Daily Archives: September 2, 2008

How Much Press Can You Get for $125?

Kramer's Ergot Vol. 7“There’s no such thing as bad publicity” is an axiom that is unfortunately absolute in tone. Ask Sarah Palin and her family if they think there’s a benefit to all media coverage, and you might find the language they use might not be as Christian as the Alaskan governor claims to be. Still, there is some truth to the expression, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than with the upcoming publication of Kramers Ergot from Buenaventura Press.

Slated for release in November, the seventh issue of Sammy Harkham’s comics anthology is breaking from its usual format. The new issue will be 96 pages long and retail for a suggested $125 US. The reason for the inflated price is the unconventional, oversized format with which Harkham has opted to experiment. It will be 16 by 21 inches; reportedly, the unusual format will require hand-stitched binding, and the project is of such import to those producing it that someone will travel overseas to oversee (heh, homonyms are fun) the printing process.

The high price point, despite the justifications offered by its editor, has resulted in a surprising controversy. Some supporters of indie/alternative comics craft have criticized the move, arguing the editor and publisher is putting Kramers Ergot Vol. 7 beyond the reach of many readers who have supported the anthology up ’til now. I’ve also read a criticism that the oversized format and niche-market pricing smack of self-importance.

Speaking as a media professional who’s observed the furor and some more reasoned discussions on the topic, I have to say the shift in format and cost to the consumer constitute a stroke of genius.

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