Tuesday, September 02, 2008
There's a lot of hubbub lately over the latest volume of Kramer's Ergot, an "indie" comics anthology. The reason? It's $125 for 96 pages.
To be fair, the book itself is enormous in size, 16 x 21 inches. You've got all the cool cats contributing to it: Chris Ware, Kim Deitch, Daniel Clowes, Jaime Hernandez, etc. But it's still one-hundred and twenty-five bucks. Or $78.75 pre-ordered on Amazon.
Personally, I have no problem with the price on this book. I mean, I'll never buy it. Well, maybe for $50.00 with a torn cover five years from now at The Strand.
There's so much drama over the pricing of Kramer's Ergot 7, and I'm trying to figure it all out. Is Buenaventura Press being elitist by charging so much, preventing the world from partaking in the latest comics from the masters of the medium?
Look, the people who really, really want this book will find a way to get it. And people like me, who'd like to read it but have no interest in plunking down $125, will probably find a way to eventually read/buy it. And if I never get to read it -- I'll live.
Personally, I think this is a play for the market outside the direct market. For the person with the money to spend who's looking for the "creme de la creme" of what the comic book community has to offer -- this is the book. This, Watchmen, and Brubaker's Captain America. All in really expensive, sprawling, gorgeous volumes.
Believe me, the best thing that could happen for the indie comics community is to open up to these new customers and venues. This is the answer for the genius comic creator at MoCCA art Fest or SPX who painstakingly hand-prints their book on DIY papyrus. Get in with this market, this market that would no doubt purchase copies of Kramer's Ergot 7. How do you think the designer vinyl toy market stays afloat? 'Cause there are people who are willing to pay far more than $125 for a 30-inch rabbit with a pattern printed on it.
Which is not to say that Kramer's Ergot doesn't offer something more deep than a plastic rabbit. But I'm looking at this primarily from the position of, "is this a smart business move?"
Now, where the Direct Market might take a hit, on this book and just about any OGN or TPB offered by the comic companies, is in these steep Amazon.com discounts. But that's a topic for another day.