Tom Spurgeon cuts through all the crap and talks to cartoonist/editor Sammy Harkham about the upcoming volume of the Kramer’s Ergot anthology, the high price and format of which have caused some consternation in the comics blogosphere:
SPURGEON: Sammy, I know that you’re aware of some complaints about the price here and there. While I don’t want to turn this into a platform for those complaints, mostly because I don’t understand them, I don’t want to ignore the issue, either. So I was wondering if you could maybe simply list some of the factors that led to your pricing the book at $125, the way you might explain it to someone that’s interested in the price but not accusatory.
HARKHAM: Scanning. We paid for many artists to get their work professionally scanned, since the fidelity of cheap scanners doesn’t hold up when you look at the pages at print size.
* A low print run. If this was a book that had a larger print run, our price per copy would have gone down, but our readership is not big enough to warrant that. If Chris Ware ever decides to do a solo book in this format, with a print run similar to the Pantheon ACME book, I would think the cover price would be close to half of ours.
* We are using a very expensive paper, this stuff called NEW AGE. I am excited about it because it gives you the vibrancy of color you find on glossy paper, but doesn’t “feel” like magazine stock. It should make everything look really, really fantastic. We also have foil stamping on the cover, a sticker with quotes and bar code, and the books are shrink-wrapped to guard them from shipping damage. Those are not mega costs, but they add up.
* The book has to be bound by hand, since no binder at that size exists.
There’s lots more juicy information in the link, including a list of contributors. Dude, Matt Groening’s has a strip in there! That’s it, I’m sold.