Friday, August 21, 2009

The Parable of Preorders

The economy of the comic book industry is pretty weird. Most people can go to the comic book store and buy their comics, and that is it. They don’t think about how the comic book store owners order their wares. Some fanboys will preorder their comic books, like comic book store owners, in order to save some money. My husband does this.

This is how Ash explained preorders to me:

Let’s say you want to buy a pair of pants; all you need to do is go to the store, pick out a pair you like, and pay the cashier. It’s pretty simple. Now, if pants were sold like comic books, it would make everything more complicated. You would need to preorder your pants. You would read a little blurb about a pair of pants, and if you think you might like them you pay for them the month the description is published. You will take a gamble on whether the pants will be any good. Several months later, you will get your pants in the mail. Often, your pants will come months later than you expected. Sometimes, your pants may not ever get made, but you will at least get a refund. If you are a store owner, it gets even more complicated because you need to take a gamble on how many pairs of pants you’ll be able to sell several months down the road.

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