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Author Topic: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics  (Read 656 times)

IndigoPrime

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Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« on: 06 November, 2019, 03:22:00 pm »
This story about Orbital stopping selling weekly comics is quite something. Comic stores in the UK have become something of an endangered species anyway in recent years, but Orbital shifting so much is a bit of a shock. (Brexit, of course, rears its ugly head in the story. And looking at Rebellion, a lot of its stuff is printed in the EU, and so that might impact on the price of our thrills.)

Bolt-01

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #1 on: 06 November, 2019, 03:27:46 pm »
Wow. I don't get many 'floppies' these days. But whenever I'm in Londinium I always make a point of picking up a few from Orbital. It is such a great shop and one of only a few to carry FQP titles.

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #2 on: 06 November, 2019, 03:33:36 pm »
Wow. I don't get many 'floppies' these days.

Wish I could say the same.
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Frank

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #3 on: 06 November, 2019, 05:33:58 pm »

Presumably, they'll be switching to book sales, rather than monthly titles. The comic market is growing, just not in sales of monthly superhero comics aimed at Gen-X and Baby Boomers.

Sales in chain bookstores, mass merchants, major online retailers, and Scholastic Book Fairs, were up by double digits, with sales of kids graphic novels the biggest factor. Sales in comic stores were down very slightly versus the previous year.

Sales of all three formats, comics, graphic novels, and digital, grew in 2018, with graphic novels leading the way, followed at some distance by digital and comics. A historic shift is playing out as the market grew, primarily in the book channel - comics stores represent less than half the market for comics and graphic novels in 2018








Colin YNWA

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #4 on: 06 November, 2019, 09:19:15 pm »
We probably shouldn't be too surprised by this... mind its a shock to an old skool comics fan like myself. If you look at what DC seems (I don't really know) to be focusing on its moving to the YA book audience as these can apparently shift big numbers. I'd imagine the book market is a lot kinder and easier to manage than the monthly grind of ordering comics (all in my head of course I have no idea) and Oribital in that location will attract a much more diverse set of customers so why take up a shed load of space for a complex, shrinking market that appeals to only a small fraction of your footfall...

... some or all of that could be poppycock but it feels right.

As I say though kinda sad to think things are moving this way to an old nerd like me... mind I went into HMV the other day and man the vinyl has taken back over so maybe we just have to be patient!

sintec

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #5 on: 07 November, 2019, 09:56:22 am »
mind I went into HMV the other day and man the vinyl has taken back over so maybe we just have to be patient!

I'd be very cautious about that one. Vinyl is enjoying a resurgence but mostly amongst old (mid 30s plus) music nerds who were buying it anyway and who have a decent disposable income.  There's a small amount of young hipsters buying in for the nostalgia vibe but it's mostly a deluxe collectors edition thing.  And if you look at overall sales the market for physical music is tanking hard compared to the 70s-90s period.

I work writing music software for Akai and we employ loads of young 20 somethings as QA staff, naively you'd expect these guys (yeah sadly all guys, our industries gender balance is way off) to make up the core of the market for new music.  However not one of them regularly buys physical music, it's all about the streaming services like spotify.  If funds are limited why spend £20+ for 1 record when for £10 a month you have access to more music than you could ever listen to and as an added bouns you don't need to devote a wall to shelving to store it all. Even DJs are moving to digital so the dance music market, which for a while was the last stronghold of vinyl sales, is going that way to. Hell even I've done this, sod carry box loads of records about when you can get more choice on a USB stick with the added bonus that carrying it to the gig won't cripple you.

The one thing I'd take from the above graphs is that there isn't as big a move towards digital for comics yet - clearly even the youth prefer to read their comics in physical paper form. But they'd rather buy a single big book collecting a complete arc or several shorter stories than regularly buying the smaller floppies which used to be the mainstay of the market. To continue the music analogy they're moving away from buying 7" singles and onto albums. If the market follows the trends in the music market then the next move would be from physical to digital and from ownership to streaming probably accompanied by a small resurgence in top end expensive collectors editions. So be careful what you wish for there.

IndigoPrime

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #6 on: 07 November, 2019, 10:17:44 am »
The one thing I'd take from the above graphs is that there isn't as big a move towards digital for comics yet - clearly even the youth prefer to read their comics in physical paper form.
It’s an interesting one. I look at people in various circumstances, and it’s pretty clear physical media is – for the most part – dead. My siblings-in-law in Iceland now pay for Spotify but won’t buy another CD ever again. But even in the UK, most are heading in that direction. (Personally, I’ve veered from physical product – I literally never use CDs anymore – but will still occasionally buy one if it’s a nice item, such as the recent Wire issues that were also hardback books; also, I still buy digital albums to support artists I like.)

Telly and movies are also heading rapidly in that direction, and even bypassing the short-run purchase bump that music enjoyed on digital. Well done, everyone in those industries, for fucking everyone with DRM. Music got it, and for a while reaped the rewards. You screwed everyone, and poisoned the well, so now most people don’t want to buy anything.

Books seem to be holding on, as do comics to some extent. Mini-IP (5) has grown up with digital. She knows music as asking Alexa to play something, or her nighttime playlist on the iPod. Her experience of TV is Netflix and ‘BBC’ (what she calls iPlayer) – no ads; no fuss; on tap. She will almost certainly never want to buy an album or a movie, because what’s the point?

Books, though, retain a fascination, and she’s into comics. That’s partly my doing, but she now has a Phoenix sub, and we’ll soon be getting a Beano one as well. The comics are devoured. She regularly takes ten books home from our local library. She knows books exist in digital form, but has shown no interest in that.

However… I do recall chatting with a guy who ran one of the digital comics services, and he was talking about his daughters and their friends. They were – unsurprisingly – big into comics. But they had no expectation of nor interest in ownership. For them, a collection was something that made no sense, given that they had more stuff instantly available than they could ever cope with taking in. So their comics time was always about finding and reading something new.

Depending on how old people here are, how much of your time with media was about investment? You had limited finds, and so bought that album or book, and you experienced it over and over, because you effectively had no choice. You’d try to find something good in a dud, and repeatedly devour a favourite. Things had time to grow on you, too. Now: it’s all about immediacy. The value proposition has shifted. Investment is more or less dead.

Quote
To continue the music analogy they're moving away from buying 7" singles and onto albums. If the market follows the trends in the music market then the next move would be from physical to digital and from ownership to streaming probably accompanied by a small resurgence in top end expensive collectors editions. So be careful what you wish for there.
I suspect this is spot-on. We’re already heading in that direction anyway, with digital comics and the likes of the ‘unlimited’ services. That Comixology’s hasn’t moved beyond the US is probably shoring up some sales elsewhere, but I dod suspect in the long run, comics will be digital (and often streaming-based) in the main, backed by some special editions in HC.

To be honest, I’m part of the problem myself. I buy 2000 AD and the Meg in paper, but that’s about it. I grab collected runs of some series, but have mostly ceased buying softbacks because they just don’t last well. I’m now and in the future only making an exception for series I really love (Brink) and those where the investment is huge, and there’s no viable way of shifting format (Usagi Yojimbo); otherwise, I’m these days in the ‘wait for a HC omnibus’ crowd. Still, at least I’m buying stuff, and not just heading to freecomicsdownloadsforskinflints dot com.

Steve Green

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #7 on: 07 November, 2019, 11:10:13 am »
Yeah, the physical movie side of things did themselves no favours.

Format wars, region locking, unskippable ads/trailers etc.

I'm sure the convenience of streaming (for all its other problems) would have won out eventually, but I don't think it helped making things a pain in the arse for the buyer either.

sintec

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #8 on: 07 November, 2019, 11:16:00 am »
Having had to move house several times in the last decade I have to say I'm questioning the sanity of collecting such a huge horde. Moving ~400kgs of vinyl is no laughing matter and then there's the similarly sized mountain of CDs and 7 bookcases of books. Not that I would part with any of my precious you understand... but I can see the appeal in the mobility and convenience that digital allows.

Depending on how old people here are, how much of your time with media was about investment? You had limited finds, and so bought that album or book, and you experienced it over and over, because you effectively had no choice. You’d try to find something good in a dud, and repeatedly devour a favourite. Things had time to grow on you, too. Now: it’s all about immediacy. The value proposition has shifted. Investment is more or less dead.

This very much this. I think it's a shame that people don't get the time to grow into things in the way we used to. Some things really do get better the more time you invest in them. But equally some things are just pants and I'm sure all of us can remember getting some book/record/film/comic home only to discover it was all hype and no content.

My biggest concern is the way streaming is hitting the indie market - Independent labels/artists are dropping like flies at the moment because streaming just doesn't offer enough income to support them. The majors are doing ok out of it but not spectacularly; those 70s days of hookers, coke and trashing hotel rooms at the labels expense are long gone for example. Most smaller artists are doing this as a hobby and their "rent" is paid from other sources (often entirely separate from the music industry). Not sure how that maps onto the comics market as I've only recently dipped back in after 20 years away but I would be surprised to find its fairly analogous.

Link Prime

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #9 on: 07 November, 2019, 12:46:14 pm »

those 70s days of hookers, coke and trashing hotel rooms at the labels expense are long gone for example.
.....Not sure how that maps onto the comics market


Anyone able to reach Mike Carroll at The Westbury for comment?

Proudhuff

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #10 on: 07 November, 2019, 12:56:51 pm »
And I bet everyone of us still tells our immediate families and SOs that 'the collections will be worth something when i shuffle off'   ;)
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference and the promise of an early bed

JayzusB.Christ

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #11 on: 07 November, 2019, 04:11:29 pm »

those 70s days of hookers, coke and trashing hotel rooms at the labels expense are long gone for example.
.....Not sure how that maps onto the comics market


Anyone able to reach Mike Carroll at The Westbury for comment?


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Colin YNWA

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The Adventurer

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #13 on: 07 November, 2019, 10:58:06 pm »
Aren't digital sales largely unreported (by Marvel/DC at least) though? So its hard to actually track actual sales and impact?

Notable Comics dropping the Week of 01-02-13


Mardroid

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Re: Orbital to stop selling weekly comics
« Reply #14 on: 08 November, 2019, 04:28:29 pm »
They're turning into Mark Millar!

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/11/07/orbital-comics-owner-teases-something-new-for-02-02-2020/

Piranha Comics in Bromley is mentioned in that article! I used to go there quite a bit!