A lot of rabble on KRAMERS ERGOT #7 and its $125 price tag this past week. Alan David Doane had the good idea to ask retailers what they thought of the item and pricing, so I figured I might as well throw in my two cents as well.
1. How many will you order for your shelves?
None. We don't keep a regular stock of Marvel Masterworks, DC Archives, or any other high priced book from the mainstream publishers, let alone something like this. Far too much money to tie up on the shelf for something that wouldn't sell any time soon. Direct Market isn't helped out too much in the overhead department with everything being unreturnable, so we leave the high-price point material to Diamond's warehouses to store until we get the order. Of course with an item like this, who knows how long it'll be available?
2. How many would you guess you may preorder by request of regular customers?
If I decide to order it? One. What's too bad is I really have never seen a KRAMERS ERGOT before and none of the previous issues are available at Diamond to sample. If I decided to order it, I'd be really ordering blind...and $125 suggested retail US? That's just stupid and foolish. And I just mentioned, the double edged sword is if I wait for the reviews, there's no guarantee that this'll even be in stock anymore with Diamond. It really is just easier to say 'pass'.
3. Do you think $125.00 for a 96 page anthology is a reasonable price for your customer base?
No, but our demographic isn't the aim for a project like this either. I have to actively stock and push the more well known Fantagraphics/Drawn & Quarterly stuff (Clowes, Ware, Seth, Burns), whose price point is reasonable in comparison to the mainstream equivalent, and that's an uphill battle. For the meat-n-potato style store that I work at, the very question of if we're going to stock KRAMERS ERGOT is kind of absurd, but also maybe underlines another matter altogether...
4. Will you offer it at a discount, either to customers pre-ordering it, or on your store shelves?
If we brought it in, absolutely. We're pretty much selling everything at US price (not sure for how much longer, with the exchange taking the hit the last week or so), and it isn't unusual for us to do a discount on top of that either for regulars and when material is bought in large volume (ie. the guy who bought every single CIVIL WAR trade paperback in one go we had in store in one go, the guy wanting to buy the full collections of Y: THE LAST MAN, PREACHER, and SANDMAN at once).
5. How do you feel about Amazon's discounting of the book (currently over 30 percent off) and how it might impact your store, or the direct market in general?
Let's put it this way: the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Collector Set on Amazon.com was around the high $50 mark, and the suggested US retail price is $104.95. That is almost 50% off, and at that price mark, we'd be better off ordering stock from Amazon at that kind of discount (only the S&H bites you in the ass and brings you to cost through our regular distribution channels). Did we still wind up selling over 20 copies of the Player's Handbook and at least that many of the Collector Set? We sure did. The guy who is on Amazon or Ebay...that someone who is scouting for the best price is probably Not shopping retail anyway, or is content in someone losing money for his advantage...he's not even a customer, ergo Not a concern. If Amazon's heavy discounting of trades and comics is hurting us, I've no way of really telling. It has been such a long time sticking point that I just look around, realize we're still in business and selling trades briskly every day of the week, and that's OK.