Thursday, December 29, 2011

Market Spotlight!

Haven't done one of these in awhile, let's see if I remember how to do this.  Oh yeah, I guess I just riff on secondary market stuff I've noticed recently.

Here's an interesting one, and - brace for it - this has nothing whatever to do with trade paperbacks!

So I'm ambling about the closed comics listings on eBay, because that's where the real learning is done; wandering about, poking one's nose where it doesn't belong, for no other reason outside of curiosity.  Whilst ambling I discovered this listing, where some crazy bastard actually dropped $62 on a beat up copy of a counterfeit comic book.

Now, these things can get a little dodgy.  No way of knowing if any money actually traded hands.  Just because the listing closed, doesn't mean it really closed.  But there's every good chance that this actually happened.  What makes it extra head scratchy is that right now you could probably make an offer and score on this fully authentic Cry For Dawn # 1 in a much more attractive 9.4 grade for about $150. 

I just can't get over that sale, because it has absolutely nothing going for it.  Sure it's beat to shit, but at least it's fake....  I'll pop for $50 on that all day long!  What the hell where they thinking? 

Some other items catching my attention:

MPD Psycho Vol 6
ISBN:  1593079966
SRP:    $10.95
Amazon Min:  $80/$80

In point of fact, volumes 3-7 of this series all seem to be out of print and scrambling toward some degree of profitability, at least on paper.

I have a hard time trusting this.  Part of the problem is that I've never made one nickel on reprinted manga in my life, so there's the novelty of it.  Part of the problem is that this feels spiritually akin to some of the all ages digest scenarios that have burnt me several times in the past.

I've seen J2 digests and Mary Jane digests climb for the stars on Amazon...but I've never been able to capitalize.  Whatever the min is, some items just don't seem to command more than half cover price.  The audience will simply do without rather than pounce on an expensive book.  Now, I'm rational enough to recognize that what happened with Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane two years ago has little to do with what I can expect from MPD Psycho material now.

If you look at the closed eBay listings on the series, there's no heat there, either.  I don't trust it, is what I'm saying.  Having said that, the SRP is $11, so if this thing is for real, you're looking at margins north of 7:1, and that's awfully tempting.  Awfully tempting.  If you can find this thing laying around your LCS, I might snap it up and see what happens if you dangle it for $50.

She Hulk Vol 7:  Here Today
ISBN:    0785129660
SRP:      $14.99
Amazon Min:   $18/$25

This whole series has been kind of a rock star this year.  I've had multiple sales on Volume 2 and especially Volume 9 recently.  So it comes as no surprise to find Here Today poking its nose out for a whirl at profitability.

It's not unusual to see prices cycle, but I've noticed that this whole She Hulk business has been particularly volatile.  A few days ago this looked like an even juicier peach.  It's still pretty good, though.  And the only reason why the low "new" condition bid is sitting at $25 is because your not-so-humble scribe is under-selling the book right now trying for the quick flip.

Let's talk about that for a second.  There's several schools of thought on maximizing profits, but I'm in the "when in doubt, get your money and get out" school.  I picked this up today at Hot Comics from the 50% off shelf, which means that I got it for about $8.  Now, my book is brand new in very nice condition.  I'm looking at the Amazon listings, and the lowest of the used is sitting around $18, but there's a nice sounding "like new" book at $20.  The lowest price on the "new" chart when I got there is about $40.

First impulse for many is to slap it up there at $39.99 and let it ride, and that's not a terrible plan.  What I did is calculate what a 3:1 would look like, calculate my ability to replace the book, and gauge the volatility involved, and how confident I was about selling the book in the higher echelons.

What I did was post it for $24.99 looking for the quick turnaround.  Am I selling myself short?  Perhaps.  I don't have a history with this book, so mostly I'm dealing with unknowns.  But at $24.99, I'm making a nice margin, and there's another copy sitting at Hot Comics for $8 if I need it.

"Why didn't you just buy both", says Faithful Reader?  Because I'm not in the business of getting in deep with any book until we have a relationship, and I have every confidence it will be waiting for me if I need it.  Yes, even after publicly announcing it.  I have six readers, and none of them frequent Hot Comics.

The strategy is:  get in dirt cheap, make a nice margin, plow it into the next thing.  That book that looks so pretty on Amazon with the $80 price tag on it is doing you no favors until somebody pulls the trigger on it.  It's all a loss until you sell it.  That book you bought for $10 and flipped for $30 goes into the next thing and makes another $20, and another $20, and it doesn't take long before those boring little trades are completely outshining that $80 book collecting dust on your shelf.

Having said that, the wise Gamer also makes distinctions about perennials and the truly scarce.  You don't blow out your copy of Batman: Legacy because you can't replace it.  I can find another copy of She Hulk Volume 7, easy.  I can't drive to the LCS and expect to find X-Men: Zero Tolerance sitting there.  So when I've got something good, scarce, with a history, then yes I'll make my customer pay for the privilege.  But I don't think I'm ever going to lament making $15 off a She Hulk volume, ever.

Starman Omnibus Vol 1
ISBN:  9781401216993
SRP:    $49.99
Amazon Min:   $45/$45

Obviously you're not making money on this right now buying at full retail.  Not yet, in any case.  But do any of you remember when the Batwoman: Elegy HC was sitting at cover price and I told you it was going to $60 in six months?  Well, I lied.  It got there in three, because min for a new copy is up to $56 and will continue to climb.

Same thing with Starman Omnibus Volume 1, which now appears to have gone out of print, and let the feeding frenzy begin.  This is legendary stuff in an attractive format, and I don't see this going out of style...ever.

DC may go back to press on this at some point, but I don't see that happening in the near future.  It's a thick book with a smallish but fervent fan base.  DC is not going to trip over themselves to reprint this, and in the interim, profit city.

It's a steep investment at full retail.  Do I think this book hits par ($100) or better by this time next year?  Yeah, I do.  If this is resting at your LCS, watch the market and don't wait too long.  Worst case scenario?  You've got about 12 hours of the best damn reading you'll do all year.  Starman is something special.

Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor signed edition
ISBN:   9781607064831
SRP:     $124.99

I mention this because I pre-ordered one from Amazon for about $65, and I can't imagine an easier called shot.  Rise of the Governor is the first in a trilogy of Walking Dead prose novels, and Skybound is offering a limited quantity of signed editions in a handsome little slipcase.  The regular HC is regularly priced at $25, the deluxe slipcased edition is $75, and the signed edition retails at $125.

I don't think it too controversial to claim that the Walking Dead property has some legs.  I don't know how many copies were signed, because there's no way I'm breaking the seal on my copy.  I do know that there will always be more people looking for this than have it.

I don't know if I advocate spending full retail on the item, but luckily, you don't have to.  This is still available for around $75, and I believe it's a steal at that price.


Web Wreckage Stephen said...

The thing about the Starman Omnibus is that DC is going back to press on it in the new year (Spring or summer) just it will be a paperback edition of the Omni, so it is anybody's guess if this increased availability of the material (albeit in a different format) will kill the potential on it for the Gamer. Might be a short window on that book.

That being said, I missed out on a chance to score a copy of it at a LCS boxing day sale at 50% 0ff - just flew under my radar with so many other books being scooped up in my feeding frenzy (whole store was 50% off!)including acopy of the Art of Marvel Studios and others.

David Ferguson said...

I wonder how much my copy that is signed by Tony Harris would go for. It's personalised but there might be more Davids out there who'd bid on it. :-)

Chronic Insomnia said...

David - If I got Tony Harris to sign one, you would have to pull it out of my cold, corpsey hands to get it.

Stephen - I could be wrong, but I don't think the paperback will make much of a dent in the demand for the HC. I say that because of things like the Deadpool Vol 1 PHC and the New X-Men Omnibus. The market is drowning in that material in TPB form, but it never seems to matter for the HC. I guess Marvel is going back to press on the New X-Men Omnibus in late 2012, though. Now that will affect profitability on the first edition, fo sho.

- Ryan

David Ferguson said...

Yeah. He is a really nice bloke. I got an Ex Machina 50 page from him. He was also giving a talk on photo reference and his process (Monster Mike would have enjoyed that).