Comics Get Curated With New Pullist Subscription Service [Interview]
Between brick and mortar shops, online retailers and digital services like ComiXology, it's never been easier to buy the comics you want. But what if you're not exactly sure what you want? That's where the soon-to-launch Pullist plans to come in. Acting as something of an elevated "graphic novel of the month club," Pullist plans to appoint comic book creators and other industry professionals as guest curators who choose mystery comics to be delivered to users for a flat fee every month. ComicsAlliance got in touch with Pullist's Vincent Iadevaia to learn more about the service and see what kind of comic readers it's designed to appeal to and why he, his team and their guest curators are the right people for the job. Read the full interview after the cut.
ComicsAlliance: Mypullist.com launched this week, but the service hasn't quite kicked off. What's the planned rollout date?
Vincent Iadevaia: We're currently planning a mid September launch date.
On launch, users will be able to choose from two themes each month, pay a flat fee, and have their book delivered at the end of the month. They won't know what the book is until they receive it in the mail, adding some mystery to the service.
CA: Who are the people behind Pullist and how did the idea to start a curated graphic novel delivery service emerge?
VI: Right now the service is being run by myself and Michael Nixon. I’m a product designer and in my spare time I'm the curator of Kirby Covers. Michael is producer of The Ansible, an interview show hosted by Phil Jimenez, and Geek Crash Course, a series that delivers weekly 101-style courses on geek topics.
We noticed a lot of curated subscription services like Birchbox becoming really popular, but nothing was really aimed towards comics. We aim to fill that niche.
CA: What's the value of curated commerce in your eyes?
VI: People trust in those with expertise in particular fields, especially media. Not only are Michael and myself comic obsessed, but we're aiming to bring in respected industry creators and critics with a proven track record of high quality work and taste. This removes the intimidation factor for first time buyers, while making it effortless for long time readers of the medium.
CA: Your first two guest curators are Joe Keatinge and Benito Cereno. What put them at the top of your list to kick off Pullist?
VI: Joe and Benito are fans of Kirby Covers and as a big fan of theirs, I reached out to them. They were nice enough to lend us their expertise and we're very excited to work with them. Michael’s also digitally met Joe Keatinge and was a fan of what he had to say about the world of comics.
CA: What other guest curators can users expect to see?
VI: We're currently in talks with a few more people in the comic book industry, but we don’t want to let anything out of the bag before it’s confirmed.
CA: Is Pullist selling only physical copies or will digital content be a part of the service as well?
VI: Right now, we're only planning to sell physical copies. We think it's tough to replicate the excitement of holding a physical object in your hands for the first time, but we also know that some people read digital comics exclusively and we’re considering digital content in the future.
CA: What can you tell us about pricing info? Will prices be competitive with brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers like Amazon?
VI: Pricing will be on par with brick-and-mortar stores, but we'll try and offer better deals as time goes on. Our goal is to provide great books at low prices for our customers, but it's not always easy to compete with Amazon. We think the curated element, as well as the element of mystery about what we pick, allows for a unique experience beyond what a faceless digital site like Amazon can provide.
CA: Will Pullist utilize any advanced social features?
VI: At launch, we won’t be supporting any advanced social features just yet, but our vision for the product is to eventually make personalized recommendations based on you and your friends’ tastes.
CA: A similar service, Twhipster, provided fans with curated deals but ended abruptly awhile back. What kind of guarantee do you have to customers that Pullist will be around for awhile and deliver on its mission?
VI: We're passionate comic book readers who want the people who use our service to be satisfied with the books they get. We're going to be scaling slowly, that way everything runs smoothly and there are no problems or sudden shut downs.
Our goal is to provide our users with a great experience, introducing them to some amazing comic books that will appeal to lifelong readers and complete newcomers alike, not make a quick buck off of them.
CA: How would you sum up Pullist's overall mission in the coming weeks and months?
VI: Our mission is to introduce people to great graphic novels through a simple and well designed service.
In the coming months, we'll have a website running smoothly and orders going out at the end of every month. We want to create a personal and rewarding experience for anyone who uses Pullist.