Friday, February 16, 2007


A couple of weeks ago we brought a boxed set graphic novel in three volumes from our local specialist comic store, Graphic. It was Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie – but that’s another story. The price was very high but we figured it would be hard to get anywhere else and the Amazon freight charges would be major. Half an hour later in a general bookstore, we saw the same boxed set 25 percent cheaper. Back we went to Graphic in Cuba Street and worked through the whole sorry story. On the back of an envelope the owner showed the exact breakdown of who was marking up what and where the costs were. We could see they were not making a huge profit and that the other store must have been close to taking a loss. We reached the traditional gentleman’s agreement and split the difference. But the problem remains. We often can save a bucket load getting books from a chain store or via Amazon whether they are art books or comics but the question is: How much are we prepared to pay to keep specialist stores like Parsons and Graphic in business? The photo above of Borders in Auckland shows what happens when the chain stores get into the art book world. Not much. Maybe it is because we don’t have anything like Parsons in Wellington that we stand with the specialists supplemented by online.
Image: Sample of the range of art books at Borders, Auckland