There will be no new comic books in any stores "until further notice," thanks to coronavirus.

Diamond Comics is the exclusive shipping and distribution source for all weekly comic books. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Boom! — they all send their single-issues to comic book stores through Diamond.

Due to coronavirus concerns, however, the company has halted all shipments for the foreseeable future.

Comic book stores can still sell other merchandise, as well as some graphic novels, trade paperbacks, collected editions, and other bound book-style publications. Single-issues will also continue to be available digitally through Comixology, as most publishers have already announced their solicitations for new comics through at least June.

But what this means for the future of the comic book industry remains to be seen. While graphic novels and trade paperbacks of single issues have continued to increase in popularity, those single weekly issues remain the backbone of the industry, just as they've been for the last 50+ years. The entire serialized structure of the medium depends on it. Even if you prefer to pick up the collected editions of SAGA (also known as "waiting for the trade"), the comic still benefits from the 6 months of promotion that it gets every time a new single issue is released. Each single issue sells around 40,000 copies, compared to 1-2,000 copies per graphic novel (although the first trade paperback continues to sell more than 1,000 copies per month on average, based on a quick glance through Diamond's sales charts). Self-contained graphic novels — those that are created and released as a single, cohesive entity, instead of as a collection of single issues — rarely sell as well as collected trade paperbacks. Read the rest

JOHN WILCOCK: A Smoke Bomb at The Anarchist Cookbook Press Conference

Thank you for reading -- After eight years on Boing Boing, the John Wilcock story will conclude next week! -- From John Wilcock, New York Years, by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall -- (See all Boing Boing installments) Read the rest

American Dirt was too big to fail

"American Dirt is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list," writes Angeline Rodriguez, concerning the novel whose celebrity endorsements and success was brute-forced by a marketing campaign and completely immune to the backlash it received as a white fantasy of latino life. "It was never going to be anything less."

The massive institutional support behind the book essentially guarantees it. From the moment the novel sold for a much-touted seven figures in a nine-way auction, the hit-making machinery was set into motion. A large advance by itself won’t ensure a blockbuster, but it often catalyzes the kind of relentless promotional campaign that can secure accolades from publishing juggernauts like Stephen King and Don Winslow, a movie deal with Clint Eastwood’s production company and nonstop coverage in virtually every major outlet.

Even when that high-profile coverage is negative, it proves that for a book of American Dirt’s profile, there’s no such thing as bad press. Parul Sehgal’s unequivocal pan of the novel and its “mauling of the English language” is just one of nearly a dozen separate hits in the paper of record, but it certainly didn’t prevent Cummins from landing the holy grail of book endorsements, an Oprah’s Book Club pick, shortly thereafter.

Read the rest

More than 800 Russian academic articles retracted after "bombshell" report reveals plagiarism and other misconduct

After Antiplagiat, a private plagiarism detection company, accused Russia's scientific and scholarly journals of being rife with plagiarism, self-plagiarism, duplication and other misconduct, the Russian Academy of Sciences chartered a committee to investigate the problem: their report confirmed the accusations, finding more instances of plagiarism/self-plagiarism, as well as instances in which the same paper was published in different journals under different authors' names. Read the rest

How Ken Liu went from engineer to lawyer to SF writer to the foremost translator of Chinese sf into English

Ken Liu went from university to a software engineering job at Microsoft, then to some startups, then to Harvard Law, where he got a JD and went into practice as a litigation consultant on tech cases -- all the while, writing and selling sf stories. Read the rest

"Asset" is a magazine about miniature donkeys

Perfect topic, perfect name:

ASSET magazine is a professional quality, full-color publication which compliments, promotes, and presents the Miniature Donkey in a favorable light and gives them credibility as an alternative livestock.

The National Miniature Donkey Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1989. The Association's goals are to protect and promote the Miniature Donkey breed, and to provide an educational forum for owners and breeders on donkey care and management.

The National Miniature Donkey Association also maintains a guide to breeding miniature donkeys, where I learned that "The Miniature Donkey is a compact, well-proportioned animal with a sweet, sociable disposition." Read the rest

Crowdfunding "Vital," an sf anthology about the future of health care

"Vital: The Future of Healthcare" is a crowdfunded anthology of short science fiction stories about the future of health care, with contributions from top writers like James Patrick Kelly, Seanan McGuire, Annalee Newitz, Paolo Bacigalupi and Caroline M. Yoachim (they're also open to submissions!). Read the rest

Kickstarting a deluxe "Dracula" edition in a suitcase full of "primary source materials" from the novel

Josh O'Neill writes, "We're doing a box set edition of Dracula in which we reconstitute the novel into the primary source documents from which it's drawn: Mina's diary, Lucy's letters, Dailygraph newspaper clippings, even an actual phonograph record from Dr. Seward. It comes in a suitcase. Or a wooden casket or stone crypt, depending on the edition." Read the rest

Kickstarting a new feminist bicycle science fiction: this one's about dragons!

Elly Blue has kickstarted a series of successful feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies; her latest is Dragon Bike: Fantastical feminist bicycle stories, for which she is seeking $6,000 ($10 gets you an ebook, $13 gets you a printed book, $15 gets you a book and a poster). Read the rest

Kickstarting a two-book collection of Anthony "Tonky" Clune's street photos

For many years, we've brought you the delightful arts and crafts of Anthony "Tonky" Clune: beautiful felt housewares, giant wall-stickers, a short film about thrifting, cool reflective cycling safety badges and more. Read the rest

MIT Sloan Management Review drops its paywall for 72 hours

Sara from MIT Sloan Management Review writes, "The entire site is free today through Thursday. To help you make progress on the problems you’re facing right now, they’ve unlocked their site for 72 hours. Every article, research report, and webinar is free to access." Read the rest

Just look at this Emshwiller galactic 1961 F&SF banana

Just look at it.

(Thanks Robbo!) Read the rest

2600 Magazine is finally available as a digital publication

Aestetix writes, "On Tuesday, October 8th, for the very first time ever, the new issue of 2600 will be released digitally in non-DRM PDF format. We know there are many of you who have been unable to secure copies of 2600 in recent years. With high distribution costs and a declining bookstore landscape, it's become much harder to publish a paper magazine and get it to all the places our readers are. This digital version can help solve that problem once and for all - and help restore the funding we need to survive." Read the rest

Gollancz announces a £4,000 prize for sf writing by people of color

Gollancz, a venerable British science fiction publisher (now a division of Hachette) has announced its BAME SFF Award, with a top prize of £4,000 for science fiction written by over-18 BAME ("Black, Asian, minority ethnic) writers. Read the rest

They told us DRM would give us more for less, but they lied

My latest Locus Magazine column is DRM Broke Its Promise, which recalls the days when digital rights management was pitched to us as a way to enable exciting new markets where we'd all save big by only buying the rights we needed (like the low-cost right to read a book for an hour-long plane ride), but instead (unsurprisingly) everything got more expensive and less capable. Read the rest

Anthropodermic bibliopegy: the grotesque history of books bound in human skin

On the Under the Knife show, Dr Lindsey Fitzharris elucidates the weird history of "anthropodermic bibliopegy," the weird practice of binding books in human skin, including the doctor who bound case histories in the skins of his dead patients, and the murderer who asked to have his biography bound in his skin and presented to the lawman who caught him after his execution. Other common ways to procure human skins for the practice included grave-robbing (Andrea wrote about the Burke and Hare editions back in 2016). (Thanks, Allen) Read the rest

Gawker's new owners demand right to search journalists, ban encrypted email and institute dress code

After Deadspin's Laura Wagner published an incredible, brave, detailed look at how her new private equity masters -- Jim Spanfeller/Great Hill Partners -- were running Gawker now that they'd acquired it from Univision, the company (now called "G/O Media") struck back. Read the rest

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