IDW CEO Ted Adams talks IDW Limited, the publisher’s new ultra-high-end limited editions line, at ICv2:
In most cases the edition sizes are so small that selling direct-to-consumer was the best method to avoid overselling which triggers challenging allocations through traditional distribution. With such a small quantity of books we’re launching with, there really wasn’t another way that made sense other than going directly to the consumer. And when I say “small quantity” here’s the perfect example. We’re making 10 copies of the Blue Label edition (the top tier) of our launch book, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Vol. 1 Deluxe Limited Edition. Only 10 of these books for the entire market. How do you allocate that? The only fair thing to do is to give the fans direct access on a first come first served basis. We’re putting an incredible emphasis on quality, and that directly affects the quantity of books IDW Limited can produce. We’re designing new covers, building custom cases and paying the artists to do hand drawn sketch work to go with these books. The reality is that that’s all very expensive and unfortunately it makes it difficult for us to offer this line at the deep discount needed for traditional retail distribution.
Apparently, IDW sees itself doing three or four books like this a month; although no titles are officially announced, he does mention a Transformers release being worked on.