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comixpress.com: low print runs, low budget printing...
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gazorenzoku
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Joined: 08 Nov 2001
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Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:13 am    Post subject: comixpress.com: low print runs, low budget printing... Reply with quote

Has anyone seen http://www.comixpress.com/ ?? It looks pretty cool. They offer a low cost, low run indie press printing/distribution/sales service. They sell comics online as well as ship them wherever you want (you pay the shipping cost, I think). They take a percent of comics they sell on their site. Go check it out. You can print as low as a one issue four page comic, so it might be fun.

Also, I saw our very own D.J. Coffman has a comic for sale there! Wow! Coffman, if you're reading this.... how are sales, and how is everything else with comixpress.com? Tell us how it is going with them.

(I know this isn't online comics... but it is online distribution.... and it might be a cool outlet for online cartoonists who want to experiment with printing....)
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losttoy
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Joined: 02 Apr 2002
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A fellow artist and I were looking very long and hard on this. If I actualy had a job to pay for this (if you notice I don't even have enough money to get off geocities yet) I would totaly be there. In fact, print-on-demand (at least with comixpress) is the best way to beat the standard print and distribute system. If you can afford a minimum $10 set up fee (plus how many discounted comics you want for yourself), then you can publish your book. Then you get a precentage of the sales. The cost for your readers are about the same as any other print book in the US.

There is other things to think about. If you sell advertising you can easily cover your set up costs. However you also have to promote you comic. A preview comic sent to Indy friendly stores can have a simple URL to show where they can order online. Ads at Comixpedia and such are not too expensive. And so on, but it is not that complicated.

Like I said, if I had any source of income I would be there.
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gazorenzoku
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Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

david!!! $10!!!! How can you not do it?!

If you want to do print, that is. If you are not interested in print as a medium, that is a different story.

Ok, I just realized something really intense. According to my calculations, if you can pay the initial $10 set up fee, you can print up books and send them to indie friendly stores, and at least break even on it. You might not be looking at any profit, but you have your work on the shelf. And it occured to me, though it might already be common knowledge, that having your book on a shelf is perhaps the ultimate form of advertising (if your target audience is comic book store goers).

The reason why you can at least break even? The direct market system! Most stores will ask for a 60% discount and then buy your comics from you and put them on their shelves. That means you only get 30% of the cover price, but you are garanteed to get that 30% for all the books they accept. I think most indie friendly stores will take about 10 copies of a good indie book.

Anyhow, all you have to do is price your book so that it covers the printing costs, the shipping costs, and that 60% chunk taken out by the store owner, and you have a comic staring people in the face every time they go in a store.

Now, I didn't buy a Jim Woodring "Frank" comic for YEARS. But I caved eventually, and until I moved to Japan where buying pamphlet comics just isn't a reality for me, I was a loyal reader. If I were back in the US I'd be a loyal reader today. How many people has Woodring captured that way? His book is on the shelf, every month, every time you go in the store. Eventually you are going to give it a shot. Sure, it is not a profit making affair, but considering the direct market system makes the store owner pay you up front for the comics you sell, it is the ultimate form of advertising!

Ok, so, let's say you do this, and pretty soon, maybe after, oh, 6-8 months of putting out a comic every 2 months, you get to a solid 1,000 reader per month base. Ok, maybe this takes a year or two. Whatever. But let's say you get that 1,000 reader base. And you do it mainly through having your comixpress printed comics in the store all the time.

At this point you need to move on to someone like Brenner printing to start turning the comics into profit makers intsead of free advertisements. I don't have the figures for 1,000 copies selling, but my figures for 2,000 copies selling come to a $504 profit for going with comixpress and $1632.40 profit if you go with Brenner. Of course with brenner you have to have the printing money and everything up front, so it is a big step. But up until now, there was no really good way to print professional looking comics and get them into stores without a huge investment. With comixpress, it is only $10! Ok, yeah, you have to pay for shipping and printing before the comics store gives you the cash, but for 100 copies that can't be much. The big difference, I guess, is that with Brenner the smallest order is 1000 comics, where as with comixpress you can do up as low as 1.
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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so basically, call up the stores or whatever, find out if they'll pay you 30% of the cover price up front for 10 books or so, and then have the books printed and shipped. With the $10 set up fee, your first time comes out to a mere $20.20 for printing up a 28 page, black and white interior, color cover comic. Shipping may come to say, what, $10? Probably no more than that, at least. Maybe less. But let's say it is $30 to send 10 comics to a store. Yeah, that kind of sucks. So let's take that $10 set up fee out and get you a monthly average, cause you can do this every month with a new store each month. Now we drop down to $20 or so. Shipping can't be that much!! Let's take it down to $15 to print and send 10 comics to an indie friendly shop. Now you are looking at a monthly fee of $15, which will hopefully pay off when you get that 30% chunk of the cover price (I am thinking a $3.50 cover price is a good way to go).

Dude. $15 for the initial investment. Per month. And the great thing is these indie comics don't sell well right away, so you can bet you won't be getting any reorders from any stores the first few months. That means you can go with a different store each month, and the stuff you sent to the store the month before is still up on the shelf. Let's say each indie friendly store has 5 readers that would give you a shot, and 2 readers who could become loyal monthly readers. With 2 readers per store on your side, you need to send your comic to 500 shops to get a good 1000 reader base (which is what you need to switch over to Brenner printing and turn your books into profit makers). If you did this all at once, your investment would be about $75. Wow. That's still under $100. And you'd make that money back a week or two later, after the comics arrive and the store owner pays you your 30%. Hopefully you'd make a 10-20 dollar profit even.

But you don't have to do the whole $75 up front. Just keep going at $15 per month, with the 30% of the cover price sailing back into your wallet and hopefully giving you a $5 or so profit per month. That's 500 weeks, though, to get your 1000 reader base. That's 10 years, which kind of sucks. So..... you sure you don't know anyone who could loan you $75? How about 250 stores one month, and 250 stores the next? That's only $37.5 per month.

I bet if your comic is good (and who can say what good is nowadays? Good is anything that keeps people reading it and paying for it) and you leave 10 copies in 500 stores, and keep putting a new comic out every couple of months or so, within 6-8 months you could hit that 1000 reader base.

Does that sound impossible to do?
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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, i just heard that 20 shops in America sell 75% of the indie comics in america. Which is odd, but maybe that means that instead of 2 readers per store, you are going to get most of your readers at those 20 stores (and branch out from there if possible).

So, if you can get 1,000 to 2,000 readers at 20 stores.... IF..... (which doesn't sound all that impossible, at 50 to 100 reades per store in an indie friendly store) then you have to woo 20 store owners.

So now the game turns from putting stuff on the shelf and leaving it there to getting 20 store owners to like and push your stuff. Which means we might be done with the free advertising model? Time to pay?

To get those 20 store owners to like you, you are going to need to send them tons of free cool stuff. Free comics, free posters, etc. Anything you can. This is all going to cost money, and you are not going to get an immediate return on that anymore, cause it's free.

Let's think.... 5 free comics to 20 stores is going to run you, oh, $150 or so. Then throw in posters and stuff... pretty expensive.

I don't know.... maybe you can get away with just putting stuff on their shelves for a while, if you don't have the cash to woo them. But somewhere along the line you are going to need to send them free stuff. You could budget, like, 50-100 dollars a month for advertising at that point. Too high?
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Last edited by gazorenzoku on Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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losttoy
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds possible and something I plan to do ... of course at this point I don't even have ten bucks to spare. I have no job and rent is really really late. If you want to give me a loan, then we will talk.

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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

losttoy wrote:
It sounds possible and something I plan to do ... of course at this point I don't even have ten bucks to spare.


Great! I'll see you on the shelves! This is all far off future stuff for me, too. I haven't even finished my first issue... And I am pretty poor too. Maybe the key is in loans from family. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle army started on a 1,000 dollar loan from one of the creators' uncles. Think about THAT.

losttoy wrote:
If you want to give me a loan, then we will talk.


Ha ha.... I am barely paying rent as it is!
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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So.... anyone out there buying from comixpress.com?
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Eric F Myers
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gazorenzoku wrote:
So.... anyone out there buying from comixpress.com?

The first week ComixPress was open I bought the four comics that they had avalible. The quality of print was nice. You wouldn't be able to tell them apart from the other comics on the shelf. The interior paper isn't newsprint. I'm not sure of the grade, but it's almost as thick and bright as the covers. I also think they're a bit high on shipping. I'm waiting for them to get out of the Beta stage, then they'll have graphic novels as an avalible option too .
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gazorenzoku
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's good info to know.

so how would you rate the overall experience? Like, are you satisfied with the quality of the art and story of the books you bought? The ordering system, etc?

In other words, do you see comixpress, as they are now, a place that you and other people would enjoy buying comics at?
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Eric F Myers
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I would buy from them again, but only comics that I know that I'll enjoy. The one disadvantage is there's no preview. If there was, I wouldn't of ordered a couple of the comics. I guess I could of went to the artist web sites and sampled their work. I just bought them to see the quality of print.

And yes, I would use them to print my comics. I'm thinking about using them for future projects. I'm sure if you had a bigger audience you would go with a cheaper printer in bulk, but it's a good place to start.
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Baie
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sound so super keep it up!!!
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TCWJoe
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I checked out their site, as soon as I get some stuff together I'll get my feet wet there.
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