Scout Comics has been criticized for selling retailer exclusive cover directly

Scout Comics has been criticized for selling retailer exclusive cover directly

In the last days, Bleeding Cool has been aware of a number of complaints from comic book retailers about Scout Comics'' behavior and the sale of a retailer-exclusive variant covers directly to readers. An exclusive cover programme allows retailers to obtain a limited run of a certain comic, with a cover exclusive to their store, in exchange for buying hundreds or thousands of copies, which they may then sell exclusively from their store, in person or online, for the price of their choice. They pay for the artist, and the print run

Several comic book retailers have reached out to Bleeding Cool, dissatisfied with the fact that Scout Comics was selling their exclusive covers directly to readers and collectors, in line with the Whatnot app. Retailers claim that any overprint of the exclusive covers was restricted to comp copies for artists, industry-standard numbers in case of distribution violations, and a few for the Scout Comics showroom which has been opened since May 2018.

The Scout website states that "these covers are limited-print runs that are EXCLUSIVE to the retailer" but instead, retailers have seen what they perceive as many additional books sold by Scout in competition with their own offering when they thought they had paid a premium to be exclusive. Another retailer said that "this overprint is not just the industry standard amount, but sometimes double or triple the print run. These Retailer Variants have been showing up on Scout''''s various selling platforms, including but not limited to their webstore, mystery boxes

The price paid by a collector for an exclusive retailer variant cover is often contingent on the stated print run, with Scout Comics exclusive runs often limited to 250. This can pose a risk with collectors'' trust.

"Various times we have been informed by our clients that they purchased our versions on Scout''s Whatnot or another platform cheaper than the price I paid them. It''s substantial undermining our brand, our investment, and the property itself."

Those who raised this issue on the Whatnot app during the sale of their own supposedly-exclusive retailer covers were forbidden from commenting more or seeing if more of their exclusive covers were offered. It appears unfortunate that the retailers who are angry about this, are most likely to order and sell high on Scout Comics titles. When asked, Brendan Deneen, the CEO of Scout Comics provided the following statement that we reproduce in full;

"Scout is pleased with the energizing relationships we''ve had with our retail partners over the years, and we are particularly pleased of our retailer variant cover program. This program has evolved from informal to where we''re now in the process of formalizing it.

In our response to the few retail partners who have expressed their dissatisfaction with the program, we were equally remorsed to hear that miscommunications have resulted in their dissatisfaction. Scout strives to behave fairly and treat others as we wish to be treated. Where it has come to our attention that some retailers are concerned about their actions, we may be concerned that personnel have independently negotiated these retailer variants and failed to follow our presentation protocols in regards to the processing process.

Scout is not competing with or harming our retail partners. Instead, we are assisting them in developing their products in an optimal manner. As many individuals know, Scout has a retail showroom at its headquarters in Florida, where overprint issues of their cover will be sold in the shop, as well as concerns raised by the creative team. No of our practices have changed in the past few years, and many businesses have also been successful there.

We are developing contract templates with different retailers to avoid future problems, although we have no contractual agreement to hold off on selling residual copies. In the long run, we wait several months to avoid becoming competition."

Deehan clarified the difference in a later conversation, stating that:

"We have only been approached by one unhappy retailer. You mentioned you have been contacted by others, and we encourage them to contact us directly. Our goal is to provide great comics to both designers and retailers. If there has been any miscommunication or mismisunderstanding, we will always work with them to make it work.

Is he also aware;

"We do not overprint to the extent that some of them are appealing to you. A lot of times we cover the costs of the cover as well. That''s why you''re quoted on the same website."

While Scout selling copies in person from its own headquarters store might not have affected retailers, selling copies on Whatnot has made them both international and online sales much more visible, thus making copies more accessible to retailers, perhaps for less than the retailer is charging.

Hopefully future retailers will have a better understanding of Scout Comics'' behavior and that judgments be made based on that. And for Scout Comics to do a better job of telling retailers what''''s what and what''s not. Here''s a look at screencaps for some of the sales that have caused such distress.

As they are currently, here are the full Scout Comics terms and conditions for retailer-exclusive covers.

  • The pricing for an exclusive variantis as follows:
  • $4.75an issue for 250-499 copies.$4.50an issue for 500-799 copies.$4.00an issuefor 800-999 copies,$3.75an issue for 1000 or more.
  • We don''''t put a cover price on exclusives.Retailers tend to sell their variants from $10-$25 each, but MSPis totally up to the individual retailer.
  • Variantsare typically printed on a100lb stock glossy or mattecover.Other speciality covers (foil, glow in the dark, etc) come with an additional cost.
  • If there are multiple covers chosen (i.e. virgin variants or B&W editions)then an additional $150 plate charge is added to the cost.
  • If you provide art for your cover, there will be $150 discount.
  • Almost every Scout title is available for variants, so if you don''''t see one you want, ask us, it''''s likely available!
  • Each title''''s creator has the final approval for the cover art though.
  • These covers are limited-print runs that are EXCLUSIVE to the retailer (sans a few creator and Scout showroom copies of the print overrun).
  • Please inquire about specialty covers (GitD, foil, spot-foil, metal).*
  • *currently Black Caravan titles are only offering regular 100# cover variants and metal covers as options.

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