Sunday, December 5, 2010

Where Are All These Cowboys & Aliens Coming From?

Once upon a time Scott Rosenberg mega-printed this book and literally paid retailers to "buy" it in a plot to artificially inflate sales numbers and land # 1 on the graphic novel charts.  His ultimate goal was to attract interest from movie studios and get a Cowboys & Aliens film made.

And it sort of worked.  He failed in getting his book listed as the # 1 graphic novel, which is just as well, since it was too small and belonged on the comic book side of the list any way.  He did succeed in garnering Hollywood's attention, because Iron Man's Jon Favreau is directing a Cowboys & Aliens movie starring Daniel Craig.

At one point there were stacks of this stuff selling for less than a dollar or simply being chucked in the trash.  Once word got around that Rosenberg's scheme was bearing fruit in the form of a major motion picture, folks started looking through those trash cans again looking for copies of the comic again.  That buzz resulted in a price spike, and I've sold multiple copies of Cowboys & Aliens for $30-$35.  Not bad for a book that supposedly retailed for less than $5 and was wildly available for free in refuse bins at one point.

The new twist is that Instocktrades suddenly has the book available for $1.50, and Amazon is listing a hardcover edition available in February, and new paperback edition available in May, although now that $5 book is suddenly carrying a suggested retail of $15.99.  I'm aware of the concept of inflation...but that's pretty gross.

Another weird twist is that the old listings for Cowboys & Aliens don't appear in a basic search for the title keywords, although they still exist if you dig with the ISBN.  As I type this, Amazon min for these listings are still in the $40+ range.

I don't know what Instocktrades got hold of - a discovered stack of the old books, a pile of the new ones?  Who can say?  And I don't think it makes sense to back up the truck and buy a pile of these, because obviously the supply is about to catch up to the demand and then some.

At the same time, they're selling the book at $1.50, so your risk is minimal.  You could snap up three of these for about the same price as a copy of a new Marvel comic.  It's possible you might be able to sneak one of these through for $30 on Ebay or Amazon, and that's a pretty darned good profit margin.  If you're thinking about putting in an Instocktrades order, it might be worth your while to add one to your cart.  At the very least, you're buying a book at more than 90% off what they'll be selling them for in your LCS come May.

- Ryan

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