Comic book retailers have to pay for the comic books they give away on Free Comic Book Day. Usually 25 cents a copy, depending on the publisher.
So, while it often works as a promotion for individual stores and the medium as a whole, it can cost a store dear if they are handing out tens of thousands of comics, which is not unusual.
Diamond Comic Distributors, who run FCBD now, have a plan to make this year’s event a little more affordable for some retailers.
Diamond will bill participating American and Canadian retailers on two invoices, the twelve Gold books will be billed alongside comics out on May 1st. And the remaining thirty-nine Silver books alongside comics on sale on May 9th. Which may help retailers use the proceeds from selling comics on FCBD to pay for a big chunk of the free ones.
However, if you are not in the US or Canada, retailers are even more out of luck as international dealers, like all of us on the UK, will be billed in full a month earlier on April 10th. And will then have to suck it for a month until Free Comic Book Day when they can use the comics to generate traffic to their stores…
At minimum, it only costs $75 to participate in Free Comic Book Day, ordering 25 copies of the twelve Gold titles. All participating retailers will get a FCBD promotional poster, window cling, two shelf talkers, a listing on the FCBD Store Locator, and you can order the FCBD exclusive sale items, like the John Constantine Funko Pop.
As to the rules for stores, they must give at least one free FCBD title to customers without any purchase required. And stores can’t sell any of the copies on Free Comic Book Day.
That does offer the possibility of only allowing more than one free comic with a purchase, and on the Sunday, retailers can sell copies for whatever they can get away with. And they can be sold online from the Monday.