Let The Weak Die
In response to Chuck Rozanski's recent e-mail newsletter, Rodrigo Baeza has some interesting things to say which I reccomend you read.
I've come to respect Rozanski as a retailer and as (from my my admittedly limited perception) that rarest of rare specimens: a successfully ethical businessman. His columns for CBG, while occasionally lapsing into self-hagiography, have been for the most part riveting reading for anyone interested in the history of the direct market's development (he's probably the one reason, besides Fred Hembeck, I still buy the damn thing). However, its worth noting that Rozanksi carries perhaps too favorable an opinion of his fellow retailers. Sure, comics specialty stores when done right are wonderful things - but in my experience many of them are also pitifully decrepit hovels filled with bad T&A books and covered with ten-year old Legion posters.
So, why do these stores deserve to live? Simply put, they don't and they wont. Market diversity is a joke in the direct market and one day these stores who actively ignore every market but one (and we all know what market that one is) will find that that one market can't support them anymore and that the people who buy 'Chobits' or 'Powerpuff Girls' or 'Love & Rockets' shop elsewhere. If there's not a Comic Relief anywhere near, they may just have to shop at Borders.
Right now, the direct market seems to be insisting it deserves to live simply by virtue of the fact that it has always existed. That's not good enough: give us, the comic buying public, a good reason to spend our money on you, or we won't. It's that simple.