A lot of this is stuff we've heard before (often from Hibbs himself), about the publishers chasing the collector's market and trying to increase the number of comics they sell per customer instead of the number of customers, but there have also been big changes in distribution that aren't good for retailers. DC and Marvel both pulled out of Diamond, and while I'm not crazy about Diamond as a monopoly, the problem is that instead of a competitive market now what we're getting is multiple monopolies -- one distributor for DC, another for Marvel, and Diamond (for now) pretty much still being the sole distributor for every other periodical comics publisher.
DC moving to Discount Comic Book Service – the #1 competitor for each and every brick and mortar retailer in America – to be their sole distributor under the name “Lunar” was… disheartening. I’ve no interest in enriching my competition! Further, it did absolutely nothing other than increase costs, even if the “work” remains the same of ordering comics, because you have to do it through two different sources (one of which who wasn’t compatible with almost anyone’s computer systems, so new systems and workarounds have to be devised). And just this month DCBS have announced their new discount terms and because we buy our DC graphic novels from Penguin Random House, we’re about to lose 2% on periodical comics as a result (but switching to DCBS for GNs would cost us way more than that because they charge freight, and PRH doesn’t, and when your main location is majority books and books are much much much heavier than periodicals… well, you do the math).
And PRH, who will be Marvel’s new distributor, doesn’t offer volume-based pricing in the first place. We’re going to be about 2% lower on our Marvel discount when the change happens in October, in addition to adding the expense of a third place from which we will have to order periodicals. All having a second store now does is increase costs, with no tangible benefits.
Well, the new financial terms we’re going to be living under from DCBS and PRH look to me like the sale of the actual content, as opposed to some sense of collectible “value” tied to and wrapped around it, means it just isn’t going to be economically viable for me to continue having a second store that is so tied up in the periodical. I don’t believe that “collectible value” is something true and real, and I have watched literally thousands of stores go out of business chasing that particular illusion (and/or manipulation).