Comic-book trade challenged by Internet, recession
The banks dunning Steve Geppi and the auction of his mansion suggest that the comic-book business, like other traditional media, faces kryptonite in the form of the Internet and the recession. But I can find surprisingly little recent coverage of the comic-book industry.
Geppi's wholesaler, Diamond Comic Distributors, has faced its own problems. The company "had a rocky year," according to a Publishers Weekly piece published in October -- "a move to a new warehouse in the spring coupled with a switch to a new software platform led to major problems with orders shipping improperly and lost books."
Diamond and comic publishers are trying to adapt -- putting out graphic novels and selling comics over mobile phones and other digital media. Even so, "concerns about digital caused a lot of unrest among retailers - and may again," the Oklahoman newspaper reported at a comics convention
last this year. When Diamond scaled back distribution of the Classics Illustrated series last year, the president of the Classics publisher shot back in a press release: "That this is another example of a knee-jerk reaction to the tough economic environment everybody is struggling with to get through."
But publishers and stores are trying to reassure themselves that they're still relevant. "Comics are special," an industry executive told the recent ComicsPRO confab, according to Nerdage. "It's not something that can easily translate into other media." Sounds familiar.
UPDATE: Over at Read Street, Dave Rosenthal notes that the iPad is a big threat to Geppi and comic books.