>Just wanted your thoughts on something. We know Marvel takes its sales seriously, and positive sales can mean titles that Marvel is maybe on the fence about can get extended and continue; miniseries can turn into ongoings, and so on.
So as a reader disenfranchised with a title, when does it make sense to quit buying it? You might want to drop the book and have them sell one less copy— voting with your wallet, as they say— declining sales may show you guys that readers are getting disinterested in the book. But it seems like we probably shouldn’t drop a book just because we didn’t like one issue.
To use a real world example, I bought every issue of Avengers A.I. as it came out. I read the first few, found it kind of meh, kept buying it, and when it was over I read the remaining issues. Turns out I did not enjoy the series much at all. You guys can look at the sales and my copies are part of that. I bought every issue new, but honestly I really didn’t like that book at all. So to you guys it may look like it sold well, but I didn’t enjoy it, so… I more or less upvoted something I wish I downvoted.
As a reader how do we avoid sending the wrong message? I also bought every issue of Avengers Arena but I’d really love to downvote that as well. As someone on the inside, what’s the best path you think readers should take? More emails to editors? I don’t see an easy answer.>
To a certain degree, in trying to send a very specific narrow-band message, you’re making something that’s relatively simple seem a lot more complex.
Because there is no practical mechanism to measure reader satisfaction with a given title apart from sales, sales are really the defining factor. We make the assumption that if readers do not like a particular story or title, they are going to stop purchasing it. And if they are interested and enjoying it, they will continue to purchase it or seek it out.
One thing that’s a certainty is that there’s an enormous disconnect between what our fans often say and what they do. You’ll hear fans railing from the heavens that they (for instance) loathe SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN and will never buy another issue again as long as they live. But the sales figures tell a different story. And as our livelihood depends on selling comics, we’re going to skew towards the outcome that sells the most books.
You as an individual reader aren’t beholden to anything. You can buy or not buy any issue of any comic—even if you’ve bought all of the previous ones and intend to buy all of the subsequent ones. That power of choice is in your hands. But what you’re buying is the reading experience, so of course there are going to be instances where you buy a comic that you wind up not liking. And in theory, that should influence your decision whether to buy the next one.
E-mails to editors or message board posts or reviews all carry a certain amount of weight in terms of communicating the specifics of an idea. But none of them are going to function as a substitute for sales. If a book is selling well, we’re not likely to stop doing it regardless of the outcry. And if a book is selling poorly, we’re not likely to continue it, regardless of the vocal support.