|"North Wind" #1, second printing, on sale now and also available for free on MySpace Comic Books|
However, in an interview with BOOM! Marketing & Sales Director Chip Mosher, he told CBR News that other retailers had contacted BOOM! and pledged support for the simultaneous free MySpace release, saying they believed the promotion increased awareness of the post-apocalyptic ice age epic by "Traveler" creator David DiGilio, and ultimately contributed to selling more copies of "North Wind" #1, not fewer. Indeed, "North Wind" #1 did go into a second printing to meet demand.
With orders now in for "North Wind" #4, CBR News caught up with BOOM!'s Chip Mosher for an update on the health of the series vis--vis its simultaneous, free-of-charge releases on MySpace, and to glean some insight into BOOM!'s ongoing dialogue with retailers.
|"North Wind" #2 on sale now and also available for free on MySpace Comic Books|
As some comics readers may know, orders for issue #4 of a new title are generally submitted by direct market retailers a short time after issue #1 of said series goes on sale. As such, "North Wind" #2 and #3 were ordered before the MySpace promotion was announced and before issue #1 was delivered to stores. The 30% increase reflects the initial orders for "North Wind" #4, not readjustments.
"As a publisher, the orders you get for issue #4 give you a good idea on the reception of the series in the marketplace," said Mosher. 'Between this increase from 'North Wind' #3 to #4, the reorder activity on all the issues so far, the sell out and subsequent second printing of #1, the response to the promotion has been tremendous!"
|"North Wind" #3|
"I think there are some store owners out there who are worried that they are the next Tower Records," added Mosher, referring to the music retail empire that collapsed earlier in the decade due in part to what it cited as internet piracy, or, in other words, free music online. "I understand why [comics retailers are] concerned. But I really think that it's apples and oranges. Music is an intangible product. Comic books and graphic novels are collected. When people enjoy a story, they're prone to want to buy a book and put it in their collection. I think comic shops are a unique retail experience that's totally different than the music business.
"At the end of the day, we are all on the same team and all looking to sell more comics to more people. That is what this [MySpace] promotion did and I am sure some of the naysayers will look at the results and change their minds and some won't. And that's fine, that's the way most things go."
|"North Wind" #4|
Philosophy aside, BOOM! intends to make sure retailers aren't similarly caught off guard again. "Retailers are our partners; their concerns are very important to us -- when they do well, we do well," stated Mosher. "Some retailers have done very, very well with 'North Wind,' as the numbers for issue #4, the second printing of the first issue, and the #1 sell-out show. Now that we know that this type of promotion has the capacity to be an issue for some [retailers], we'll do our best to give everyone the heads-up so they can bump up or bump down their orders in advance. The great thing now is that everyone has this promotion to use as a yardstick of success."
By virtue of the retailer controversy, "North Wind" received perhaps more attention than it may have otherwise, even with the comic available for free on such a hugely popular website as MySpace (the MySpace Comic Books portal currently boasts nearly 160,000 friends), raising even more awareness of the book. While the MySpace promotion will continue to run the five-month length of "North Wind," Mosher admits it's difficult to determine conclusively whether the MySpace partnership or the retailer outcry contributed the most to the title's increasing success. "In all honesty, I don't think that we'll know for sure which factor had more of an impact than the other," said Mosher. "But whatever happened, it triggered a massive sales upturn for us not only on 'North Wind,' but we saw increased sale activity on other titles like 'The Foundation' #1 that sold out too!"
|"North Wind" #5|
"We're the little guy. We're not Marvel or DC. So we have to innovate. You can certainly put money on the fact that BOOM! will have the most aggressive marketing operation in comics publishing. BOOM! will be doing whatever we need to do to increase sales and drive more people to buy comics. So, yes, expect the unexpected when it comes to BOOM!"
CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.
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