Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Media Anxiety part 2......

A couple of nights ago I held forth about my Media Anxiety. In the comments for that post I had this:

Nostalgia & Comics Shopper said...
I've been trying to stick to a similar rule, but it's made very hard by 2 things:. 1. The never-ending list of internet special offers, especially good discounts on books and graphic novels from amazon, which vanish once the book is new. 2. The speed with which graphic novels and dvds can go out of print if you don't snap them up when they're on offer or in the shop....

I was going to answer this in the comments but it's got me thinking about the whole thing again.....

Firstly, what are you doing buying Graphic Novels from Amazon? Hell, I feel bad enough buying books from Amazon when we've got a wonderful independent bookshop in Pocklington. Every so often we'll go in and spend some money just to assuage the guilt!
So if you can get to Nostalgia & Comics, or any other good quality comic shop - use them. Otherwise you'll see them close up and although it might be a few quid cheaper on Amazon, there's nothing quite like being able to properly browse in a good comic shop, being able to actually pick up a book you've heard a few things about and see if it's any good.
Nothing in the online experience can replicate a proper bookshop or comic shop.
So stop it. Go to Nostalgia & Comics, say you're sorry for straying and buy more stuff. Thanks.

I used to think that way about things as well; the fear of missing out on a bargain and the desire to have stuff in the house that you wanted was great. Looking at the hot new releases on Amazon and other places and thinking that I have to get them there and then. Of course all this meant was that I had lots of unread discounted books on the shelves causing me media anxiety and screaming out "read me, read me".

I have to disagree with the commenter about how quickly some things get deleted, I've found the reverse; that 90% of what you want to buy will be available for an awfully long time, things just aren't deleted anymore it seems.

This means that in two years time when my bookcase is all read I'll be able to go onto Amazon or ebay and buy the books I wanted in great condition and at least as cheap as the initial discount would have made them.

As for graphic novels it's exactly the same; most publishers are looking for the long term sales potential of keeping the book available. All you have to do is go into Nostalgia & Comics to see that that statement is true. We could fill the shop with nothing but graphic novels and still not have enough room to rack everything we wanted in the way that we wanted.

And for dvds it's almost impossible to find anyone who does buy them when they come out anymore. If something goes on sale for £14.99, you can almost guarantee that it will be down to £10 by the end of the month and under a fiver by Christmas. There's just no point buying them new.


  1. Hi again, I'm the Nostalgia & Comics shopper, now with a real name (remembered my blogger account). No reason you'll know me, but I always tried to say hello and ask for your recommendations in the shop.

    You raise some interesting points in your response to my comments and I don't think I made what I was trying to say clear. I was trying to explain my similar battle with media anxiety and some of the things that make it a struggle. I've been making a concerted effort since November to resist, well, every kind of media anxiety, but the things that make me weak are large discounts (on sale! If you wait, you'll have to spend double! BUY NOW) and limited editions (limited! dubious extras and artboxes! Alex Ross covers! BUY NOW). I think that the collector mentality we grow up with as comics readers is ripe for capitalist exploitation and I'm determined to resist.

    Nostalgia & Comics! Of course I would never betray them! That said, I've pretty much stopped buying new comics and wait for the collections, and while they are great with the new titles, there are some things that they cannot seem to get, or which fly out of stock immediately (as I can't get there every week), or which they cannot seem to restock. I'm currently thinking of the manga by Osamu Tezuka published by Viz, or indeed, many of the less popular Viz titles (Drifting Classroom is another I'm trying to find). I haven't asked recently, but I don't think comic shops have yet managed to reproduce the kind of special dedicated book customer orders that you'd find in Waterstones. I also have a quandry when I want something like the Bendis Daredevil hardbacks, which are £15 on amazon (ie the price of 2 paperback collections) but £25 in a comic shop.

    As for bookshops. Sadly we don't have an indie bookshop in central Brum, so I have no reason not to use Amazon over Borders and Waterstones now that Andromeda has closed down.

    And things do get deleted - usually things we don't need. I notice the fat X-Men omnibus is drifting out of print on Amazon. I don't need it - how many times have I read those ruddy Claremont comics? But part of me wants it. I collected the superb anime series Fullmetal Alchemist and i notice that there were special editions with collectors tins that now raise high prices on ebay. I don't need them, but the ugly collector in me that used to put comics in bags and hunt for back issues wants it.

    And a further twist: recently some SF authors have been pointing out on their blogs that buying their hardbacks (rather than waiting for the paperback) puts more money in their pockets and allows them to keep writing. Now if you're William Gibson then you don't care about this, but for some authors it will make the difference in their next contract as to whether they even make it to hardback. So the anti-collector in me wants the cheapest edition, but the part of me that wants to help struggling artists and writers wants to give more money to them and less to their corporate masters. I don't know where I'm going with this, so I'll leave you with 2 thoughts:

    1. I found this week that I'd collected 9 volumes of Battle Angel Alita without reading the last 3 volumes. I bought the 2nd Exterminators collection from Nostalgia 10 days ago and haven't read it all (although my wife has, does that count?)

    2. The West Wing season 1 dvd is 9.99 this week on the HMV website. Everyone and their dog has recommended this to me. I bought it.

  2. Hi Jonathan. Like 99% of people I've met in my life I have no recollection of you, but if I saw you I'd no doubt recognise you. My memory exists in a purely theoretical sense.

    I probably was a little too harsh on you for some element of comedic effect!

    I'm in a fairly unique position where it comes to comics, being able to read and review and only buying what I really like is a very nice situation and something I really missed for a while on moving. Thanks to the reviewing gig at FPI that's back again now, and very relieved I am.

    But the other stuff is fair enough. I know there have been off and on probl;mes with some of the manga stocks. Something that's just as annoying to Nostalgia as it is to you!

    As for books, I'm just like you, Amazon, Borders, Waterstones are all the same and I have no guilt in using Amazon. Not until I came to Pocklington and now feel guilty over not shopping more in Simply Books though!

    Didn't know about the Sci-Fi writers and the hardback situation - interesting.

    And I certainly don't feel you should beat yourself up over all this! Just acknowledge the terrible collector inside. Acceptance will lead to your salvation!

  3. I think the people you spend time with affects this to some extent for me anyway.

    Working in Nostalgia spending time with people like Rich and Dave most of my time is spent talking about music, books, comics and DVDs that are worth buying.

    Maybe I should spend time with people I have nothing in common with and maybe I'd save some cash!

  4. Yes, the too-knowledgeable friend argument is true.

    Damn those Nostalgia boys!

    Who will, very shortly, be filling my head with stuff I should be reading, watching and listening to as well. Then I shall put my media anxiety solutions to the test!