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Where do unsold Newstand Editions go? Options
monidaw1
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 11:49:32 AM

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While I continue to dig around trying to find the Newsstand in a haystack issues being requested, it occurs to me that when I had a pet store, the way I got credit for unsold copys of aquatics magazines was to mail the covers back to the company. Anything like that going on with Newstand Edition comics or is there some secret warehouse they go to hide in with the Ark and the other stuff Dr Jones found and had taken away?

Bamf!!! Photobucket Pages

outcast
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 5:00:18 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
While I continue to dig around trying to find the Newsstand in a haystack issues being requested, it occurs to me that when I had a pet store, the way I got credit for unsold copys of aquatics magazines was to mail the covers back to the company. Anything like that going on with Newstand Edition comics or is there some secret warehouse they go to hide in with the Ark and the other stuff Dr Jones found and had taken away?
It's my understanding that, decades ago, local distributors returned covers (or just the logo portion) of unsold comics for credit. It's my understanding that that practice stopped ca. the 1970s, when it was replaced by affidavit returns (instead of returning the covers or logos, local distributors would simply create an affidavit reporting the number of unsold comics, and send the affidavit up the supply chain). I never heard that affidavit returns were replaced by a newer practice; perhaps ARs still occur (if any actual newsstand distribution still occurs [note that newsstand comics sold in national chain bookstores appear to be distributed by a bookstore distributor via drop shipping]).

I wouldn't imagine that unsold newsstand comics are aggregated anywhere. Consider: By the time such comics have sat on a retail shelf for the display period, they are generally in VG condition, and probably not worth a lot, even to newsstand collectors. Consider: Direct-sales comics carefully preserved by collectors are generally worth about a nickel apiece when a collector tries to sell a box to a retailer. It's just hard to come up with a scheme by which anyone could make a buck snagging newsstand comics on their way to landfill.
Xylob
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 6:07:19 PM

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From the outpouring of demands to have them added as variants to this database, it would appear that you are incorrect and the market for these books is HUGE - you could in fact become an instant millionaire if you were to find a way to snag all those unsold newsies outcast!

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AvidGamer
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 6:12:14 PM

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I was in a discount book store a month or two back and found that some company packages newsstand comic books back issues in bundles of 4. I bought a few and the assortment was totally random. I did get a New 52 Flash #1 in there which was a nice surprise.

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outcast
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 6:50:55 PM
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AvidGamer wrote:
I was in a discount book store a month or two back and found that some company packages newsstand comic books back issues in bundles of 4. I bought a few and the assortment was totally random. I did get a New 52 Flash #1 in there which was a nice surprise.
That certainly sounds like an operation supplied by newsstand comics snagged after retail display. I stand corrected!

I would love to see more details about this; e.g., name of city, name of discount bookstore, price of 4-pack, condition of bundled comics, etc.
outcast
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 7:23:33 PM
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Xylob wrote:
From the outpouring of demands to have them added as variants to this database, it would appear that you are incorrect and the market for these books is HUGE - you could in fact become an instant millionaire if you were to find a way to snag all those unsold newsies outcast!
Certainly, I am on record with a proposal to separately list newsstand comics and direct-sales comics in the CCL database. I must have missed "the outpouring of demands" supporting the goal that I sought; my recollection is of a mixture of reactions that included indifference to, support for, and antagonism toward the proposal, with no group having an obvious majority.

I am still looking for a place where I can shop for comics identified as either newsstand or direct. Mile High is such a place, but fails to completely satisfy me as a customer. Mycomicshop.com lists the occasional newsstand comic, but not consistently enough to meet my needs. If anyone knows of another such retailer, I would be pleased to learn of it.
monidaw1
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 8:20:32 PM

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Thank you.

I'm identifying them as I find them but also trying to understand the interest in them and why they would go for higher prices than the direct editions. I can't imagine Mile High doing things willy nilly or just on a whim so I figure there must be a reason. If there's a distinguisable identifier on the cover, which there is, with the lack of the words Direct Edition on some or the word Newsstand added to others, and a smaller production number catering to the limited newstand market, and the lack of any huge quantity of unsold high grade copys making it onto the market then maybe the higher price is justified based on the limited quantity. When the customer I'm searching for told me today that Newstand Edition's were still being produced, which I didn't know, then it occured to me to question what happens to the unsold ones. That's when I remembered the sending the cover only back thing from the other magazines. The customer then tracked down some info about Barnes and Noble employees cutting covers off and sending the leftover parts to be shredded.

Wether CCL ever chooses to accept them as a distinguishable listing or not, there is precedent that says elsewhere they are and have value above and beyond the value of their counterparts of the Direct distribution persuassion so I'll continue to try and seperate them and have them for those who request.

Now it appears there is no secret warehouse filled to the rim with leftovers. It also sounds like I should check those 4 packs at Dollar Tree/Family Dollar to see if they have them. It also sounds like many are simply destroyed.



Bamf!!! Photobucket Pages

outcast
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2012 9:54:48 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
Thank you.

I'm identifying them as I find them but also trying to understand the interest in them and why they would go for higher prices than the direct editions. I can't imagine Mile High doing things willy nilly or just on a whim so I figure there must be a reason. If there's a distinguisable identifier on the cover, which there is, with the lack of the words Direct Edition on some or the word Newsstand added to others, and a smaller production number catering to the limited newstand market, and the lack of any huge quantity of unsold high grade copys making it onto the market then maybe the higher price is justified based on the limited quantity. When the customer I'm searching for told me today that Newstand Edition's were still being produced, which I didn't know, then it occured to me to question what happens to the unsold ones. That's when I remembered the sending the cover only back thing from the other magazines. The customer then tracked down some info about Barnes and Noble employees cutting covers off and sending the leftover parts to be shredded.

Wether CCL ever chooses to accept them as a distinguishable listing or not, there is precedent that says elsewhere they are and have value above and beyond the value of their counterparts of the Direct distribution persuassion so I'll continue to try and seperate them and have them for those who request.

Now it appears there is no secret warehouse filled to the rim with leftovers. It also sounds like I should check those 4 packs at Dollar Tree/Family Dollar to see if they have them. It also sounds like many are simply destroyed.

I won't try to speak for anyone but myself, but here goes....

When Marvel, in 1979, introduced markings that visually distinguished direct-sales comics from newsstand comics, they first put a slash through the UPC area. A short time later they added a diamond-shaped number/price block. Later still, they dropped the UPC altogether, and replaced it with static Marvel character shots (usually Spider-Man) or promotional messages. All of these things "look wrong" to me; none of them are pleasing to my personal graphic aesthetic. The diamond-shaped number/price block persisted until 1982. I have identified all issues in my collection with the diamond-shaped block, and I am replacing them with newsstand comics as I find suitable replacement copies.

Regarding the Spider-Man headshots replacing UPC: for only a few dollars per issue, Marvel could have eliminated the UPC area altogether, letting the full cover art be displayed instead. This might have made direct-sales copies MORE desirable than newsstand copies (ugly diamond-shaped price block notwithstanding). They didn't, and the substitute images replacing the UPC have always looked to me (subjectively) like unhealed wounds.

Not everyone feels this way. I talked to a dealer at a recent comics show about newsstand comics; he told me about a friend of his that collects direct-sales comics preferentially to newsstand comics. Apparently his friend LIKES the Spider-Man headshots, and dislikes the UPC.

Diamond-shaped blocks were replaced in 1982 with an M-shaped block (Spider-Man head shots and promotional messages replacing UPC persisted). I find the M-shaped block less ugly than the diamond-shaped block (this is purely subjective), so I'm more willing to tolerate post-1982 direct-sales Marvels in my collection than the 1979-82 issues. Nevertheless, the traditional newsstand look from the post-1982 period continues to appeal to me, and if I find nice newsstand copies from this period, I will buy them.

The M block design went away later in the 1980s IIRC, when Marvel decided the Comics Code Authority seal had some marketing value, even in comics shops. At this point, differences between newsstand and direct number/price blocks became much less conspicuous. The UPC area still had obnoxious art or promotional messaging, and I continue to prefer newsstand versions for this reason.

In the early 1990s (IIRC), Marvel added UPC to direct-sales copies. From this point forward, I can't rationally explain the appeal that newsstand comics have for me. Newsstand copies become noticeably less common than direct-sales copies by this time, so there's the scarcity factor. And like a coin collector wanting not only the 1948 coin, but also the 1948-D and the 1948-S, there is the appeal of having both versions in my collection (pence-priced comics, though, leave me indifferent, so there is inconsistency there).

At publishers other than Marvel, differences between newsstand and direct-sales copies are less conspicuous. Still, now that I've started noticing the differences, I am generally excited to find a newsstand copy of a comic that I collect, from any time period. Part of it is the feeling that, if I don't buy this now (when dealers generally don't charge more for newsstand versions), I might regret it later (when charging more for newsstand comics might become standard practice).

Another way in which newsstand comics might be preferred to direct-sales comics is that, occasionally, there have been issues where newsstand copies of an issue had fewer advertising pages than their direct-sales versions. I have found a few such comics (I think I reported them here in the CCL forums). Off the top of my head, some Batman-family issues, from the No Man's Land time period, were published this way. I thought this was particularly cynical of DC, considering that, with USPS Periodicals Mail (which may have been used to move newsstand copies to local distributors), the publisher has to pay 100% of freight for the fraction of pages dedicated to advertising, whereas in the direct market, retailers pay 100% of freight for all pages of every item ordered.

As for Mile High's reasons for separate pricing, there are some things to consider:
1) MHC's cost to create a newsstand listing is probably not particularly high; that listing is probably paid for the first time a customer orders the newsstand version.
2) MHC does NOT promise delivery of a direct-sales copy if a customer does not order a newsstand copy. A customer who orders an unspecified version of an issue may get a direct-sales copy OR a newsstand copy (I, personally, have received a newsstand copy from MHC when I failed to specify the version; I was happy to get it).
3) The two preceding considerations, taken together, reveal MHC's newsstand program to be a low-risk operation. If they have a nice inventory of newsstand versions of an issue, they can collect extra revenue from collectors willing to pay for newsstand versions, but can use the same inventory to fill orders from collectors who do not specify either version.
4) There have been a few issues published by Marvel (e.g., Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme #2) that do not seem to exist with what we would consider direct-sales markings. MHC lists, without direct-sales cover scans, such issues in an unspecified and a higher-priced newsstand version, even though they must be using identical copies to fill orders for either version.
5) DC took about a year and a half to follow Marvel's precedent, starting to print differentiated direct-sales comics in late 1980. MHC lists unspecified and higher-priced newsstand copies of DC issues published during this year and a half, even though differentiated direct-sales copies of these issues were not printed.
monidaw1
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 5:26:08 AM

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Thank you for that extremely detailed history. Applause

Quote:
When Marvel, in 1979, introduced markings that visually distinguished direct-sales comics from newsstand comics, they first put a slash through the UPC area. A short time later they added a diamond-shaped number/price block. Later still, they dropped the UPC altogether, and replaced it with static Marvel character shots (usually Spider-Man) or promotional messages.


I had a feeling this was going to get more complicated than just looking for a bar code and the lack of the words "Direct Edition". That's where having a source of images to compare to would help. As a hobbyist all I care about is reading the inside. You could lump them all under a single listing with a mention of the differences in the covers included in the description and I wouldn't be bothered. As a retailer my job's to fetch it, not judge it. That's where having images to compare to would help since there's enough changes detailed to keep me confussed. I'm thinking for now since CCL doesn't want to offer the images I could maybe lump the ones MHC doesn't have covers of in another photobucket account until I think of something better.

It also occurs to me now that if you're saying the differences between Direct and Newsstand started in 1979 then if my original goal was to reassemble my collection I had from around 1979 to the mid 80's collected directly off the spinrack at 7-Eleven and later turned into Dave's Comic's that I'd have to put together a Newsstand Edition collection to have the same books back.

Another thought is it reminds me that a way to distinguish Direct Editions from the 60's is the crease in the cover where they were folded in half and then mailed which makes me wonder with an order for a single comic yesterday in F/G grade range if that's an option now to offer single issue low grade fillers at a cheaper postal rate? Think

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Tamwood
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 6:19:14 AM

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Every week, there is a small list of comics that can be "returned" to Diamond by ripping off the covers. Usually DC and Dynamite. I have the honor of beheading many a comic.

Not that this has anything to do with newsstand issues, but someone mentioned returns, and it still happens today.
monidaw1
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:14:49 AM

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Quote:
Direct-sales comics carefully preserved by collectors are generally worth about a nickel apiece when a collector tries to sell a box to a retailer. It's just hard to come up with a scheme by which anyone could make a buck snagging newsstand comics on their way to landfill.


Quote:
Every week, there is a small list of comics that can be "returned" to Diamond by ripping off the covers. Usually DC and Dynamite. I have the honor of beheading many a comic.


Quote:
Another thought is it reminds me that a way to distinguish Direct Editions from the 60's is the crease in the cover where they were folded in half and then mailed which makes me wonder with an order for a single comic yesterday in F/G grade range if that's an option now to offer single issue low grade fillers at a cheaper postal rate?


There we go. We just found a supply, a delivery method and I'm sure I wouldn't be the only demand out there. Cheap books with no cover availible to read shortly after release shipped inexpensively. If I just really loved a story I might search out a cheap copy with a cover in a year or 3 when the Direct Editions make it into the market at low end pricing. I refuse to buy new books since the price plumets so fast but cheap coveless one's would be just as good. Tongue

Bamf!!! Photobucket Pages

outcast
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:43:44 AM
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monidaw1 wrote:
.
.
.
Another thought is it reminds me that a way to distinguish Direct Editions from the 60's is the crease in the cover where they were folded in half and then mailed which makes me wonder with an order for a single comic yesterday in F/G grade range if that's an option now to offer single issue low grade fillers at a cheaper postal rate? Think
I'm not sure I fully follow your question, but let me try to answer.

I have always regarded center-folded comics from the 1960s and 1970s to be subscription copies; in fact, I had some comics subscriptions in the 1970s, and the earliest issues I received by subscription were center-folded. I suppose one might define such comics as direct-sales, in the sense that the publisher is selling the comic directly to the consumer. On the other hand, in terms of the printing, such comics were identical to copies distributed and sold at retail. Such comics are not what I, as a collector, have in mind when I talk about direct-sales comics.

As for a cheaper postal rate: Publishers sent subscriptions copies via second-class mail (the name was changed in the 1990s to Periodicals Mail). Publishers are said to have also used second-class/Periodicals Mail to ship bundles of new comics to regional distributors. Periodicals Mail is not available to all postal customers. Publishers have to apply for a permit to mail publications via Periodicals Mail (once obtained for a publication, the permit becomes an asset of the publisher; if a publication is sold, its permit is generally specified, along with the subscriber list, as specific assets included in the deal). I would think that the Periodicals Mail rate would not be available to a non-publisher seeking to ship back-issue comics.

The least costly way I know to ship comics is via Media Mail, and I have encountered postal clerks who denied that rate when I acknowledged that the contents included advertising (even when I specified that it wasn't MY advertising, and that the ads were decades out of date). Other clerks have been more cooperative. If Media Mail is denied, then shipping gets pretty expensive pretty quickly.
yourplace2
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:59:06 AM

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I have looked into this same topic from time to time, and found some interesting stories over time.

This page has some very interesting things to add to this topic.

Bronze Age MArvel Variants

Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of the article. Someone has built a site with every 30 and 35 cent variant posted.

Enjoy.

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* All items must be returned prior to refund at your expense. Return shipping not refunded.



yourplace2
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 9:47:56 AM

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Tamwood wrote:
Every week, there is a small list of comics that can be "returned" to Diamond by ripping off the covers. Usually DC and Dynamite. I have the honor of beheading many a comic.

Not that this has anything to do with newsstand issues, but someone mentioned returns, and it still happens today.


That is very interesting. How much do you get back for them? FULL wholesale value? See, if someone could manage to keep those UNSOLD comics from getting torn, then I'm sure there would be a market for them. I'd buy them for inventory for pennies on the dollar, but probably you get more back than selling them a steep discounts.

Tam, do they go back to DIAMOND or to the actual publisher? You would think that DIAMOND would realize and market to sellers at the level we have here on CCL, instead of destroying them.

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* All items must be returned prior to refund at your expense. Return shipping not refunded.



comicscastle
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:20:11 AM

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yourplace2 wrote:
Tamwood wrote:
Every week, there is a small list of comics that can be "returned" to Diamond by ripping off the covers. Usually DC and Dynamite. I have the honor of beheading many a comic.

Not that this has anything to do with newsstand issues, but someone mentioned returns, and it still happens today.


That is very interesting. How much do you get back for them? FULL wholesale value? See, if someone could manage to keep those UNSOLD comics from getting torn, then I'm sure there would be a market for them. I'd buy them for inventory for pennies on the dollar, but probably you get more back than selling them a steep discounts.

Tam, do they go back to DIAMOND or to the actual publisher? You would think that DIAMOND would realize and market to sellers at the level we have here on CCL, instead of destroying them.
These are returns authorized by Diamond due to late shipping, solicitation changes or any number of other reasons. You must return the full cover, at your expense, and then you will receive a full credit on what you paid for the books. The only thing left to sell is a coverless new book, which has no real value. Most stores either throw them out or give them to customers in an attempt to get the customer interested in a title they don't normally buy.



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monidaw1
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 4:00:30 PM

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Quote:
The least costly way I know to ship comics is via Media Mail,


The least expensive way I can think of to ship on F/Gish grade comic is to fold it in half, slip it in a standard white envelope and mail it First Class. Without the cardboard,bags, board, bells and whistles to add weight it should stay on the low end of the shipping rates. I'll test one out sometime but in comparison I spent over 20 minutes packaging a single 50 cent comic graded at F/G, maybe 50 to 75 cent worth of packing tape, a bubble mailer envelope and all the care I could put in and the whole time every bit of common sense in my head was screaming that folding it and mailing it in a standard envelope with nothing else isn't going to result in lowering the grade any if any additional damage did occur. It's a 50 cent reader copy for someone. First Class goes by weight. Get it down low enough and you could just hand address the envelope and use a stamp.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa347/williambyrlpricejr/howtoopenacomicpackage001.jpg

There's a picture of a similarly packaged comic before going in the bubblemailer. Now if we could get Tamwood to slip down to the Dollar Store for a cheap box of white envelopes and by the post office for a roll of stamps I'm all set to see what DC's up to this millenium since I haven't read a DC since last literally. Big Grin

Bamf!!! Photobucket Pages

comicscastle
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 4:39:10 PM

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monidaw1 wrote:
Quote:
The least costly way I know to ship comics is via Media Mail,


The least expensive way I can think of to ship on F/Gish grade comic is to fold it in half, slip it in a standard white envelope and mail it First Class. Without the cardboard,bags, board, bells and whistles to add weight it should stay on the low end of the shipping rates. I'll test one out sometime but in comparison I spent over 20 minutes packaging a single 50 cent comic graded at F/G, maybe 50 to 75 cent worth of packing tape, a bubble mailer envelope and all the care I could put in and the whole time every bit of common sense in my head was screaming that folding it and mailing it in a standard envelope with nothing else isn't going to result in lowering the grade any if any additional damage did occur. It's a 50 cent reader copy for someone. First Class goes by weight. Get it down low enough and you could just hand address the envelope and use a stamp.

http://i1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa347/williambyrlpricejr/howtoopenacomicpackage001.jpg

There's a picture of a similarly packaged comic before going in the bubblemailer. Now if we could get Tamwood to slip down to the Dollar Store for a cheap box of white envelopes and by the post office for a roll of stamps I'm all set to see what DC's up to this millenium since I haven't read a DC since last literally. Big Grin
Actually you can do that without folding the book. Just put it loose in a 9x12 envelope. I've had orders from eBay arrive that way with no damage.



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outcast
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 5:26:39 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
.
.
.
I had a feeling this was going to get more complicated than just looking for a bar code and the lack of the words "Direct Edition". That's where having a source of images to compare to would help. As a hobbyist all I care about is reading the inside. You could lump them all under a single listing with a mention of the differences in the covers included in the description and I wouldn't be bothered. As a retailer my job's to fetch it, not judge it. That's where having images to compare to would help since there's enough changes detailed to keep me confussed. I'm thinking for now since CCL doesn't want to offer the images I could maybe lump the ones MHC doesn't have covers of in another photobucket account until I think of something better.
.
.
.
If you're just trying to figure out how to look at a single copy and know whether it's newsstand or direct, then you can use this as a general guideline (exceptions do exist, though):
- If the comic has a barcode UPC, look at the rightmost block of digits, the block where the numeric digits are above the bars. As a general rule, if this block has a five-digit number, then the comic is a direct-sales version; if this block has a two-digit number, then the comic is a newsstand version. As noted in a previous post, some Marvels published ca. 1989-92 seem to exist ONLY with a two-digit number in this block, even though these issues were certainly sold via direct distribution. Also, some publishers (e.g., Dynamite) skip this block of numbers altogether. These exceptions should make it clear that this guideline is not quite 100% reliable.
- If the comic does not have a barcode UPC, but was published after 1976 and has an area in which a barcode ought to appear, then it is probably a direct-sales comic. Exceptions to this guideline include comics from the late 1970s bagged and sold in non-newsstand, non-direct outlets (like department stores). Again, not quite 100% reliable.

Really, though, to be certain, you need to be able to compare the two versions of any issue, either with tangible copies, or with cover scans (of course, some comics put the UPC on the back cover, in which case a front cover scan may not do the job). It's an area where better reference tools are needed, for sure.
monidaw1
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 8:07:16 PM

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Quote:
It's an area where better reference tools are needed, for sure.


Something like a database. Winking

Now where can we find a comic book database at? Think



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outcast
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:04:27 PM
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monidaw1 wrote:
Quote:
It's an area where better reference tools are needed, for sure.


Something like a database. Winking

Now where can we find a comic book database at? Think

I get your point, and I don't disagree. However, when I suggested, some months ago, separation of newsstand comics from direct-sales comics in the CCL database, responses ranged from support to indifference to threats to move inventory to another site. Look for yourself: http://www.comiccollectorlive.com/Forum/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=37416

The site authors have been gracious enough to take the matter under consideration. I'm confident they have noted your support for the idea. Like most software changes, though, it's likely to take some time to implement.

There was a poll on this topic; I think it's still open. If you would like to register your opinion in an official way, you might like to vote. The poll is at: http://www.comiccollectorlive.com/Forum/Default.aspx?g=posts&t=27503
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