Blah Blah Blog – When More Is Less

A post from my ancient Marvel blog talking about the mistaken impression some readers occasionally have as to what contributes to the cover price for their comics.

When More is Less

October 1, 2009 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

There’s an interesting quirk in the way people think where sometimes, more is perceived as less–well, I find it interesting, at least. For example, as most everybody knows, we’ve had a number of books increase in price to $3.99 an issue for our standard package. Not news that anybody really loves, but a fact of life. However, on occasion, we’ll add to the page count and put in some additional content, typically something reprinted, either from sources like the Marvel Handbook or entire vintage stories. And you know, people complain far, far more about these reprints than they do the books that have no additional content in them.

It’s in interesting insight into the way we evaluate the things we buy. In the case of a book like, say, NEW AVENGERS, people will naturally grumble about the price increase, but they understand it as the cost of doing business-the cost of getting the story and the product that they want. But were we to start adding in vintage reprints, or interviews, or ancillary material of this sort, the outcry would increase. Now, the perception of readers would shift, and they’d start to wonder why they were being forced to pay for this additional material that they really didn’t want.

Even when the back-up stories are new, you see the same phenomenon in action. It seems weird when you stop and stare at it, but that’s the way it works. People are more likely paying a higher price for the thing they want than they are in paying that same price for the thing they want and some additional things that they could live without. Getting this additional material seems like a rip-off.

Food for thought as we continue to work out how to provide better value-for-money on our assorted titles moving ahead.

More later.

Tom B

4 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – When More Is Less

  1. Don’t know what to suggest, I always liked the reprints. They were frequently from my Golden Age of Marvel.

    Still – you want a suggestion maybe? Include pudding instead of a reprint. Everyone likes pudding.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can be the opposite. I’ve bought books for the back up and never read the main story. I read the oral history above in the issues it appeared in and loved it so much I bought it first as hard copy and then a digital version.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The oral histories feature by Bendis were a highlight. Insightful. Very “behind the music”. I imagined the subjects interviewed independently, and then having their accounts intercut, rather than them being in the same room. People may react differently solo vs. in groups. I heard their voices (Brian’s good dialog choices), & even saw their facial expressions. Was fun to see different versions or perspectives of the same events. What they thought at the time of what happened, & about each other, followed by what they thought now. Wizard Magazine (*groan*) did 2 specials on Morrisson’s JLA in the late 90’s. And they included what each member thought of the others, written by Morrisson. I love stuff like that. So the Avengers oral history back-ups were as enjoyable as the main monthly stories.


  4. It could probably be attributed to consumer “ignorance” (at least insofar as actual production and the fact that this extra content is bonus content to help offset the price point, which IS the price regardless).
    The consumer might not be aware of that fact, and so erroneously believe it to be “padding the bill”. But then it becomes a matter of MESSAGING and MARKETING.
    Is the editor’s job (and marketing dept) to get the facts out there.
    Maybe a call-out on the cover, or the splash page of either the main or backup feature.

    As an old “Sim’s” store commercial famously stated: “An educated consumer is our best customer. “

    Liked by 1 person

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