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.
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.