The Bean 346
The Bean 346
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Distribution and Monopolies:

So today I found out that Haven distributors went under a few weeks back. This is a very frustrating bit of information to swallow, because now Diamond is the only one left and they haven’t been very friendly to independents. Why is this an issue for me, well it just makes it even harder for our graphic novels to get into comic book shops. This news just doesn’t affect just me, if affects all the small press venues out there. It is now almost nearly impossible to get books into stores around the globe.

What hurts is that is how I found out about several great reads. In fact some of the best reads were from small press and independents. There is a certain amount of love found in these stories that you don’t seem to find somewhere else.

So what do we do? Well thank goodness for the internet for one. Though little money is made here through free viewing, we find other ways to fund these massive adventures. I still love printed books, so I will continue to offer them. Now that doesn’t get them into your local store, but it still offers them to the public.

What is scary, is the monopoly of one distributor controlling what goes into what stores. I would hope another company would step up and help out, but in truth we cannot rely on that and in the meantime life will go on. Independents and small press are going to have fine other ways to get our books out there.

Why the rant? well it is more of a concern for me. I want my tale to succeed and I want so many others to also. To survive we will need to have find another way to get our tales into other peoples hands. The internet and print go hand in hand.  They need each other.

My commitment still stands, I will never charge for my tale online, your support shows me I don’t have to as my books move slowly through the store and quickly at the shows. I will figure out a way to keep this tale alive and in the process help others figure out their dreams as well. There is no reason to squash or shove one another out the way as we push to tell our tales. In fact as we help each other we can make it in an industry where independent/small press is being shoved out. So lets shove back.

I encourage to support those webcomics you love. If they have a book out, buy it. That helps them continue to tell the stories you love. They need that support more than ever now and you as the fan can make that happen.

Thanks for letting me vent and keep creating

trav-

16 Comments

poeso » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

Oh wow that does stink! I wish you the best Travis and I am sure with your determination that you will find a way. Again, if you need anything I am willing to help. But for now I will continue telling others how amazing your comic is and pointing them in your direction.

Cat » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

The world still needs physical books. I feel sorry for anyone who has not had the opportunity to hold a book in their hands as they read, or to look at a shelf full of books he/she has never read and choose one based on the cover and synopses. Besides, the less physical books we we have, the faster people will become bored and violent when computers take over and then then the power shuts down. Electronic books have their place, but allowing real books to be lost is just a sad thought.

    glennnnnnn » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

    The world still has physical books. A good thing about books is that as long as you keep them safe they last a long time. But how many books do we need? How many useless but expensive books are printed every day that nobody will ever read?
    If you treasure books then you will keep them safe so they will remain treasures. If you can print your own books you will do that by selecting what new treasures you want to keep, not by purchasing what you might or might not like or find useful.

      Mercy » 13 Jan 2012 » Reply

      The important thing is that we still have printed information we can hold in our hands. Computers are wonderful inventions, but they depend in the end on electricity–which is fragile. I would hate to depend for my library on a piece of equipment that is unreliable at best and becomes obselete almost before it enters stores. E-books come and go — we still have bound books that are over five hundred years old, preserving information for us that we otherwise would not have.

        glennnnnnn » 14 Jan 2012 » Reply

        Do you understand the difference between transporting information and storing it?
        The issue here is about preparing the book so it can be read which also includes shipping and handling, storage and promotion, then sales. These are some of the points through which a printed book must pass, and for each step of this transporting process there is a person demanding to be paid for their labor. Cut all of those people from the process and print the book at your end. A simple PDF would be all that was required. And books only last for hundreds of years if they aren't burnt or eaten by mildew or ripped to shreds by barbarians. Books are FRAGILE !

          Cat » 14 Jan 2012 »

          Have you ever read the "Foundation" series by Isaac Asimov? If you have, there is a point in the book where the characters can not figure out how to make themselves dinner because they can not figure out how to plug the cookbook into the cell phone. If we are not careful, E-books will become the first step of making that humorous event in fiction into a sad reality.

          glennnnnnn » 14 Jan 2012 »

          Yes. I read "Foundation" a long time ago, but maybe not the whole trilogy. Some novels go overboard on concepts because the author is making a point, and they aren't realistic. In reality there would be alternatives to be explored, and when one method didn't work, another would be found that did. Someone would (re)discover paper and pencil, or take photographs showing the steps. (There would be a powerful incentive!) -If you want to explore a doomsday scenario, by demanding the traditional book you will be contributing to another disaster.

          Cat » 15 Jan 2012 »

          While Asimov may be overly cynical, assuming that physical books will not dissapear over time just because time won't let it is being overly optimistic. Time is about change, and the only way to ensure that anything stays constant is by putting effort into preserving it. I believe E-books have their place, but we can't let physical books fall out of circulation either.

          glennnnnnn » 15 Jan 2012 »

          I think you should do as you think best. E books will never totally replace printed books, and as you noted, the format for these reader-type electronic texts keeps changing, so there isn't much of a solid future there either. But as resources get more expensive, technology will have to take up what cannot be accomplished otherwise.
          This is still a very new concept – only about 40 years ago computers were big boxy things that ate punched-cards and cost millions of dollars, and the internet was just a dream. ——————> We can count on one thing:
          The future will be different than anything we have ever known.

sfbell09 » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

Excellent comic today. Moving on to the topic at hand. It seems to me that independent publishing Is a tricky beast. As an aspiring writer I look at the challenge of getting published. It is a large task with many points of failure. Self publishing is cheap and easy but I love books. The physical book is dear to me. So I can give up on trying to find an agent and publisher, or continue to rage against the storm. Perhaps some manner of compromise can be attained. In this case, a graphic novel, perhaps an off-shore printer may be an alternate solution. Others have had success. The down side is of course sending work away from American independents. The must be some kind of reasonable compromise. What it might be I am not certain.

    glennnnnnn » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

    How about this: You sell the work in electronic form but allow it to be printed when and if they wish to have a copy on paper? Everybody wins, including the environment.
    The concept of the book has only changed slightly from that of the stone tablet or papyrus scroll. The book has always been expensive- in the dark ages a book was priceless because so much work went into it, but there was no alternative. The printing press allowed a flood of information to change the world, but it has reached its limits. Now we have something better, that even allows options and alternatives without wasting resources.
    Multimedia means having your cake and eating it too!

      sfbell09 » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

      I know that amazon.com has a few products like that, print and e-pub. I do not know if it would be viable for Travis though. I have not done enough research to know about all of the possibilities.

glennnnnnn » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

Unfortunately books will become more expensive and difficult to manage because they have to be carefully created and printed and bound, and they have weight and take up space. They need to be transported and stored and counted and carefully handled before anybody can buy them. And then if the buyer chooses another title all of that is wasted and money is lost. Ben Franklin said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." He wasn't just going on about frugality but this was a general statement about the printing business disguised as good common sense. E books are the future of printing. Even William Caxton and Herr Gutenberg would agree. The printed book will continue to be made, but more as an art form, and will become even more expensive, and exclusive, and hidden in collections. The only way the majority of people will ever read those books will be in the much more portable and affordable electronic version.
But the bottom line is money. That's what Ben Franklin meant.

susan » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

In situations like this I see the ebook as a really good option for those unable to get published/distributed any other way. I just glad you'll still be making your books available in the more tactile version.

Dormin » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

Odo was right, Thaddeus was the dragon.
So, I bet the bad guy must be the one with the twin blade of Ganadon, like with Elric´ Stormbringer and the Mournblade.

Ron Good (sfreader) » 12 Jan 2012 » Reply

Any info from Haven management as to reason(s) why they went under? Lessons to be learned? Or is it simply that Diamond is so big and diversified that negative factors hurt both, but only Haven flatlined?

Have your say!

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