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The Rest of the Stack: Rise of the simultaneous dual format release

November 3, 2009

Based on this week’s shipping list, the Rise of the Olympian arc from Wonder Woman is being released tomorrow in collected-volume format. While this in and of itself is NOT odd…what’s odd is the fact that it is being released SIMULTANEOUSLY in both Hardcover AND Softcover.


Now, I’m curious as to why such a difference in price. Seems that lately, the price difference between a hardcover and softcover is only $5-6. A $20 hardcover becomes a $15 paperback. The $25 or $30 hardcover becomes $20 or $25, respectively. Here it’s a whopping $10.

If I recall correctly, the original arc was 8 issues, at $2.99/issue…which puts the hardcover at a mere $1 above cover price of those single issues. And the softcover is priced such that you’re getting the contents of each single issue for about $1.88, $1.11 cheaper per-issue than the singles which had ads breaking up the story and with a month’s wait between chapters.

While this is frustrating–particularly for having given the title a chance with that arc, and then not being engaged ENOUGH to stick around for the single issues (in part for seeing both collected volumes solicited several months back). Had I simply waited, I’d get a nice, huge story at an EXTREMELY reasonable price! (I suspect some of my feelings might have more merit if one places Spider-Man: Noir vol. 1 TPB on the shelf next to Rise of the Olympian TPB, both at the same retail price).

Despite the frustration mentioned, and having zero real clue about the reasoning of the price points and both versions being put out together (and not having noticed ANYthing like this in books thus far solicited down the road)…the prices are how I’d like to see more collected volumes.

1. I’d rather have stuff in paperback, so it all goes together on the shelf; the old and new material. Not waiting during an extra long gap to buy a paperback because of the hardback having to have its turn on the shelf first.

2. Either way, the paperback should be significantly cheaper. Especially on the bigger books (I’m thinking of Planet Hulk and the Marvel: Noir books in particular), if I’m going to actually buy the book, I’d gladly pay the “mere” $5 to “upgrade” to the hardcover. If I’m already going to spend $30, $35 isn’t all that bad for a book so much larger physically. Same goes for the digest-size Noir paperbacks compared to the full-size hardcover counterparts.

But this Wonder Woman book…for the $10 difference, and the paperback being like getting almost 3 issues’ content “free” compared to the single issues’ cover price…I’d absolutely be all over buying the paperback just to get the story!

If books were REGULARLY released this way, it would allow for more choice in “collecting format.” Buy the singles as that’s the traditional format. Buy the collected (hardcover) for about the same price, perhaps slightly more, to have a nice hardcover for the bookshelf. Or go the cheapest route, and get a likely lower-quality of paper, but get to read the story without constant ads interrupting the flow, and getting the contents of comics for effectively the price of comics a decade ago. (Yeah, this doesn’t consider the stuff from the publisher side or the actual production costs and all that stuff.)

Despite all this…I’m a sucker. That $15 for the expected size of this book is rather appealing, especially for the ability to read everything in one volume. And add Wonder Woman to the shelf, s I’ve somehow never wound up with a Wonder Woman collected volume despite my 20+ years as a comics reader.

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