Hatchette Publishing ~ greed, and poor marketing. | Sidekickcast

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Published on March 1st, 2013 | by Mike Harding


Hatchette Publishing ~ greed, and poor marketing.

Earlier today, I mentioned in one of my Graphic Novel Review articles, that I was going to talk about Hatchette’s poor marketing skills in relation to the Graphic Novel Collection.

This may sound like a fan boy rant, but it actually is common sense when I eventually get to the point.

Last year saw Marvel release it’s biggest movie to date The Avengers (a moments silence in awe of how great it was), they also released Amazing Spider-man.  This year will see the release of Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, and upcoming years will see the release of various movies as Marvel’s cinematic world expands.

Marvel are great at marketing, and you can guarantee that leading up to Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 we will be flooded with the ability to buy past tales in graphic novel form, and naturally there will be a million and one variant covers relating to the two characters.  This is how you tie in to wider media in order to improve sales.  Even my local library has the ability to tap into wider media and got Avengers and spider-man books in when the movies were out (they didnt advertise it, but they did it).

From the very beginning sales of the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection have been only passable, the company faced numerous problems, when people who had subscribed to the collection found themselves without books for some time, only to be told they had not printed enough copies.  Fortunately I buy my copy from my local newsagent who specialises in these sort of collections, and therefore did not have any such problems, their customer service department has according to online forums been very poor at handling things, which I experienced when one of my books had mutliple pages repeated, and their attitude was send it back if your a subscriber, see if your newsagent will change it if you’re not.  Incidentally my newsagent was very good, but unfortunately all his copies had the same problem, and Hatchette never addressed the situation.

Last year when Avengers and Spider-man were being released Hachette had already planned out their release order, and despite everyone on the internet knowing the release date of the movies before this collection even began, they failed to boost sales by linking to cinema releases.

During the time that the Avengers was released we got Frank Millers Wolverine, and Joss Whedons Astonishing X-men.  Now sure you could say they linked as Whedon directed Avengers, but the previous month had books featuring Captain America and Hulk.  When we consider that the Avengers movie was influenced by The Ultimates, is seems strange that despite there being two Utlimates books in the collection, neither were released at the time.  Then July came around and it was time for Amazing Spider-man to be released, Hatchette had released Spider-man: Kravens last hunt the previous month, when the film was actually in the cinema, we had Captain America: The New Deal, and Kurt Busiek’s Marvels, this was a major mistake as Hatchette have SIX spider-man titles in the collection

Now with the upcoming release of Iron Man 3, Hatchette have actually run out of Iron Man stories in their collection, having released the classic Demon in a Bottle last month, and The Extremis story (on which the film is based) right at the beginning of the collection.

Next we look at Hatchette’s greed, recently I answered a comment on one of my articles asking about Hatchettes second series of books.  At the time I had no idea what the person was talking about (cheers Phil) so I did some digging and discovered what Phil was talking about.

Despite this collection being only half completed, Hatchette have planned a second series called “Marvels Mightiest Heroes”, the idea behind this is that each book will feature a different character every fortnight.  Each book will contain a classic story conncected to that character.

Now this book is meant to have been launched in January 2013, in fact, another comic based website had run an article on the subject, and had the same concern that I did, the cost to fans would be forty pound a month (assuming they would release in the weeks that the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection was not released).

Having discovered this, I approached my friendly newsagent, who informed me that he was aware of a weekly fact file being launched by Marvel, but had not heard of Marvels Mightiest Heroes.

If this series does go ahead I am sorry to say we will not be reviewing it as the cost of the current series will have been £600, plus I wont have any space left (needless to say if I win the lottery all this will change).


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6 Responses to Hatchette Publishing ~ greed, and poor marketing.

  1. Gizmo says:

    Is it fair to assume Hatchette/Panini anticipated the boom in Superhero movies and, in particular, the Marvel Universe movies?

    I read that they expected this collection to gain 10,000 subscribers but it hit the 40,000 mark – which was what caused initial delays in subscribers receiving some issues of the books.

    For me, personally, it’s been a great collection and a perfect re-introduction to comic collecting. Only had the one problem so far which hatchette dealt with OK – albeit their customer service does not respond to emails in a manner that could be considered quick or even adequate.

    Could it have tied in better with the cinematic releases – well I think this is the second print run of this collection, so perhaps that hamstrung the release timing?

    The second series makes sense from a business stand-point – and actually addresses your complaint of not capitalizing on increased popularity/awareness of superheros.

    I too, sadly, haven’t seen it in the shops nor can afford to subscribe. I wonder, though, is this one of the regional “test-the-water” subscriptions that hatchette do? If so, and the do a full blown release to follow on from the current collection, I might be tempted.

    A DC based collection of the same quality, and it would be a case of “shut up and take my money”!

  2. PreyeshS says:

    Is the issue you were reffering to the Iron Man Extremis book? Here in South Africa – a free issue of the that book was given with the Birth of Venom book, and there was a sticker on them, stating that they were aware of the error in the book and they were compensating collectors with the free copy. I subscribe, but didnt notice anything wrong with my issue. I’ve been enjoying the collection as well – albeit we’re extremely behind here in South Africa – New X-Men: E is for Extinction is the current book out at retailers – you do the math! I also collect the DC Chess collection – so thats a month filled already with subscriptions – should a new Marvel set appear – I might just get the 1st issue – but thats pretty much that!

  3. Dr Beckett says:

    Firstly, kudos on a great blog! Regarding the second series, I just had a look here: http://www.mightiestcollection.com/index.html

    I may actually look at getting this, but I fear some of these may contain stories already printed in the current collection. I agree with you though, definitely greed from the publishers’ side, seeing how well the existing run is doing.

    @PreyeshS – good to see a fellow South African collector here 🙂

  4. Miek says:

    So far I’ve been fairly happy with the collection. I’m not tempted by the 2nd collection though, this is enough of a cash sink as it is and I don’t think I have enough room on my shelves to be honest.

    Out of curiosity, which issue was it that had a printing error? I’ve fallen a bit behind with my reading of the issues but haven’t seen anything like that yet, just wandering if it’s a widespread issue or was contained to that batch.

  5. Hing says:

    I decided to subscribe to the second collection as I too hadn’t seen it in the shops.

    Received an email yesterday to say that the set was being postponed until later in the year and to compensate me I would be receiving a free gift and would also receive the first 3 issues free once they are released.

  6. Mikeybumchin says:

    Thanks for all your comments, the issue with multiple pages reprinted was Incredible Hulk: Silent Screams.

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