Sure, I can do PR here at the Show!
Sir Larry Young sent me an email with a link to this Pulse story, which details how well AiT/Planetlar and Robert Kirkman have done via online retailer Khepri.com, and says:
"A privately-owned online retailer KICKS ASS distributing our books, so much so that the BEST-SELLING trade paperback of 2004 for him is CHANNEL ZERO, which is seven years old.
Is there any greater proof that the North American comic book audience is split into monthlies, and trade paperbacks?"
Kudos to Mr. Young (and Mr. Brian Wood) for this excellent showing. Perhaps, among other things, this shows that this sort of online merchant appeals to a more discriminatory clientele, who can say.
In a related subject, they have the top comics and graphic novels data for 2004 over at Newsarama, and of course it's heavily slanted towards the Big Two, with Dark Horse making a surprisingly strong showing. This list comes from Diamond, so it's more representative of a wider sample of vendors.
I draw no conclusions by posting this; as I said a long time ago, I like the graphic novel format for what it represents: an opportunity to read one story (or story arc) in one sitting, with better-than-average production values and perhaps, in some cases, an opportunity to have the same writer and artist for the entire project. On the other hand, as someone who's been reading single floppy pamphlets since his preschool years, I have a sentimental attachment of sorts to that format, and would hate to see it go away all together. I kinda like getting regualr installments, or chapters, of stories- it's comparable to the difference of watching, say Deadwood every week, or getting the DVD box and watching it all in one sitting (except, of course, it takes less time...!). It's difficult for me to afford to jam a trade in with my weekly purchases, because adding $10-$20 dollars to my already fairly high total is just too costly for me right now. And if I were to take the plunge and go trades-only, there are books that I enjoy right now that may not ever get collected due to low sales (Monolith comes to mind here), and then I'd be forced to buy singles anyway or do without. And since there's no guarantee that titles will be collected in an affordable format, what I'm forced into is buying singles, and perhaps the occasional trade when my comics shop has sales on, mostly to pick up on series I've missed out on (I started Kane, Fables and Hellboy this way, for example), or when something comes out that I just can't do without like Selina's Big Score. I've been fortunate in that I've received a lot of GN's through the generosity of people like Young, which I probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise because of expense. I could see myself perhaps switching over to more trades if I follow through with canceling my pull list at my shop and going with Discount Comic Book Service; I could perhaps afford to get more GN's and collections and less floppies. Who the heck knows.
Anyway, that's all I got; discuss among yourselves.