It’s been a while since we’ve made any really big changes to the way we operate … but that’s all about to, well, change.
Some of you may have noticed a couple of things we’ve already implemented. Cardstock covers and maximum page counts on saddle-stitched comics for starters. We’ve purchased some new in-line finishing equipment that’s going to speed our production up quite a bit (if all goes as planned). We had expected to already have the equipment in place and operational by now, however there have been some delays at the manufacturer and as of this writing we’re still waiting for delivery.
While the new finisher will make most things go faster and run smoother … it does come with some limitations. The maximum sheet count that can be folded and stapled is lower as is the maximum weight of the cover stock. So rather than wait until the equipment arrives, we already implemented those changes by adjusting our maximum interior page counts on saddle stitched comics down to 44 pages and we’ve eliminated the cardstock option for saddle-stitched comics as well. We’re sorry to have to take this step, but in the long run it really will make things a whole lot better.
For those of you who had previously ordered cardstock covers on your comics by default now those items when re-ordered will come up as standard covers and standard pricing. For those few of you who had previously ordered comics with more than 44 interior pages you’ve got a couple of different options now. You can either upgrade to paperback (with a cardstock cover and optional lamination) OR you can take advantage of our new glue-bound comics (with interior page counts from 48 to 64 pages). Comics with glue binding are similar to paperbacks only the cover stock is not cardstock, but rather our standard comics stock (80 lb gloss text) and there is no lamination option. The cost is a bit lower than on paperbacks as well. If you’d like to see one just place a “1″ copy re-order and we’ll get one out to you ASAP. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how great they look.
Another change we are VERY excited about is happening at IndyPlanet.com. It’s not quite ready yet, but it’s reached the point where the implementation is by necessity going to become visible, so we decided we better announce it before it starts to create undue confusion.
We’re going to be merging ComicsMonkey (our direct market distribution site) into IndyPlanet! This will make IndyPlanet both an online comics shop AND a comics distributor (once the merge is complete ComicsMonkey will become a redundant site, so we’ll be closing it down). Here’s how the new IndyPlanet will work … participating publishers can choose to offer multi-copy pricing on the comics and paperbacks they list at IndyPlanet. The multi-copy price is 25% off of the cover price and will automatically apply whenever anyone orders 5 or more copies of a single item. This means that ANYONE — not just comic shop owners — can now easily become a comics reseller (without any of the verification or certification required by ComicsMonkey).
To participate in the multi-copy discount program all you’ll need to do is login to your Ka-Blam account, go to your items, click the edit listing button, then check the multi-copy-sales-allowed option. There’s a automatic process that verifies that your cover price is sufficient to cover both the printing cost and the 25% discount. For example, if your printing costs are $1.50 per issue and your cover price is $3 then the multi-copy price at IndyPlanet would be $2.25, which means your profit on a regular sale would remain $1.50 per issue, but on a multi-copy sale your profit would be $0.75 per issue. If, however, the multi-copy price is below the print cost then you’ll need to adjust your cover price upwards in order to participate in the program.
Those of you who have items presently listed at ComicsMonkey will find those items automatically included in the new program at IndyPlanet. It’s always a good idea to login and double check that your listings and pricings are the way you want them to be, but you’ll automatically be in the program. The only differences for you will be 1) that your profit per copy will likely go up – at ComicsMonkey you got 10% of the cover price, on IndyPlanet multi-copy sales you’ll get the remainder of your cover price minus the printing costs and the multi-sale discount, which in most cases will be more than 10% of the cover price — and 2) bar codes will now be optional rather than required. We still recommend the bar code because it makes things so much easier on the reseller who has a Point-of-Sale system in place, but since this program vastly opens up the pool of potential resellers (most of whom probably won’t have a POS system) we’re going to drop the bar code requirement. Again, recommended but not required.
For those of you who have never participated in our distribution system at ComicsMonkey — this presents a new and easy opportunity to increase your sales, but you won’t have to participate if you don’t want to. It’s your choice, you can add multi-copy pricing for any or all of your items or you can keep everything just the way it is. The program is completely optional, but we do highly recommend it.
This is a big change, but one that we think will benefit us all and we’re very excited about it!
Believe it or not … there are still more changes we’ll be announcing soon …