Are comic books too expensive?

Discussion in 'Comic Book Culture' started by Spider-Man, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. Spider-Man

    Spider-Man Wallcrawler

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    A week or so I had a pretty light load of books in my pull list so I decided I was going to try out a couple new books. And as I leafed through the shelves I noticed how expensive comics have gotten. So many are now $4. How can Image titles be around $3 or $3.50, but nearly all of Marvel's books except for one or two are $4 (and the paper quality is so lacking). At least DC provides a nice paper stock for their pricier titles. But comics have become quite expensive which is why I have opted to move on to trades for so many of them. Do you think comics are too expensive? How much longer until we see a $5 monthly title?
     
  2. Frontier

    Frontier Active Member

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    I'm buying a lot more books than I used to, but even despite that it still feels like even the small week of books for me is becoming pretty pricey. It used to be that I could much easily afford books, but now they're starting to get quite expensive. From my perspective, the much pricier books usually turn out to be the top-tier titles, mini-series, and event books but now there seems to be a lot more books that are $4. I've thought about moving to trade, but my desire to stay up to date with all the series I like has prevented me from doing so :sweat:.
     
  3. Gatordragon

    Gatordragon Fiery Felon

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    Hell yeah they're too expensive! Most comics out there, even the indie ones, are around $3.99. There are some nice and interesting comics I'd like to read, but they're too expensive for a low budget guy like me. It's why I stopped reading most comics. The only comic series I'm following right now is Pocket God because it's a good comic that's also $0.99 a pop (it's also unfortunately on hiatus :sad:).
     
  4. The Talon

    The Talon New Member

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    Yeah, $3.99 for 20 pages is ridiculous considering I can get a month of Netflix for less than 3 comics. It's caused me to switch to trades for most of my comic reading, and seeing how barren the talkback threads here have become, I'd say i'm not the only one.

    I think this would be a lot more tolerable if digital versions of comics were cheaper than the print versions, publishers would get a lot more sales if they were $2.99 or even $1.99.
     
  5. Zorak Masaki

    Zorak Masaki Active Member

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    Even trades are getting more expensive, some going for as much as $34.99.
     
  6. rggkjg1

    rggkjg1 Batman v Superman

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    If comics get too expensive for a consumer, they can go digital for cheaper. It's not the same exact thing as physical comics (or trades), but if the price is too high and they still want to continue reading the material, there is a cheaper alternative.

    If there is a big price hike one day like $5 dollars per issue and up ($5 being the lowest), then I think a publisher will need to thin out it's titles, starting with characters that have a different title every week. I think once people realize how much they would be spending on just Batman when getting all the $5 dollar titles, they would just cut it down to one or two Batman books.
     
  7. hobbyfan

    hobbyfan Active Member

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    It's easier to cherry-pick what you want to read. Indie books priced at $3.99 are mostly for licensing reasons. Otherwise, it's outright greed. If you look at the recent Previews, you'll see that Archie books are now going up to $3.99 per issue. DC's kids line (Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, etc.) and a few others are at $2.99, and Batman '66 was just lowered from $3.99 to make it more accessible.
     
  8. wonderfly

    wonderfly 30 Years since Vampire Hunter D!

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    I switched to digital a while ago - though by digital I mean using the "Marvel Digital Unlimited" website. Instead of paying to own, I have access to the Marvel Library of over 10,000 comics (or whatever amount they are up to on their website). It works for me. :)
     
  9. GWOtaku

    GWOtaku Moderator

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    If a comic interests me enough I'll do four bucks. However, I'm choosey about it and don't follow too many at once. More often than not I wait for discounts on Comixology. It's not necessarily too much, but I sure can't / won't have a pull list of like 10 - 15 books each month. It adds up fast. I'm certainly not when there's still a lot of older stuff I still ought to get to and could get to for less money.
     
  10. BigFatHairyDeal

    BigFatHairyDeal Defender of the Universe

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    I think comics are too expensive, but in general, entertainment and recreation is expensive.

    Brother-in-law brought me to Lollapalooza last weekend. $100/day per person.

    Brother-in-law and I also went to a 3D IMAX showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. $18/person, + $2/person internet purchasing surcharge. Granted, if we went to a non-3D, non-IMAX showing at the same hour, it would've been a lot less expensive, but we're still looking at $12/person.

    Sporting game tickets? Regular season you generally pay anywhere from $25-$100 for tickets alone, and then multiply by by 3x-10x for playoffs.

    A beer at a bar? $6 for Bud-freakin-Light.

    When you take all these things into account, I think comic books are expensive, but not necessarily comparatively expensive.
     
  11. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    I think $4 for a single issue comic is too much, both in absolute terms and even more if you compare the entertainment value you get for your dollar. $4 for a 22-page comic book comes out to about 18 cents a page. If you pay list price for the first Harry Potter paperback (320 pages), you're looking at 3.4 cents a page. Compare the time it takes to read a Harry Potter book to a 22-page comic. These numbers have been pretty bad for quite a while, but bumping the cover price of a comic book to $4 makes them far, far worse.

    I vaguely recall that the companies tried upping to that level a few years ago and had to back off because of a noticeable drop in sales. I guess this time around, inflation/locked-in fans mean they can get away with it.

    I don't buy physical single issues any more, though, other than Dark Horse Presents and the (very) occasional comic where I really want to have it. Single issues end up as digital purchases or, more often, simply not purchased. But I'm also just about completely out of current issue DC/Marvel comics these days, so my experiences may not be typical.
     
  12. darkdetective

    darkdetective Reporter

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    I've stopped buying current issues for a while now. I mostly trade-wait, and even then I'll wait until Amazon or eBay has a good deal. I still buy single issues on occasion, but only older stuff I can get for cheaper. I recently got a bunch of Power of Shazam comics for 1.50 each, a much better bang for my buck if you ask me.
     
  13. Alonso Torrejon

    Alonso Torrejon Member

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    I think the reason comic books are expensive these days is because of the economy. The economy's been bad for years.
     
  14. Gatordragon

    Gatordragon Fiery Felon

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    Hogwash. I think it's because the comic book industry is weaker than it used to be. There's way less comic book buyers than there were decades ago and newcomers are rare (I'm a rare, young newcomer myself). Because of this, comic book companies have to up their prices to make a profit.

    $3.99 for a 22-page comic is ludicrous. To me, $1.99 to $0.99 is a nice price range for a comic. $2.99 is stretching it.
     
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  15. Mister Mayhem

    Mister Mayhem Active Member

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    Cohorts,

    this is one of the reasons why i usually buy comics at conventions or online retailers when the prices are severally reduced. i'll occasionally pay for one full priced if i want it asap
     
  16. Villano

    Villano New Member

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    It's a Catch-22. There are less readers, so they raise the price, which make comics so expensive, less people buy them.

    And how they raise the prices is part of the problem. Back in the day, they used to raise the prices in small increments: $0.60 to $0.75 to $1.00 to $1.25 to $1.50, etc.. Now, they bump the price up by a dollar. On top of that, they take every excuse to jack up the price with first issues, anniversary issues, "Point" this or that, and gimmick covers. Heck, DC doing an entire month of 3D covers again this September. :shrug:

    Anyway, I buy my comics digitally, and I wait a month or two for a price drop before I purchase them, so most of them are $1.99 or $0.99. I do buy 2 new Marvel titles and pay full price only because Marvel doesn't drop their prices regularly. However, if prices go up to $5, I'm done with new issues from them. I'll just wait until they go on sale.
     
  17. The Talon

    The Talon New Member

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    I actually did a calculation to see how much prices for comics have gone, and if modern comics were adjusted for inflation, they would only be $1.69 today. IMO, that should be how much a digital comic costs.
     
  18. Anthonynotes

    Anthonynotes PBS: We rock harder than MTV

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    I agree that 22-page comics are too expensive, especially if they're from Marvel/DC. I guess I could see an independent creator charging $4 for a title, but $4 for a Batman comic? And I do wonder what'll happen when the price jumps to $5 for a regular-size comic, or even $6? Are people *really* that attached to anything with a Bat-logo on it they'll blindly keep spending such a large sum? As noted above, $8-$9/mo. gets a month of Netflix, and pretty much every other form of entertainment is more cost-effective than the 22-page comic (even trades/movies).

    Waiting for trade paperbacks helps, yes (since they tend to get discounted on Amazon, etc. like actual books), along with borrowing said trades from the public library. I usually buy my comics digitally, which sometimes has sales.
     
  19. Gatordragon

    Gatordragon Fiery Felon

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    Huh, I always thought that the indie comics would be the cheaper ones; like how indie games tend to be cheaper than AAA games. I should learn more about comics.

    I used to borrow comics from public libraries too. That's how I got into Runaways and Asterix. Nowadays I buy digitally because the only comic shop near me is an hour away and I get a better range of comics online. Unfortunately with Comixology removing their storefront app, I have trouble finding comics at a reasonable price.


    Now that's a good price. I'd be willing to buy more comics if they had prices like that.
     
  20. wonderfly

    wonderfly 30 Years since Vampire Hunter D!

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    Is part of the problem that comic book creators are asking for too much money when working for Marvel/DC? You want to create your own independent comic book, great, it's your creation, charge whatever you want for a cover price. But for Marvel/DC, do it for the love of superheroes, not for earning a paycheck. If Bendis and John Romita Jr. are asking too much, give it to a new up and comer and let him do it for the love of comics.*

    * = all of the above is spoken as a "fanboy", and I certainly want good living wages for commission artwork, but I'm just wondering if this is also part of the rising costs of comic books.
     

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