We have decided to cease second printings of single issues of titles that are known over-performers in hopes that it will help initial sales find their proper level. That’s marketing-speak for “You know this sells, so you’d better make sure you order enough!”This isn’t meant as a punishment or some weird scheme to drive up prices of single issues on eBay. The weeks of delay in waiting for the second printing cost you sales. Knowing you can count on reprintings has encouraged caution when none is called for, and that hurts you as much as it does us.
I find myself torn on this. On the one hand, framing it, as Image’s email does, in the example of Saga – which is on #7 and a proven hit – makes a lot of sense to me. The demand for this series is proven, and I’m sure orders can be bumped up at least a little to meet demand the first time around. So, you know, sure. But then the announcement suggests three books that retailers should consider bumping their numbers, and they’re all second issues:
CHANGE #2 — Orders presently are 38% lower than orders for the debut issue. If you haven’t read CHANGE #1 yet, please give it a look. Its writer Ales Kot had a breakout hit with WILD CHILDREN this year, and CHANGE taps into the same sensibility.
THE LEGEND OF LUTHER STRODE #2 — Orders are 21% less than orders for #1, which has sold out. This is a known seller by creators whose traction in the industry is growing — Justin Jordan, who also writes Shadowman for Valiant and Tradd Moore, who has drawn a variant Deadpool cover for Marvel and a story in the digital Legends of the Dark Knight for DC.
NON-HUMANS #2 — I know. It’s late, and lateness is a death knell for sales numbers. But! This is the return to Image by Whilce Portacio, and a 33% drop in orders seems a mite steep, considering that NON-HUMANS #1 sold out.
They’re second issues! There isn’t the sales pattern for these books that there is for Saga, and in one case – Change – the first issue hasn’t even been released yet (It’s out today), so retailers don’t have any real idea what sales are like. How do any of these titles meet Image’s own criteria as “known over-performers” with only one issue (or less) of sales to go on? What if that issue was a fluke?