Sporadic Sequential
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I Can Hardly Wait Until Marvel Rolls Out Their Die-Cut Foil Embossed Limited Edition Hardcover Collections

Here's something that's bugging me: What's the deal with Marvel's "Premiere Edition" hardcover format? Yeah, they're nicely-packaged and sturdy, but is there really a big market for upscale collections of five to six issues of very recent comic books? Are there lots of people who are passing up monthly comics in favor of hardcover collections? Are there actually people who are buying both the floppies and the hardcovers?

Looking over Marvel's recent solicitations, it looks like they're cranking out about ten of these Premiere hardcovers a month, which is just...wow. Again, is there really a market for all of these hardcovers, or is Marvel just flooding the market? I'd have trouble thinking of ten Marvel story arcs from all of Marvel's publishing history that I'd want to own in hardcover, yet Marvel is churning out hardcovers for practically every series out there, including She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, titles I can hardly imagine are even selling much as singles.

Assuming a reader was planning on buying all the singles anyway, the hardcovers aren't that bad of a deal: Six comics at $3 a pop would run you $18, so two bucks more isn't bad for hardcover binding. But there's still the delay waiting for the hardcover to come out, and I'm assuming most superhero fans would prefer to read the stories when everyone else is talking about them. So again I'm wondering who these are for? If there really has been a significant switch to "waiting for the trade" I guess it makes sense from Marvel's perspective to make the collected edition a hardcover and charge an extra five bucks for it. That way they might make a little more money off the customer who was waiting for the trade but can't wait another six months for the softcover version to hit shelves.

Or maybe the primary audience for these slim hardcovers is libraries? That would actually make sense to me, since the hardcovers would hold up better than the softcover editions of such slender books. And at least at my local library, the Marvel "Premiere Edition" hardcovers seems to be the favored format for Marvel comics. (Most of the DC comics are softcover, but I'm not sure if DC is even putting out as many hardcovers each month as Marvel is.)

So what do you think? Do you like hardcover collections of fleeting, disposable storylines? Are you waiting for the hardcovers, or do you go the extra distance and hold out for the cheaper hardcovers? Do you know anyone who ever bought two versions of the same hardcover comic just because it had different covers? (Multiple covers for reprint collections, Marvel? Really??)

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