Wednesday, 6 July 2016

CEREBUS VOLUME One: Unlikely the Hardcover

Dave Sim:

Okay, having established "Where We Are" (see above post) let me attempt to address the idea of CEREBUS hardcovers -- which I think are a bad idea and which I think Diamond would believe are a bad idea -- in the frames of reference of those of you who are...extremely dedicated...the subject:

I'm prepared to discuss a one-off CEREBUS Volume with Diamond but my having that discussion will hinge on a consensus view among the AMOC readership filling in the following blanks:

1)  Of what the hardcover will consist:  these are the contents, this is the page count, this is the size, this is how the cover will be printed [zero interest on my part: I think hardcovers with the image printed on the cover itself look like cheesy 1970s British Christmas Albums and dust jackets get buckled and torn too easily], this is the paper stock, this is the way it will be bound

2)  This is how much it will cost to print the interiors on the paper specified.

3) This is how much it will cost to ship the interiors to wherever they will be bound as hardcovers

4) This is how much it will cost to bind the books

5) This is how much it will cost to ship the bound books to wherever they will be packed into individual boxes and shipped a) in Canada b)  to the USA c) internationally

6) This is how much it will cost to have customized boxes created OR standard boxes ordered which fall within the dimension guidelines for the above three categories of shipping

7) This is how much it will cost to have the finished books and boxes shipped to wherever those boxes will be packaged individually and mailing labels and customs forms generated for them and affixed to those boxes (i.e. definitely not Aardvark-Vanaheim)

8)  This is how much all of the above charges amount to.

9) This is how much Aardvark-Vanaheim will make, off the top:  that is, Aardvark-Vanaheim makes its cut the same as Kickstarter and Amazon do:  we take the money and run and leave whomever is in charge of this holding the metaphorical bag

8) and 9) This is the total amount which would need to be raised on Kickstarter, factoring in Kickstarter and Amazon's cut in such a way that 9) "stays whole"

For the sake of simplicity, I think it will probably be left up to Sean to decide MOST of the above, but, again that would depend on that being the consensus view.

My inference is that 9) will be a staggering sum to which I would have to be a fool to say no.  To say the least it would have to be at or near the top of expenses.  If A-V is making 10% of what the Post Office is, I think I'm safe in saying it will be a non-starter.

I don't think this is a good idea for Diamond, but I'm willing to discuss it with them.  I think the REALITY is that Diamond wants all sixteen volumes as trade paperbacks in print and available and they'll look at a CEREBUS hardcover as a New Product Category that they will have to finance.  i.e. Do you guys want to finance a print run of Volume One trade paperbacks AND a hardcover at the same time?  I can't picture the answer being yes:  that would raise the question of "Are you willing to do the same thing with HIGH SOCIETY which you have stocked in depth as a remastered trade paperback?"  That is, are you interested in financing 16 trade paperbacks and 16 hardcovers because they're going to KNOW that that's where this is going Conversely:

Are you okay with me taking x tens of thousands of CEREBUS fan dollars out of CEREBUS fan pockets for a CEREBUS VOLUME ONE Hardcover on Kickstarter at the exact point where -- after seven years -- you finally have all the trade paperbacks back in stock?

It's also a question for retailers:  Are you cool with me selling a hardcover directly to CEREBUS fans instead of telling them the trade paperbacks are "it" and, no, I won't sell them to you directly, I want you to buy them from the stores?  And, no, you can't have the hardcover CEREBUS Volume One in your store because the numbers don't work with YOUR cut and DIAMOND's cut?

Sean?  If you want to work this up at your hourly rate, I'll be happy to look at the numbers.


Jimmy Gownley said...

Just keep in mind that, as I said Waaaaay at the beginning of this, this will ONLY WORK as part of a regular print run of softcovers. Ie: when Volume one is coming up for reprint, you earmark a certain percentage of the print run to be bound as hardcovers. You can't just get a quote for 1,000 stand alone hardcovers. In practical reality it's not a whole new printing; it's part of a printing that you will already have to do anyway.

Also, I'm not talking about shipping a bunch of books individually to kickstarter pledges. I have no idea if that would work, as I've never messed around with Kickstarter.

And OF COURSE don' do anything that jeopardizes the solvency of AV or your own sanity, but it's DEFINITELY worth having the discussion.

PossumGrease said...

Never posted here before, but I'm a big fan Cerebus. That being said, I do not think I would repurchase the series in hardcover unless I'm getting something I don't already have, like better paper or maybe inclusion of original letters pages.

Of course, anything that increases page count or quality probably necessitates additional volumes.

Sandeep Atwal said...

If you ask me, we should be doing full-size hardcovers. 11x17 on glossy paper, leather bound, gold leaf. You know, the whole nine yards. Ask Dave about it sometime!

Tony Dunlop said...

Why stop there? The text parts of "Jaka's Story" and "Reads" should be hand-calligraphed (is that a verb? it is now), illuminated-manuscript style, on vellum by hermit monks.

Delwyn Klassen said...

Some fans here seem to get derailed on the collector aspect of hardcovers. I like Mr. Gownley's idea for libraries in particular, where inclusion and expansion of a graphic novel section (which used to be a few battered copies of Tintin; maybe Asterix, if you were lucky) is a going concern, to pull in new readers. Not a special run, not next up at the plate. Just next volume 1 printing, get hardcovers made for special marketing to libraries. For new readers, researchers, gadflies, etc. There is a large Cerebus-sized hole in my local public library - they just have High Society.

I'm considering donating my old collections as I replace them with the updated printings. Or maybe, if I can ever afford it, just donating a whole run of the re-mastered versions. Forgive my faulty memory: "Lives you can get anywhere, Cerebus just wants all your gold"; here taken to mean "Put up or shut up". A lot of internet yammering isn't getting more boots in the door.

Maybe I'm biased, since I'm more of reader than a collector (I'll get them all, but for story completion, not for hermetically sealing). A hardbound copy is going to stand up better than a softcover, though my local library carries a ton of manga, D&Q, and Fantagraphics publications. As does our local bookstore. I'll speak with them about getting a full run of Cerebus; they do have a spinner rack. How have they missed out on this historic artifact?

tl;dr More availability. Tougher lasts better for libraries. If they don't do it, do it yourself.

Tony Dunlop said...

So I see "tl;dr" on the Interwebs from time to time. What the hell is that about…?

Cory Foster said...

"Too long; didn't read." It's a shorthand for summing up a really long comment for people that don't have time to read a bunch of paragraphs.

Tony again said...

Ah. As Andy Kaufman's "Foreign Man" character might say had he lived to see the day, "TYVM."

Uremawife Nowdave said...

I think there is a definite market out there for well produced hardcovers that add a new quality (and perhaps new content) to the original comic. I have the paperbacks of Cerbus, but have recently started re-reading them on my iPad Pro and it's been a revelation. The comics are oversized on the Pro and they look fantastic. If Cerebus could be produced oversized, perhaps coloured, printed on archival paper, cloth-bound and slip-cased I think you would be onto a winner (examples that spring to mind are the Calvin and Hobbes Complete Collection by Andrews McMeel Publishing or The Complete Little Nemo that Taschen produced). As for hardcovers impacting on current paperback sales, I don't think that would be an issue as people new to the comic will still buy the paperback versions. It will be the current fans who own the original comics or paperbacks that will want to invest in the hardcover versions.

GMcKellar said...

"Are you okay with me taking x tens of thousands of CEREBUS fan dollars out of CEREBUS fan pockets for a CEREBUS VOLUME ONE Hardcover on Kickstarter at the exact point where -- after seven years -- you finally have all the trade paperbacks back in stock?"

As a new fan (I bought the Cerebus vol 1 remaster at release, and somehow managed to get a 2008 printing of Reads when I ordered it earlier this week...but that's another story) this concern is the most relevant to MY buying habits/intentions. It is as unlikely that I would buy a Hardcover of Cerebus/HS/C&S within the next few years as it is likely that I will loan out my copies of these volumes to friends who I believe would be interested in the work. As unwieldy as the phone-books currently are, hardcover editions, IMO, would be so large as to be obstructive.

Having purchased an old printing of C&SII as well as the aforementioned 2008 printing of Reads (I guess this ISN'T another story...) it is very likely that I will buy BOTH remasters within the next year. I would much rather have the updated/pristine artwork, and editions that are easier to loan to friends, than an over-sized HC printing of Cerebus the Barbarian.

tl;dr - I will buy remastered versions of phone-books I've only just recently bought (C&SII, Jaka, Reads) before I will consider buying a more expensive hardcover edition of earlier volumes (Cerebus, High Society).

(deleted and reposted for readability.)

- Garrett