Dirk has just posted the most wonderful repost. There's too much stuff to really summarise and I'm too tired, so I'll leave you with this nugget:
Since Hibbs provides exactly zero evidence for his assertion, it’s pretty much pointless to attempt to refute it. Instead, let’s go in the other direction, and assume that both Hibbs and Reynolds are right: Art comics don’t sell in bookstores, and most sell only a quarter of that in comic-book shops. (What exactly does one-forth of nothing look like, I wonder?) Questions then arise: How are companies like Drawn & Quarterly and Fantagraphics managing to afford all those pricey hardcovers that they’ve been releasing lately? And where do they go? Do Chris Oliveros, Brett Warnock, Kim Thompson and Dan Nadel all get together in some hidden forest somewhere, back dumptrucks into a big bonfire and burn copies of Storeyville and Acme Novelty Datebook while they dance around laughing? How long before the credit-card companies and investment bankers who are probably supplying the money for all of this get wise?And that, ladies and gentlemen is why Dirk is always one of the first things on my blogroll I read each night.
I really should update my resumé, shouldn’t I?
Moreover, it occurs to me that since art comics, “with the exception of a tiny handful of ‘anointed’ books, do not appear to be selling in the bookstore environment,” and they sell less than that in the Direct Market, publishers really needn’t worry about harming retailers’ pocketbooks with pre-release sales at conventions, do they? I mean, with the sales numbers being in negative integers and all, they’d practically be adding to comics-shop owners’ bottom lines…
Next week: Fantagraphics goes bankrupt, and the countdown to this website’s disappearance begins as next month’s Internet bill won’t get paid. Bye! It’s been fun! Until then, there’s always the news…
Oh, and while we're on the subject here's Tom's two cents on the subject from which I'll pull this little quote:
So I can say this with some confidence. No matter how you get there, to state at your conclusion that the comic book Direct Market of comics and hobby shops sells more Western books "with only a handful of exceptions" is completely ridiculous. There are now publishers whose entire trade lines are believed to sell more copies book by book through their book distributors than they do in the DM. There are at least two well-known publishers whose trade sales to the bookstore market in aggregate have outweighed DM sales in aggregate for between a half-decade and a decade now. There's one major American comics publisher for whom more aggregate sales and greater sales by individual item has always been the case.