Back in February, DC Publisher Dan DiDio said that the company was "rethinking" its collected edition strategy - and in a Facebook Q&A with retailers, he has explained more what happened - and where their thinking is at now.
"We had a very poor 2018 with our collections. It forced us to reevaluate what we were collecting and how, so you saw a lot of changes taking place," DiDio said. "If you saw the cancellations that occurred after solicitation, that's probably because there was no appreciable interest for these titles - meaning that we couldn't hit the minimum number to justify print. I'd much prefer just to cancel books than to have devalued product out there.
"We have to find ways to make our collected editions valuable, so that people want to purchase them and put them on a shelf," he continued. "We also have to reevaluate these collections of six issues and out - when you collect six issues of a periodical regardless if it's a complete story. You're going to see more tweaking going forward, but I feel like we're in a very good place."
DiDio also noted that collected edition with higher volume numbers on spines generally sell less. The co-publisher didn't say what, if anything, DC will do in response.
"We're finding diminishing returns on the books with numbering on spines-they take the same periodical cadence that comes with our regular books. Every subsequent number drops precipitously," DiDio explained. "The longer those numbers run, the lower and lower those print runs become. Also, I want to make sure we're clear about what's in that book. That's why the title's more important. I'd like someone to pick it up for the reading experience rather than straight numbering."
When asked if retailers can help a solicited collected edition pass DC's minimum threshold to print, DiDio said their decision to cancel isn't based on just a few copies - but thousands.
"We're not cancelling because it's a couple copies off the number. We're cancelling because it's thousands of copies off," he said. "If we cannot get to two-thirds of that [minimum] number, then it does not justify publication."