Newsstands

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Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:00 pm

I've had a discussion before a number of times, about why comics "should" be sold on newsstands. My point has always been that if they had been a good way to sell comics, the publishers would still be using them.
The argument that exposing kids to comics that way is good for sales resonates with me because that's how I got "back" into them as an 11-year-old. Before then, I'd been reading whatever was available from my family. I think they got them from local drug stores, but I was too young to go. But, when I moved to a new neighborhood, there was a convenience store near me, and a newstand downtown, that both sold comics. I spent my entire allowance on them each week.
So, I do get why people think this is a good idea. I just think it's not viable, because publishers aren't going to pass up a profitable place to sell. Sure, there are lots of comics they couldn't sell that way, but if it were a good venue, there would be work made for it.
So, why am I bringing this up? Partly because the board isn't too active lately, but mostly because of something I saw in a magazine this weekend. There's a special "Bronze Age Superman" issue of Back Issue, and it has a reprint of an ad from the 1970's (I think) talking about how to recover the sales lost from newsstands not selling comics. It looks as though the move to "direct sales" stores might have been a move to save comics, not a way for publishers to cut out newsstands.
Or not, but I hope someone wants to comment.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:33 pm

Thing is, as I understand it the publishers didn't choose to abandon the newsstands-the newsstands didn't want the comics because they were making no money from them! The space they were giving to comics was better served, in their opinion, being used to display a magazine with four times the cover price. I doubt that's changed. Particularly since the publishers could no longer afford to offer sale or return, which was the newsstands biggest incentive to stock comics in the first place.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Sam_Vimes on Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:14 am

Maybe it was a mutual break-up.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:28 pm

tony ingram wrote:Thing is, as I understand it the publishers didn't choose to abandon the newsstands-the newsstands didn't want the comics because they were making no money from them!

Just as I understand it, and it makes the point that if you don't know the whole story you can make bad assumptions. Newstands weren't making money, so some of them stopped carrying comics. Over time, enough did that it became unprofitable for companies to pay those distribution costs.

Sam_Vimes wrote:Maybe it was a mutual break-up

Very likely, but the major point was just that it didn't start because comics companies just wanted to do all "adult" material, which is something I've heard.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:34 am

Mbast1 wrote:the major point was just that it didn't start because comics companies just wanted to do all "adult" material, which is something I've heard.
I've heard that one trotted out more than once, usually by people with little understanding of the mechanics of distribution who just have an axe to grind against comics for not being what they were in the sixties anymore. They invariably ignore the fact that plenty of adult orientated comics were sold on newsstands long before the direct market took over.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:21 pm

tony ingram wrote: usually by people with little understanding of the mechanics of distribution

Precisely. It's not as though shoving comics onto newstands is costless.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:36 pm

Incredibly, I have had conversations wih people who seemed unable to grasp that the publisher doesn't get the full cover price of each issue sold. God knows what they think the comic shop owners get out of the deal...

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:41 pm

tony ingram wrote:Incredibly, I have had conversations wih people who seemed unable to grasp that the publisher doesn't get the full cover price of each issue sold. God knows what they think the comic shop owners get out of the deal...

So how do they explain shops giving discounts? Do they think the shop loses money?

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:51 pm

I have absolutely no idea.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:18 am

tony ingram wrote:I have absolutely no idea.

I sometimes think the only way people get through their lives is to just ignore anything they don't care about.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:50 am

Including most of the rest of the world, it sometimes seems...

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:57 pm

tony ingram wrote:Including most of the rest of the world, it sometimes seems...

Yeah, I notice that. There was a story about Angoulême, a comics-related fair I'd like to get to before I die, and on CBR, people kept complaining about how so few of the characters were American superheroes. As if the entire world knows those first and foremost. Just so odd.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:20 am

Because to many American comics readers, "comics"="American comic books"., and, worse, "comic books"="superheroes". I've had people try to tell me that Asterix, which has three times the annual sales of most US titles, was "obscure" and that 2000AD-which is sold in half the high street newsagents in Britain-was "an independent" because it isn't published by an American company sold in no high street newsagents anywhere anymore. Most odd.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:19 am

tony ingram wrote:Because to many American comics readers, <snip> Most odd.

Although the snipping I did actually looks like it says it all, it was an accident.
Americans can be quite myopic, and sometimes are proud of that, but it's just so strange. I have never been a fan of monoculture, but it's ingrained in us, deeply.
Ah, well, at least I'm not forced to be like that myself. I like what I like, even when it's not the same. I'll keep looking for things that aren't just like everything else, and "not superhero" and "not mainstream" (meaning DC and Marvel, apparently) is just fine.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:06 am

Mbast1 wrote:
Although the snipping I did actually looks like it says it all, it was an accident.
Americans can be quite myopic, and sometimes are proud of that, but it's just so strange. I have never been a fan of monoculture, but it's ingrained in us, deeply.
Possibly partly a result of comparative geographical isolation? Aside from Canada to the north and Mexico to the south you're basically isolated from the rest of the world, in a country that's almost a continent in itself. By comparison, pretty much everyone else has several immediate neighbours; even Australia and New Zealand tend to be rather less isolated and their citizens to travel abroad more. I would guess that to some in the States without the means or the need to travel out of the country, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia might as well be Narnia or Oz, made unreal by distance.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:15 am

tony ingram wrote:Possibly partly a result of comparative geographical isolation?

That's what we've always said, and I suppose it's true. Even in England, you're not too far away from other countries with different values, systems, traditions and languages. But, with television and the internet that should be fading as distances are shrunken. I don't know.

tony ingram wrote:Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia might as well be Narnia or Oz, made unreal by distance.

That's a really good point. In some religious debates, I've seen people make a similar point, that we have to take on "faith" that other people's DO exist if we've never seen them.

But, I think what bothers me is the idea that it's almost virtuous to be ignorant and jingoistic. That's the odd part.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:54 am

It is indeed. Though I wouldn't have said that, as I'd be potentially laying myself open to accusations of being anti-American.

How much 'foreign' TV does the average American watch? We get a lot of American and Canadian imports, and even Australian soaps, but I can't imagine many Americans watching East Enders or Coronation Street, somehow...


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Re: Newsstands

Post by Sam_Vimes on Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:36 am

Mbast1 wrote:That's a really good point. In some religious debates, I've seen people make a similar point, that we have to take on "faith" that other people's DO exist if we've never seen them.

. . .Stop blowing my mind, man!

tony ingram wrote:How much 'foreign' TV does the average American watch? We get a lot of American and Canadian imports, and even Australian soaps, but I can't imagine many Americans watching East Enders or Coronation Street, somehow...

You'd have to be a REALLY dedicated Anglophile to watch East Enders or Coronation Street, this is true, but British sci-fi, comedies and dramas generally get a lot of play, so on average I'd say it's probably more than you'd think. The mainstream considers such things to kinda-sorta belong to the "geek" genre, though (yes, even the MAINSTREAM, totally non-geeky stuff), so there's also that.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:52 am

So foreign = geek genre. Hmm. Not entirely surprised.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:33 am

tony ingram wrote:as I'd be potentially laying myself open to accusations of being anti-American.

Not only am I an American, I'm proud to be so. Doesn't mean I don't think many Americans are idiots.

tony ingram wrote:How much 'foreign' TV does the average American watch? We get a lot of American and Canadian imports, and even Australian soaps, but I can't imagine many Americans watching East Enders or Coronation Street, somehow...

I don't know, I love a lot of British TV (I love Black Adder as much as I love MASH, and I think that's about as good as comedy gets, and there's a LOT more I love), but I'm not average in that, I'm sure. But, the thing is that it doesn't matter how much they DO watch, it's the simple access we have. That they don't watch non-American programs is part of the problem. Missing an opportunity only reinforces the point. We could know so much more.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:39 am

tony ingram wrote:So foreign = geek genre. Hmm. Not entirely surprised.

I don't know that that's ALWAYS the case (I think Downton Abbey is generally accepted) but, yes, largely it is. Which is sad, because there's a lot there to see.
Although, I do wonder sometimes why British sitcoms are more accepted than American sitcoms. They can be at least as crude as American versions, but I see them on public television. Weird. I mean, I see a sweetness to a lot of them that's often missing in America (I am watching Vicar of Dibley right now, and loving it, and crude as it can be, there's more genuine emotion in one episode than an entire season of Seinfeld) so maybe that's it.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:31 am

I've never thought of The Vicar of Dibley as crude. I suppose there's some mild innuendo, but it's not on the level of, say, the Carry On films, which are pretty much regarded as family entertainment for a lazy Sunday afternoon. I guess we just have a rather more relaxed attitude to such things than your lot, and a more ribald sense of humour. I find miost American sit-coms rather bland and unfunny to be honest, the honourable exception being things like Frasier or The Big Bang Theory, which are both very well written.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:09 pm

tony ingram wrote:and a more ribald sense of humour

So I've noticed. What caught my attention were the references to bestiality. I can't imagine those making it onto American tv. But, maybe I've missed something. I'm not complaining, at all, just that there are some differences. And especially in the way they're treated. Yes, for "geeks", but more for "snobs", in that they're on public tv here which is often seen for people with pretentions.

tony ingram wrote:Frasier or The Big Bang Theory, which are both very well written.

I think so too. I think, in general, sitcoms don't have much to offer, but they can be fun. I like Night Court, and as weird and crude as that could be, it had a lot of real heart. More and more we get things like Seinfeld (which I do find funny, to be honest) or worse Scrubs. Most of the characters on Scrubs are funny, but the main character was whiny, childish and selfish, and I don't get why that seems endearing. I think the same about How I Met Your Mother, though, since the main character is awful and the others are so much more interesting.
Point, being, I guess, I don't expect much from sitcoms and generally don't get much. British ones DO seem funnier to me, if cruder and that's why I like so many. So I watch, always have, more than a bit of British TV, so maybe I'm not a typical American.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:50 pm

I'm afraid I've never seen the humour in Seinfeld or Scrubs. I really don't understand why Seinfeld is so highly regarded by so many. Maybe it's just me.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:44 pm

tony ingram wrote:I'm afraid I've never seen the humour in Seinfeld or Scrubs. I really don't understand why Seinfeld is so highly regarded by so many. Maybe it's just me.

No, it's not just you. It's largely for an American audience, with different sensibilities. But, one of the main things I often notice is how many of our sitcoms have incredibly self-centered people as main characters.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:40 am

That's something I hadn't really noticed before, but thinking about it, you're right. Whereas in a lot of British sit-coms (the better written ones anyway, rather than the dross) the central character is usually flawed in some way but essentially driven to help others ad often self sacrificing against their better judgment (like Del Trotter or Norman Stanley Fletcher). I think sit-coms need a heart if they'e to work, really.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:48 am

tony ingram wrote:I think sit-coms need a heart if they'e to work, really.

I agree. I do like some sitcoms with terrible leads, but as I said I often like them in spite of the main character. Sitcoms have so little to offer besides comedy (which is good) that I think they need to have that heart to keep from being cruel, from seeming to laugh AT people.

As an aside, what do you think of MASH? And, more to my question, do you see it as a comedy? When I watch the DVDs I do so without the laugh track and it changes the tone. I have read that in Britain you didn't ever have the laugh track and so I wonder what you think of it, if you've seen it. I dearly love that show, but seeing it as an adult and without the laugh track definitely changes the perceptions. Which is good.

Overall, I think many of the sitcoms from both the US and Britain are forgettable, but I do like a LOT of yours. I still think As Time Goes By is fantastic, and I can't see a show like that making it here. Small, quiet and about people who aren't young and beautiful. I could list more I like, but no point.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Sam_Vimes on Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:00 am

tony ingram wrote:I find miost American sit-coms rather bland and unfunny to be honest, the honourable exception being things like Frasier or The Big Bang Theory, which are both very well written.

It's amusing that you singled out The Big Bang Theory as being one of the good ones, as most geeks in America consider it to be no less than The Worst Thing Ever. I'm one of the few who love it, mind you, but it's generally regarded as being quite lowbrow and akin to "nerd blackface".

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:22 am

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:I think sit-coms need a heart if they'e to work, really.

I agree. I do like some sitcoms with terrible leads, but as I said I often like them in spite of the main character. Sitcoms have so little to offer besides comedy (which is good) that I think they need to have that heart to keep from being cruel, from seeming to laugh AT people.

As an aside, what do you think of MASH? And, more to my question, do you see it as a comedy? When I watch the DVDs I do so without the laugh track and it changes the tone. I have read that in Britain you didn't ever have the laugh track and so I wonder what you think of it, if you've seen it. I dearly love that show, but seeing it as an adult and without the laugh track definitely changes the perceptions. Which is good.

Overall, I think many of the sitcoms from both the US and Britain are forgettable, but I do like a LOT of yours. I still think As Time Goes By is fantastic, and I can't see a show like that making it here. Small, quiet and about people who aren't young and beautiful. I could list more I like, but no point.
I really liked MASH, but I never thought of it as a comedy-it belongs, I think, in the 'comedy-drama' category, alongside British shows like Lovejoy. The thought of it with a laugh track is just bizarre. I had no idea it had one in America, and I find that very odd.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:23 am

Sam_Vimes wrote:
It's amusing that you singled out The Big Bang Theory as being one of the good ones, as most geeks in America consider it to be no less than The Worst Thing Ever. I'm one of the few who love it, mind you, but it's generally regarded as being quite lowbrow and akin to "nerd blackface".
Seriously? This seems to be my day for being surprised. Shocked

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:01 pm

Sam_Vimes wrote:It's amusing that you singled out The Big Bang Theory as being one of the good ones, as most geeks in America consider it to be no less than The Worst Thing Ever. I'm one of the few who love it, mind you, but it's generally regarded as being quite lowbrow and akin to "nerd blackface".

Interesting. I LOVE that show, and I do consider myself in the geek/nerd category. But, I have noticed some issues with the show, and I have read about some things I didn't pay attention to for a while. I think Sheldon is getting less funny and more just mean-spirited, and I get what female geeks are upset at.
I don't know, I can see the points, but I still watch it. Not sure what that means.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:03 pm

tony ingram wrote:I really liked MASH, but I never thought of it as a comedy-it belongs, I think, in the 'comedy-drama' category, alongside British shows like Lovejoy. The thought of it with a laugh track is just bizarre. I had no idea it had one in America, and I find that very odd.

It may be odd to you, but it's odd to me that it doesn't have one there. Like I said, it works even better without it, but that definitely shaped how it was perceived here.
Of course, now I have to see Lovejoy to see what's there.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:31 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
Sam_Vimes wrote:It's amusing that you singled out The Big Bang Theory as being one of the good ones, as most geeks in America consider it to be no less than The Worst Thing Ever. I'm one of the few who love it, mind you, but it's generally regarded as being quite lowbrow and akin to "nerd blackface".

Interesting. I LOVE that show, and I do consider myself in the geek/nerd category. But, I have noticed some issues with the show, and I have read about some things I didn't pay attention to for a while. I think Sheldon is getting less funny and more just mean-spirited, and I get what female geeks are upset at.
I don't know, I can see the points, but I still watch it. Not sure what that means.
From the latest episodes I've seen, Sheldon appears to be gradually being humanized more, at least as far as his relationship with Amy goes. But you're probably ahead of us.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:36 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:I really liked MASH, but I never thought of it as a comedy-it belongs, I think, in the 'comedy-drama' category, alongside British shows like Lovejoy. The thought of it with a laugh track is just bizarre. I had no idea it had one in America, and I find that very odd.

It may be odd to you, but it's odd to me that it doesn't have one there. Like I said, it works even better without it, but that definitely shaped how it was perceived here.
Of course, now I have to see Lovejoy to see what's there.
Lovejoy was one of the longer running comedy dramas, back in the 80s/90s. It concerned the misadventures of a slightly shady Suffolk antique dealer afflicted with an unwanted and often inconvenient conscience, and starred Ian McShane, who is probably best known in the US from the Western series Deadwood.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by MajorHoy on Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:00 pm

tony ingram wrote:Thing is, as I understand it the publishers didn't choose to abandon the newsstands-the newsstands didn't want the comics because they were making no money from them! The space they were giving to comics was better served, in their opinion, being used to display a magazine with four times the cover price.  I doubt that's changed. Particularly since the publishers could no longer afford to offer sale or return, which was the newsstands biggest incentive to stock comics in the first place.
By the way, Marvel has since abandoned newsstand distribution here in the U.S.

They had raised the cover price on many newsstand copies from $2.99 U.S. to $3.99 U.S. (but left the normally $3.99 U.S. prices alone), but even that wasn't worth it to them. Evidently, Marvel didn't want to deal with the hassles / expenses of returns on unsold copies that were offered on newsstands, even at bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble. (Besides, it may also have been a question of what percentage of their overall sales was still through a newsstand copy vs. the specialized comic book shops these days.)

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:52 pm

Sad, but not surprising.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:00 am

Are any American publishers other than Archie still selling anywhere other than comic shops?

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Re: Newsstands

Post by MajorHoy on Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:40 pm

tony ingram wrote:Are any American publishers other than Archie still selling anywhere other than comic shops?
I can only speak for places like the Barnes and Noble book stores chain, but I still see some DC (some New 52 and some of the all-ages stuff), some Dark Horse (mostly Star Wars, but a few others), and the Simpson and SpongeBob-related stuff (Bongo and United Plankton Pictures, Inc., respectively) when it comes to single issue stuff.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:28 pm

Interesting. Thanks, it's good to know there's sttill some exposure outside comics shops.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:45 pm

tony ingram wrote:Interesting. Thanks, it's good to know there's sttill some exposure outside comics shops.

My local big-chain grocer sells comics in its magazine section. Not a ton of them, but they do sell them.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by MajorHoy on Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:19 pm

Mbast1 wrote:
tony ingram wrote:Interesting. Thanks, it's good to know there's sttill some exposure outside comics shops.
My local big-chain grocer sells comics in its magazine section. Not a ton of them, but they do sell them.
I had one grocery store chain (Stop and Shop) that use to have spinner racks at some location, but those were phased out. And with recent remodelings, they've reduced the magazine section and have maybe one-or-two comic book titles these days.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:12 am

Most newsagents over here still sell comics, but it's been at least twenty years since they sold American imports, which is rather sad as they used to be available everywhere.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by MajorHoy on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:37 pm

tony ingram wrote:Most newsagents over here still sell comics, but it's been at least twenty years since they sold American imports, which is rather sad as they used to be available everywhere.
Any idea if it was lack of interest in non-British material, costs of importing, a combination of the two, or something else?

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Re: Newsstands

Post by Mbast1 on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:40 pm

tony ingram wrote:but it's been at least twenty years since they sold American imports, which is rather sad as they used to be available everywhere.

They're not available everywhere IN America, so I'm not surprised.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:50 pm

MajorHoy wrote:
tony ingram wrote:Most newsagents over here still sell comics, but it's been at least twenty years since they sold American imports, which is rather sad as they used to be available everywhere.
Any idea if it was lack of interest in non-British material, costs of importing, a combination of the two, or something else?
I don't think it was lack of interest, the reprints published by Marvel UK and later by Panini still sold well enough (and still do). I'd guess it was the cost of stocking them and the demise of sale or return.

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Re: Newsstands

Post by MajorHoy on Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:57 pm

tony ingram wrote:
MajorHoy wrote:
tony ingram wrote:Most newsagents over here still sell comics, but it's been at least twenty years since they sold American imports, which is rather sad as they used to be available everywhere.
Any idea if it was lack of interest in non-British material, costs of importing, a combination of the two, or something else?
I don't think it was lack of interest, the reprints published by Marvel UK and later by Panini still sold well enough (and still do). I'd guess it was the cost of stocking them and the demise of sale or return.
And who knows whether any import fess and taxes became too much? (Cost of shipping was probably a hassle.)

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Re: Newsstands

Post by tony ingram on Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:03 pm

There is no import duty on printed material coming into the UK, because there is no tax on books or other printed material in the UK.

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Re: Newsstands

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