A person who consumes all manner of comics, regardless of publisher, age, genre, or format, with the only requirement being quality.
Comics Omnivore FAQ
1. So what is this whole “Comics Omnivore” program anyways?
The Comics Omnivore program is designed to be a bridge between publishers, retailers and readers. Simply put, there’s too many new titles that need hand selling coming out regularly, and trying to push all of them is nearly impossible. We’re hoping that a more dedicated and focused approach at a larger level can help grow actual readership on quality titles.
2. How are titles being chosen?
Publishers may submit a title to the Comics Omnivore Panel for consideration. There are a few things we require of any individual title, but the first and foremost has to be quality! We’re looking for books that might slip a little below the radar, or something that we think can be grown with a more focused initiative. To help mitigate the risk on retailers, we ask that each title also be fully returnable for issue #1, and at least partially returnable for issue #2. Also, in an effort to appeal to readers rather than speculators, we’re also asking publishers to limit selected titles to two covers or less, excepting ratio variants.
3. What do stores have to do to participate?
We’re really only asking two things for participating stores: the first is that you order Omnivore titles in a high enough quantity go have copies on the stands through the first four weeks. The second is that for the first week of sales you offer Omnivore titles at $1 off the cover price.
4. We already have our own discount system. Do I really have to offer Omnivore titles at $1 off?
Yes. Coliseum has our own discount program as well, but we’re hoping that by offering the title at a discount we can entice some folks who may be on the fence into trying out a new series. Also, it’s only through the first week. After that books would be normal price.
5. Why $1 off the first week only?
We want to create a sense of urgency as well as maintain the focus on one title a week. THIS WEEK’s title is $1 off. Next week, another title will be the focus.
6. How will this grow readership? Won’t we just end up selling more to the folks already buying comics?
We recognize that a declining readership is one of the biggest challenges facing the Direct Market today, so I definitely understand the question here. The answer is twofold. First, it’s never a bad idea for your current customers to branch out and try new things. By offering a discount on the first issue we want to make it just that much more enticing for current readers to try out a book they might not have. Second, we see new people through our doors every week, and with a focused push on specific titles, combined with a discount, we have a ready-made selection of books to put into people’s hands who are looking for new comics. We do believe that by narrowing our focus with a coordinated effort we can grow not just the number of titles fan read and enjoy, but the number of readers as well. Combined with returnability to help retailers find the ceiling on titles earlier and with more accuracy, we see this as an all-around win for readers, retailers, and publishers.
7. You talk about a coordinated focus. Can you explain that a bit more?
Sure! In addition to a network of retailers around the country, and possibly further, all promoting the same work simultaneously, we’re also going to have a dedicated website which publishers and retailers can drive customers to. The website is planned to feature not just a preview of the book to give people a chance to check it out before the book releases, but also a brief interview with the creators to add original content. The site will also list all participating retailers to let readers know who’s onboard. Nothing will be sold through the website. The whole point is to get readers into comic stores!
8. So how are you going to police this to make sure participating stores are doing what they’re supposed to?
Honestly, we’re going to be running on the Honor System here. With a program like this it would be virtually impossible to follow up with all participants on a regular basis to make sure they’re complying. We do see it as in the best interests of participating retailers to actually, y’know, participate. It’s definitely going to be a bad look on the retail end for customers to come into a participating store and not find copies on the stands or not get the discount week one.
If we get reports that a store is selling out regularly, we may, at our option, remove the store from the site.
9. Do you expect publishers to participate?
Fully! We already have titles in the pipeline that we’ll be announcing shortly.