The end of New Reliable Press: A victim of what, exactly?

Cover to True Loves Vol 1 by Jason Turner and Manien Bothma

I’m not knowledgeable enough about the small press business to have a good grasp of the market forces that drive its performance. But I’m saddened when I read quotes like the one I found in a report on the closure of B.C.-based indie comics publisher New Reliable Press:

Last year NRP released its fourth anthology, Acts of Violence. Despite his best efforts to promote the book, Brisson says the campaign was fruitless because most retail stores only purchase well-known brand names like Marvel and DC Comics. “We had stores telling us to give up – it was bizarre,” he says. Currently, 80 per cent of NRP’s sales are done online to U.S. customers.

Maybe NRP is simply a victim of circumstance as founder Ed Brisson details.

But publishers, distributors and retailers don’t seem to be in lockstep with one another to build success. This is an industry that appears to work on very slim margins where small mistakes can be costly. It’s struggling to find new readers and taking a hit from the closure of bookstore chains like Borders.

I imagine everyone wants to see a thriving environment that rewards quality work, allows creators to take chances and ensures everyone can make a reasonable living. Is Image Comics a template to follow?

Who “out there” is rethinking how this business is put together to create a sustainable model for success?

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