Comic Store In Your Future – The Worst Way to Increase Sales

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

Still waiting for the store’s sales tax check due to my mistake of double paying it. No stress what so ever having thousands of dollars in limbo. Called and found out, even though I asked the first time to make sure it would not be an issue, that the check was indeed mailed to my old address that I have not lived at for over two years instead of the store as I was originally was told. Sigh. Was also told if the check is returned I would need to wait thirteen weeks before getting issued another one.

Been doing very well with our current crew. Had a person come by Saturday and let me know they drove from hours away to visit the store. How did the person know about the store? He reads these columns. We finally discovered who the one person who reads these is! All kidding aside, he said he likes the columns.

We gained new customers this month. That is great, right? The reason is not so great. Another comic store completely shut down. I would much rather be getting new business due to new people getting into the hobby than stores not being able to make it.

Just my luck, the day the other store went completely down, our shipment was late. All the tech, checks, and readiness means nothing in the face of not getting everything we ordered in the first place. Meaning it was a royally painful day.  Not knowing what time Wednesday the shipment would finally make it. New people coming in and not having titles we ordered though are on the invoice. Turning away new and current business through no fault of our own. The icing on the cake was Diamond’s email about the shipment.” The warehouse had no knowledge of it so it seems like it was an isolated incident.”   No sorry to hear that or our apologies. That was it.

Second time this month it has been late. Usually this time of year the shipment is late at times though due to weather issues.

Also even though the stores that pay $4 to have it delivered on Tuesday do not get it on Tuesdays we still pay for it. Nonrefundable.

I can only imagine being so callous to our customers. I would only do so if I really did not want their business. Meaning they were rude or had stuck us with product. It is only $4 right? If I said that to one of my customers, odds are it would not go over well.

One less store means the other stores in the area will pick up business. Though there will be people that most likely get out of comic collecting all together. Comic collecting is a habit. Changing those habits can cause people to get out of it.

I would rather see fewer comics being published to allow the comic market to grow. It would give the market a chance to correct itself. Much like there being one less comic stores means more people going to other stores to buy comics fewer titles would let people conciliate around existing ones.

Here in store, lower selling titles have been mostly staying at their current levels or increasing while the big two have been mostly over all slowly falling this year (other than the unexpected bump from new customers this month which I will get to learn the hard way who will be staying or not). The third biggest publisher, Image? Take away their Walking Dead and their whole line is almost dead to us. Spawn has a few customers and may get more interest if there is more Spawn movie news at least. Titles from much smaller publishers that have titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog, My Little Pony, Dejah Thoris, Bloodshot, Shadowman, XO Manowar, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Jim Balent’s Tarot, Rick & Morty, Stranger Things, the various Grimm Fairy Tales series from Zenescope, and others have stable sales month to month or are rising for us,

Sonic the Hedgehog, My Little Pony, Rick & Morty, and Stranger Things are comic properties that have mainstream appeal. Much like the former ongoing Simpsons title it would slowly but surely sell out for us. The last issue of the Simpsons, I did order very high so we should have that issue for a while. Kids are enjoying Sonic the Hedgehog and My Little Pony comics along with adults. As I have stated before kids are great. They are not interested in if it is a first issue or if the comic will be worth money someday. They just want to get something that will entertain them. Stranger Things is really popular. The show is so popular it has helped boost our sales on Dungeons & Dragons books due to the product being featured in the show. Stranger Things the comic, for us, is the new Walking Dead. Meaning, it is the new gateway book for new people to get into comics. And, of course, for adults, there is Grimm Fairy Tales and Jim Balent’s Tarot.  

The current companywide crossovers are not nearly selling as well as previous ones. Secret Empire, though widely unpopular here, outsold Infinity Wars. The Dark Metal crossover completely destroys Heroes in Crisis here sales wise.

A growing market is one I want to see. I would love to see all comic titles selling more and more copies. Right now the market is trying to not sink lower than 2017’s less than stellar sales. After doing my ordering comics for February still not seeing things turning around anytime soon.

Our Black Friday sales were less than last year so that was unfortunate. Doesn’t mean we did not make money, just seems like most of 2017 sales wise. Nothing too exciting. That said we have one more sales day coming up next month which people usually really like due to it being closer to Christmas. Meaning, a lot of people procrastinate. The hope is the good weather will stay good for us and we, of course, hope to see a lot of people spending money and to end the year on a high note.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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