Old 2006-09-14, 10:12 PM   #204
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Happened -- I got a few MTMTE issues for a quid apiece at a convention and made a decent profit on eBay later -- but prices for early DW issues have crept back up from what I've seen.

A main market for trades is people who weren't prepared to lay down for another comics series sight-unseen after what happened with DW. Infiltration's likely to look a bit more attractive with the way the continuity ties together, the trades will have supplanted Titan reprints on bookstore shelves when Transformers is a big name next year -- not a huge boost but some, and there's some interesting speculation with the small-size B&W volumes -- I'm really curious how they'll do over the course of, say, a year.
 
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Old 2006-09-16, 06:02 PM   #205
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer

A main market for trades is people who weren't prepared to lay down for another comics series sight-unseen after what happened with DW. Infiltration's likely to look a bit more attractive with the way the continuity ties together, the trades will have supplanted Titan reprints on bookstore shelves when Transformers is a big name next year -- not a huge boost but some, and there's some interesting speculation with the small-size B&W volumes -- I'm really curious how they'll do over the course of, say, a year.
Well, now that the trade for Infiltration is out (which I can't seem to find as my comic guy didn't order any), it will be interesting to see where it places in Septembers Top 100 TPB's list.

Incidentally, does anyone know if IDW generates revenue from any other venture aside from comic and TPB publishing?
 
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Old 2006-09-16, 06:23 PM   #206
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From what I can gather, any real Transformer fan just sends them money for existing

Quote:
Posted by the Denyer, a bit up

A main market for trades is people who weren't prepared to lay down for another comics series sight-unseen after what happened with DW. Infiltration's likely to look a bit more attractive with the way the continuity ties together
Genuine befuddlement here... Are you saying someone's going to be more willing to pay 15 to sample a story than 2 for a smaller sample? I can think of very, very few things I've done this for (erm, Watchmen and V for Vendetta is the list) and I don't see the logic applying for something that received as lukewarm a reception as Infiltration did (it'll get the Prime Directive treatment given a year, mark my words...).

As for the continuity tying together, surely there's just as much potential for the IDW continuity to come apart from the seems after 20~ issues - on top of which, I'm not sure how many problems the more casual fan would have with the DW continuity either. Or are you talking about Inactivation, Stormbringer, Escalation, the spotlight books etc. will be easier to market as one continuity than the DW stuff that shared a continuity (G1, War Within)?

Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
 
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Old 2006-09-16, 06:49 PM   #207
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
Mostly. I'm saying that people will wait until they can stroll along to Amazon (or other convenient place) and read reviews, with the added bonus that trades for a six/seven issue story are cheaper than the issues.

Quote:
it'll get the Prime Directive treatment given a year
By not including wall-to-wall stupidity, it's probably side-stepped that.

Those who've read Stormbringer have a few additional handles on Infiltration as it's the same timeline; those who've picked up Stormbringer on the strength of reviews it's received will probably ultimately pick up Infiltration, particularly if they find they like Escalation. It fits into place and makes more sense as more material ties into it.

It's possible that the DW ongoing spurred a few people to pick up TWW with McDonough's unheralded flashbacks, but I think it less likely -- there wasn't any particular effort by Pat's company to tie things together until the Datatracks Annual, which never got published.
 
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Old 2006-09-16, 08:19 PM   #208
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RE: Prime Directive comparison... I'm not talking so much the quality of it, I mean more the reception... Lots of people were so damned pleased Vol. 1 even existed (if you read a lot of the contemporary threads, the negative views were very much in the minority, and several of the defence team have since made a habit of slagging the thing off, without wanting to name any names), they gave it an easy ride, before slagging it off when later material came along, and I think with some people the same will happen with Infiltration, and if Escalation's any good, Infiltration's going to be held up to show how much it's improved, even though the same people were lauding it first time around.

But I get what you're saying about the TPBs now. I mean, there must be only a fistful of sites even attempting to review Infiltration as it comes out (and that's probably even counting "efforts" like my cross-posting antics), and even if there were I'm not sure how many more casual fans would accept Transformers site reviews as much of a barometer - without wanting to suggest TF site reviews are lacking, let's just say that if I wanted to find out which Star Trek film to buy on DVD, I wouldn't check out a Star Trek fan site to find which one.

I'd argue with cheaper, though - that's only on cover, and many shops reduce back issues after only a few months - even then, it's usually a matter of a bit of change. And lots of trades have bonus features along the lines of "foreword from some guy who has nothing to do with the material inside" too - have IDW announced anything particularly spiffy for the Infiltration TPB? Anything that's going to appeal beyond the converted?

That said, IDW have the distinct advantage of being able to number the "G1" TPBs, as they follow linearly along...

I think I get it now, but I'm afraid I just can't see trades being a massive help Thankfully, IDW seem to be doing alright on single-issue sales as long as there's no drastic drop in sales. I just don't think, even with the movie (a discussion we've all had many times elsewhere), this book is ever going to be a smash, but then it doesn't need to be - I doubt the Marvel book made many waves sales-wise after the first mini, and that ran for 80 issues, probably with a smaller "hardcore" fanbase to boot (and without any significant overseas sales). I know circumstances are different and the license is probably much more, but IDW have experience with this sort of thing.
 
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Old 2006-09-16, 09:58 PM   #209
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
if Escalation's any good, Infiltration's going to be held up to show how much it's improved
Not personally, because I've cottoned on to the the fact "different" and "better" mean different things. The parts of Inf that excited me probably weren't the things that excited other people, though. The parts that pissed me off most were the production values.

I'd agree some people will render comparisons of the form "this one has gun battles in it and Megatron is in lots too and they hold a race to see which Prime is real like I remember". That's fair enough -- most classics are routinely outsold by Harry Potter, and the average joe reviewing both would likely claim the latter is objectively better.

In the same way I take Ben Yee's reviews with a bit of salt because he's so goddamn nice, people probably take some of mine in a similar manner for running counter to their opinion.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
if I wanted to find out which Star Trek film to buy on DVD, I wouldn't check out a Star Trek fan site to find which one.
I'd wait until I'd seen them, personally -- but for stuff where this isn't possible, I generally google (getting specific film sites) and cross-reference with Amazon. The former tend to be more biased, the latter more ill-informed. Consistently high ratings tend to indicate something decent, though friend reviews still count higher.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
many shops reduce back issues after only a few months
Stores actively keeping back issues on-site seems to be an increasingly rare situation.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
have IDW announced anything particularly spiffy for the Infiltration TPB? Anything that's going to appeal beyond the converted?
Haven't seen any announcement of contents for any of them. Page counts suggest some production material.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
That said, IDW have the distinct advantage of being able to number the "G1" TPBs
Yes. Separate series may be good for retailers, but it's confusion for readers.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
I think I get it now, but I'm afraid I just can't see trades being a massive help
Taking a quick glance along the shelf nearest to me: Invincible, Planetary, LoEF, Fables, StormWatch, Authority, Sandman, Transmet, GenX -- I've never bought any of those as singles, and the largest reason is that I wasn't around for issue one. Once someone's bought a trade of something, the probability is that they'll stick to trades for that title in future. Walking into the nearest comic store to me -- there are floor-to-ceiling shelves of trades upstairs, and a smattering of issues going back a month or two downstairs. It generally isn't possible to easily lay hands on the start of a six-issue series in a store if you aren't there from the beginning.

I honestly think that with an aging comics-buying population, for many series the singles (and scans of singles, for the slightly more tech-savvy) function as adverts for the trades, for a lot of customers. More than a few comics professionals seem to have arrived at the same conclusion -- in fact, at the smallest publisher end of the scale, producers such as the Foglios have quit singles altogether in favour of online publishing and TPB collections. Trades being available is also a vital situation for readers coming to a title a few issues into the run, since most people don't actively hunt for back issues. (Partly a behavioural change -- they expect trades now.)

Singles will probably always have a future of some kind, but at the very least there's now a major division of publisher income between the formats on a lot of titles.
 
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Old 2006-09-17, 03:11 AM   #210
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cliffjumper
Or are you talking about Inactivation



Quote:
Thankfully, IDW seem to be doing alright on single-issue sales as long as there's no drastic drop in sales. I just don't think, even with the movie (a discussion we've all had many times elsewhere), this book is ever going to be a smash, but then it doesn't need to be
Except I think Hasbro's perspective on Transformers is that it IS a smash hit, and sales should reflect that. Likely, the cost of their license does too.

This price hike by IDW doesn't bode well, IMO. Others can say it's status quo for IDW to charge that much, but it ain't going to fly with the fickle TF fanbase. I trust that IDW knows what they are doing, but let's pray this is the end of such aggressive adjustments.

Why do I have concerns?

First sign: Decreasing sales. Stormbringer #1 should outsell Infiltration #6 by a mile. Hopefully, the reorders will show this. If not.....

Second sign: Price hike. Something that strikes me as a somewhat desperate move, but probably a necessary one. Chris Ryall himself has said that if we want our TF comics, it is a necessary move.

But who here thinks this "necessary move' will be the right move?

Given the character of IDW, I don't see the other signs coming to pass. Namely, unpaid or late paid employees. IDW ain't DW, that much is certain. If the TF comic is on tenuous ground, IDW will let us know about it.

IDW has done the best they can. My finger is pointed squarely at Hasbro if they aren't fair with IDW regarding the licensure costs.

It will be my middle finger.
 
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Old 2006-09-18, 10:59 PM   #211
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Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
Stormbringer #1 should outsell Infiltration #6 by a mile.
It won't be a mile. Hopefully will be some.

Don't think the pricing reflects desperation, per se, but I doubt very much that IDW intend to be (or will be) paying off an initial downpayment past the point projected in the business plan. They might like a joke as much as anyone, but they're professionals rather than trying to make it all up as they go along and getting distracted by shiny cars...
 
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Old 2006-09-18, 11:45 PM   #212
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Sales rank in for August. And yes, I'm daring to give sales ESTIMATES based on last months ICV2 numbers:

104 TRANSFORMERS STORMBRINGER #2 24,000 copies
114 TRANSFORMERS EVOLUTIONS HEARTS O/STEEL #2 22,000 copies
116 G.I.JOE VS TRANSFORMERS VOL 3 ART O/WAR #5 (Of 5) 21,500 copes
120 TRANSFORMERS EVOLUTION HEARTS O/STEEL #3 20,200 copies
160 TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS #6 12,100 copies
257 TRANSFORMERS INFILTRATION COVER GALLERY 3,200 copies


Not a single title in the top 100.

And no increased sales from reorders from Stormbringer #1 in the top 300.
 

Last edited by Commander Shockwav; 2006-09-18 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 2006-09-19, 12:09 AM   #213
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What was the estimate for the 300th title?

The market in general has a block of titles on an upswing if 24,000 doesn't enter the top hundred. For the last three "confirmed" months, that spot was 94/95, 89/90, 92/93.

Hearts of Steel has done okay on the basis of those estimates, outselling #1 with #2. Generations would also have risen slightly.

edit:

The general settling at ~20K for original non-main books suggests that the best way to increase overall sales might be to offer more titles per month, ideally core continuity. The spotlights should be a good thing as long as they're consistently as attractive to readers as the Shockwave one.

Which I still haven't got thanks to my store's order (~100 copies) being erased by Diamond rather than their data-entry gimp query a number on the order form.
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 01:00 AM   #214
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer

The general settling at ~20K for original non-main books suggests that the best way to increase overall sales might be to offer more titles per month, ideally core continuity. The spotlights should be a good thing as long as they're consistently as attractive to readers as the Shockwave one.
Ah yes, the Dreamwave 'saturate the market' strategy. I have been proposing this since day one, but most were thinking this would be a bad thing. The more TF titles, the better IMO, as long as expenses can be minimized (don't overprint, don't hire too many writers, artists, etc

Quote:
Which I still haven't got thanks to my store's order (~100 copies) being erased by Diamond rather than their data-entry gimp query a number on the order form.
Dude, that sucks.
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 01:05 AM   #215
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Quote:
Originally posted by Denyer
What was the estimate for the 300th title?
Well, the 300th title last month sold 1,681 copies.

The 300th title this month, with the same estimate method, would place it at last months 273 ranked position.
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 01:14 AM   #216
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Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
Ah yes, the Dreamwave 'saturate the market' strategy.
Not really saturation -- we've gone from "one main, one out-of-continuity" to "two main, one out-of-continuity" starting up this month, which seems a good ratio and one I'd be keen to see maintained; ~40 pages a month of story.

Broadening the appeal of Generations would be a good move; I can only suppose that the main reason for US stories first as a block is because the title wouldn't transition very well from UK-->US, but vice versa is more do-able.

Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
as long as expenses can be minimized (don't overprint, don't hire too many writers, artists, etc
I think only Furman's on a retainer, so overhiring shouldn't be a factor. IDW don't seem inclined to overprint and get stuck sitting on stock.

300<-->273 is a pretty big swing.
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 01:15 AM   #217
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oops, double post
 
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Old 2006-09-19, 09:18 AM   #218
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Estimates look high again (There's no way Hearts of Steel has increased it sales on the second issue), I doubt Stormbringer will be higher that 21,000.
 
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Old 2006-09-20, 03:27 PM   #219
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104 TRANSFORMERS STORMBRINGER #2: 20,415
114 TRANSFORMERS HOS #2: 18,573
116 GI JOE/TF ART of War #5: 18,208
120 TRANSFORMERS HOS #3: 17,085
160 TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS #6: 10,203

I think these figures might be telling of something.

I'm starting to believe that there actually were nonTF fans buying Infiltration. It outperformed any of the "fanboy" titles like Stormbringer or Hearts of Steel. That last Infiltration issue actually outsold Stormbringer #1. Huh.

I hope the strategy of raising the price to $3.99 doesn't kill the TF comic. My fear is that move could be the nail in the coffin.....again.

Licensur....er, licensing costs. That's the real issue.

IDW should meet with Hasbro to discuss lowering these costs.

I really feel its our only hope of having this sucker last beyond two to three years.

Another frustrating thing is to see Conan, for example, consistently sell 30,000 copies month in and month out. Red Sonja as well.

I mean, hell man, there has to be more TF fans out there then Conan, surely?
 

Last edited by Commander Shockwav; 2006-09-20 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 2006-09-20, 03:45 PM   #220
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Invincible's an excellent title (the only cape book I really follow at all) that doesn't sell singles strongly by comparison with a lot of books -- but I'd guess a lot of buyers are, like me, picking it up in trades. Really huge nice hardback trades.
Quote:
Originally posted by Commander Shockwav
That last Infiltration issue actually outsold Stormbringer #1.
Maybe. There's variance of 1500-2000 copies due to the cut-off; it has to be a slow month (eg, June, when 1592 registered for Generations #3) for reorders to show up.

I don't think that minis help for a main storyline; but if they have to run minis to get stores to stock the books in the first place, a company is over a barrel.

Taking a break between Infiltration and Escalation for Stormbringer probably won't help the casual buyer, who sees the story they were picking up disappear for four months. On the plus side, it's explained in the back of the issue with the concluding part of Infiltration.

Trade paperback sales are going to be important, and there's no way of tracking them because most are made through bookstores and online.
 
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