Marvel Hardbacks: Hachette Job?

Here’s something rather unusual I’ve noticed about prices of certain Marvel comics recently. And no, it’s not another debate about the $3.99 price point…

In the UK, Hachette have just launched The Official Marvel Graphic Novels Collection, fortnightly hardbacks reprinting classic Marvel stories. Issue one reprints JMS/John Romita Jr’s Coming Home arc of Amazing Spider-Man, issue two is to feature the Dark Phoenix saga, and issue three will be Iron Man: Extremis.

So where can you buy it? And how much does it cost? Well, that depends.

It seems that, as with many partworks, the collection is limited to certain regions of the UK, presumably as a test to see how it sells. I scoured the newsagents of Wigan and Manchester to find a copy, but to no avail. I chanced upon one in Asda in Coventry, so it seems that the “Central” region are getting it, while “Granadaland” miss out.

But the testing seems to extend beyond publication region.

Bleeding Cool states that future issues would cost £9.99. The copy I bought stated that issue two would cost £5.99, with subsequent issues at £8.99. Who was right?

Both.

Visit http://www.graphicnovelcollection.com and you can subscribe to the series, with issue two at £6.99 and subsequent issues at £9.99.

Issue 3 for just £9.99!

But!

Visit http://www.thegraphicnovelcollection.com (note the definite article) and you’ll find an identical website, but a not-so-identical subscription offer – issue two costs £5.99, with subsequent issues at £8.99.

Issue 3 for just £8.99!

Pre-internet, testing the sales of a partwork like this by rolling it out region-by-region, at different prices, made sense. These days – not so much.

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to subscribe. £8.99 a fortnight isn’t cheap, but if you’re getting six comics’ worth of material plus extras in a nice hardback, it’s not such a bad deal. So if you’re interested, and you fancy subscribing, remember the “the”.

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16 Responses to Marvel Hardbacks: Hachette Job?

  1. Long Live the Legion! says:

    Top tip – thanks!

    I suspect this is more precisely a fuck-up rather than a master-plan. I really can’t see how they would benefit from conducting research into URLs which have and don’t have the “the”.

    Still we shall see if they try and weasel out of this one when my bill arrives…

    However, if this is a regional test (pre a full national roll-out) experience would suggest that they will cancel after issue 5 or 6 and then relaunch the whole thing later. That will give them the opportunity to revise the price if necessary.

    These things are very expensive to get off the ground so they are always preceded by regional tests.

    I haven’t seen any copies in London BTW.

  2. geekierthanthou says:

    Any chance of some pics and a brief review of the extras?

    How does the finished product compare with other hardcovers on the market?

    • scarysheep says:

      Sorry for the delay. I’ll get some photos up soon. They are lower quality than your standard HC (no dust jacket) – think tpb with a tougher cover.

  3. cliff says:

    Well it seems it’s not happening at all. As I hadn’t received anything 4/5 weeks after subscribing, I sent an email and was told that it’s been suspended and I would be getting a letter about this but nothing yet.
    Subsequent emails i have sent have not yielded any further response – bloody typical!

    • scarysheep says:

      Interesting, thanks Cliff. Have you received literally nothing? No second issue, or gifts? Wonder if the take-up was too low to persevere? Or if it’ll be restarted but nationwide?

      I didn’t subscribe in the end – trying to cut down on spending, so couldn’t really justify £20ish a month for stuff I may have already read.

    • OwningXylophone says:

      Yeah, my first issue took ages to arrive but is here now… I think the subs rollout is just quite slow.

  4. Geekierthanthou says:

    I’m not surprised that it’s been suspended as it completely cannibalises both Panini’s comic and book reprints.
    Personally I’m still keen on them and hope that one day my subscription will actually start!
    Despite Cliff’s news I’d still like to see pics when you get the time.

  5. Long Live the Legion! says:

    I’ve been involved with a couple of other partwork magazine launches.

    It’s standard practice to do a regional test first, then depending on sales, they will take any feedback (perhaps review and slightly alter the publication) then ready it for a full national release.

    Obviously not everything gets a national release…

    I also subscribed though, and I’m quite grumpy that Hachette haven’t even seen fit to tell subscribers they won’ be receiving anything. That’s very poor customer service.

  6. Long Live the Legion! says:

    As to cannibalising Panini’s content… I don’t think that’s a long term concern for Disney:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/05/10/disney-tell-marvel-uk-no-more-originated-content/

  7. Geekierthanthou says:

    It wouldn’t cannibalise those, but would definitely have an impact on Panini’s TPB reprints (the ones you’ll see in Smiths and Waterstones and the like) and to a lesser extent the 9 or so monthly reprints that they currently put out in the UK newstand Market.

    I can’t see how Hachette have managed to get what seems to be a duplicate licence to the one Panini already hold with Marvel.

  8. Alex Hooper-Hodson says:

    I got a letter today saying that they are now finally going to restart my subscription and that it’s all back on. My subscription will start at issue 2 as I originally requested back in June. (I never received anything the first time I subscribed at all and only got a letter to this effect months after I subscribed).

    I am glad as I was pretty disappointed they were cancelling the series as the titles were pretty strong (except the Spider-Man one that sucked). Iron Man was great as was X-Men. I didn’t buy subsequent Avengers based issues as I was expecting them to come from my subscription and didn’t want to buy them twice.

    Anyway I hope it stays around for good this time!

    • scarysheep says:

      Geekier – sorry, I WILL post pics soon. Real life getting in the way of this half-arsed attempt at a blog.

      Alex – yeah, been meaning to post about this. In last month’s issue of Previews the first four issues were solicited, which I assumed meant that a national roll-out was on the cards for January. Good news. I don’t think I’ll subscribe but that’s more to do with my current financial situation and attempt to cut down on comics. They do seem to offer great value for money.

      Incidentally, looks like the higher price is the one they’re going with.

      Even if you don’t intend to buy the rest, I’d recommend picking up issue one if you don’t have it already.

  9. Garth Blader says:

    I am so glad to have stumbled upon your posts scarysheep. I too have been trying desperately not to collect anything.. for economic reasons and for the past couple of years I’ve been good, but when I saw a TV ad last night showing the new Marvel Graphic Novels, I must admit I’m starting to weaken. The last time I was tempted was with the hand painted figures from Marvel and DC. It started off with Marvel then DC was introduced further down the line and both were priced at £6.99 each. It all adds up to huge amounts as you know.

    Eaglemoss was responsible for those products… and yes, they did a good job.

    My experience with Hatchette stems from the 90′s when I was going through a ‘strong’ motorcycling phase. I was compelled to indulge myself in their scaled down models along with partworks which built up into an encyclopedia. When I think of some of the inconsistencies regarding some of the later models that were shipped out, (wheels coming off, missing pages from the literature etc), that was definitely a ‘hatchette job’.

    When I think about it, I’ve been collecting stuff for years… I must be a marketing man’s dream, However, on this occasion re: the graphic novel, I might just take your advice and settle for issue #1.

  10. Alex Hooper-Hodson says:

    Me again. Well it’s now 7 months later – I have 3 of the new books and 4 of the ones for the test release – and the picture on the spines doesn’t match up! They’ve changed the scale of it so it looks wrong when you line them up! I’m really annoyed about this! Has anyone else who bought them in early 2011 and then continued collecting when they official release happened in 2012 noticed this? Sucks! (although loving the stories!)

    • Garth Blader says:

      Well, despite me saying I was only buying #1 of the graphic novels collection… I am now up to #10, (X-men). Drat..! Drat..! and double Drat. I am a marketing man’s dream, they’ve managed to prise almost £20 from my pocket every month… (mug?) lol

      However, I never received #6 from my comic book supplier, apparently there is some sort of problem with the print, so I’m still waiting for my copy. I wonder if the publishers got confused and used a test issue. (the plot thickens… may’be)

      • scarysheep says:

        I am quite envious of everyone who’s buying these! There’s no way I can afford them, but I’ve been admiring them longingly in supermarkets, newsagents and comic shops. They look lovely – and reprinting some great stories, too.

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