Preorder or Perish, part 1

We’re living in an amazing time for comics. Readers can get their favorite titles in a variety of formats, from the traditional single issue to trade paperbacks, and a variety of digital formats. Comics are being adapted into other mediums and embraced by the general public. The creator/reader relationship has never been closer, thanks to the growth in conventions and the accessibility that social media brings.

The possibilities feel endless.

But comics, particularly those published outside of the Big Two, largely still live and die by their print preorders.

The days of being able to browse every new book on the stands are over. Retailer margins are thin and they need to carefully consider what to order for their store. Simply put, if a title doesn’t get decent preorder numbers, the publisher may not be able to justify printing the book at a loss. And it may be cancelled before it reaches the “New This Week” rack.

The best way that you can be assured of getting your favorite books is to let your local comic shop know what you want them to order for you. You can do this by starting a pull list at your shop or just asking your retailer to order it for you. And many creators provide order forms for you to print and take to your LCS.

(This isn’t entirely on readers. My next post will talk about what creators can do to justify your preorders.)

In the meantime, I’d like to try an experiment. If you plan on preordering independent comics, share what you’re ordering via social media and use the hashtag #PreorderIndie

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