Friday nattering

At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald rounds up the discussion of the New York Times Graphic Books Bestsellers list. I have to admit that I don’t really see why these lists are any more problematic or opaque in their methodology than any of the other sales rankings. I always assumed that the odd or counter-intuitive products that sometimes show up on the lists were more a function of the fact that there are 30 slots posted weekly than of the way the entrails came out of the goat or how the 30-sided die landed on Friday morning.

I guess what I’m saying is that just about all of these bestseller lists seem at least partly suspect, random, or susceptible to manipulation. With its greater frequency and wider scope, I at least find the Times lists suspect, random, and susceptible to manipulation in ways that are a little more interesting than the monthly versions.

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Has Barnes & Noble hired a new graphic novel buyer? I stopped at the local store during lunch yesterday and was surprised at the number of unusual suspects present on the shelves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Gantz in a chain bookstore before.

As a side note, have you ever been to a bookstore and seen a theoretically sealed-for-your-protection title that actually had its plastic wrap intact?

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This week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was hilarious. Penny accompanied the geeks to a comic shop. I particularly loved the bit where she innocently tried to buy a Spider-Man comic for her nephew. I think they should do an episode where Sara Gilbert’s Leslie is revealed to be a hardcore fujoshi, adding another layer of conflict to her acrimonious relationship with Sheldon.

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I absolutely appreciate Bryan Fuller’s desire to finish the story he meant to tell in the wonderful Pushing Daisies. I don’t think many of the things that made the show so special will translate to a comics page, though. Comic timing and chemistry made up a huge chunk of the show’s appeal. I’d still buy them if they added those greeting-card chips that would allow me to hear Olive Snook bursting into song.

(There used to be online comics featuring the characters, but ABC seems to have removed them.)

6 Responses to Friday nattering

  1. Keath says:

    I’d be interested to know how many people base purchasing decisions on Best Seller lists. I don’t think I’ve ever given a title extra weight because of this. Yet this topic (indeed, the whole larger issue of Sales Figures) constitutes a huge amount of online discussion and more than a few verbal fisticuffs. So, basically, my question is: Are Sales Figures a really big deal to a large segment of the online audience or Sales Figures just a really big deal to 4 or 5 bloggers while the large segment of the online audience just yawns and scrolls on to the next item in their RSS Readers?

    To add to the data: My nearby Borders has had Gantz for quite a while now, usually keeping all volumes in stock (or not selling any volumes, whatever the case may be). I don’t know about the life of the shrink wrapping, but there are several titles which manage to keep the wrap intact, so either they’re heavily policed or this store’s customer base is unintrigued.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    The Barnes & Noble buyer is experienced and knowledgeable. Stocking a manga title from Dark Horse? Not that big of a deal. Besides, there are booksellers (I spent nine years at the B&N at Lincoln Center) who godfather the graphic novel section, initiating store orders so that they will have copies on hand to recommend to customers, or for customers to browse.

    Act surprised when you start seeing hentai or adult comics on the shelves. While I’ve been able to sell XXXenophile, the typical chain bookstore will be wary of stocking adult titles. (B&N stocked Lost Girls, but had it on display behind the registers to avoid any controversy.)

    I am awaiting a Pushing Daisies comic. (MARVEL? But…but…it’s a Warner Brothers property! Did Wildstorm pass?) Aside from the original promo comic (which showed Chuck’s murder), the online comics were photoshopped fumetti from each episode, and were a bit uneven as comics. If they follow the European Disney model, adding text articles, photos, recipes to the comic, it will be successful. (And if you like musical comics, search for “Neil the Horse”. They broke out in song every issue!)

  3. Chloe says:

    Stocking a manga title from Dark Horse? Not that big of a deal.

    Au contraire; the B&N in my neck of the woods has yet to stock Dark Horse manga on any reasonable basis. One day I’d like to walk in, to, you know, a real live store, and buy a copy of “Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service”, except that I suspect it might cause the universe to collapse inwardly from the sheer improbability of this event.

  4. Matt Blind says:

    Can’t speak directly to what Jim is doing at corporate, but I trust his judgment, and while I do have a response to the NYT ‘Graphic Books’ list, I’ve a lot of data to choke down and no interns to do the data entry for me so… well at this point (20:00 EDT) I’m still six hours out.

  5. Matt Blind says:

    and… the plastic wrap stays intact… about 30% of the time.

    –at least at my store

  6. pressingdigressions says:

    BN has had a graphic novel buyer for a while. He’s a great guy.

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