Return to Eden

Over at the Dark Horse forums, DH assistant editor Samantha Robertson has some happy news for fans of Eden: It’s an Endless World: It’s not teetering on the verge of hiatus; DH PR guy Jeremy Atkins merely said that he wished that it was getting more attention as it’s one of his favorites.

Of course, there’s a caveat:

It is of course true that whether or not we are able to continue to publish a long series like Eden is sometimes in part determined by that series’ sales. It’s only logical that how much money we are able to put into an extended series is affected by how much money that series brings in. If a series appears to be unsuccessful, we can’t necessarily commit ourselves to volume after volume no matter how much we believe in or love that particular series (and believe me, we love every series we do… That’s why we decide to do them in the first place!). So yes, if you believe in a series we do, support it, not only by saying how much you like it but also by buying the books themselves.

I have no insider knowledge of Dark Horse, although I have met Mike Gombos and Carl Horn at cons, and they strike me as being totally devoted to what they do. Whatever the problem is, it isn’t them. I did interview a niche publisher (of illustrated books, not comics) a while ago, and he told me that his rule of thumb is that a book has to sell 3,000 copies to break even. He added, “I break that rule about three times a month,” which is what publishers do when they fall in love with a book. But this guy also felt—deeply—that every book sitting on a shelf in the warehouse was costing him money.

Nobody likes to hand out sales figures, but from reading the Bookscan and Diamond reports and talking to editors, I’d guess that a lot of the lesser-selling titles out there are pretty close to that borderline. And books that don’t sell cost you money.

I like ChunHyang72’s idea of offering an online option, which would cut down on some of the production costs and might help them finish out a faltering series. They would still have to pay editors, translators, letterers, and the production crew, but the flipside is that what appears to be Eden’s biggest problem—no one can find it—would be solved. And in fact, if it worked like the Netcomics model, it might even build the audience enough to make the print volumes worthwhile again.

(Hat tip: Susie.)

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