The Strangeness of Comic Shops

Over the years I’ve done my time in a retail environment which I can say I’m glad to be out of it but one thing that I keep thinking about is how different a comic shop is to any other retail store.

Now to be clear, I have never worked in a Comic Shop but I have known a lot of people who have. That being said it seems to be a cross between a bookstore and a magazine subscription company.

You can see where I’m coming at from that point and as we’re all generally running a standing order (pull list) at a store somewhere be it online or not we can understand it.

But from a retail point of view a Comic Shop is an entire other beast. What other store would have weekly orders for someone.

Ok, I’m sure there are some out there but if you look at similar style stores you will see people will go in when there is let’s say, a new novel or if a DVD is release but you won’t see people ordering things 3 months ahead and with numerous stores your paying sight unseen so you don’t even have an idea of what we’re getting when it’s a new title.

Now the next thing is that in all reality a Comic Shop is not providing a service or even providing necessities, no matter what we all like to think. With that being realized we now can see that our weekly stop is what people can use for that extra income we get but also they wouldn’t be a general stop for that many people going through browsing as you would get in a borders.

I’d imagine that any Comic Shop, and I’d be grateful if anyone who has worked in one or runs one would be able to advise me if my theory is correct, would have a large amount of their income to be coming from the people with a pull list.

Now I’d like to think there would be only about 30% coming from the pull lists but I’m starting to think that there would be over 50% and then those people would be looking at the shelves to pick up the one or two extra titles that look interesting once it’s on the shelf.

Unlike a book store you wouldn’t have the mass flow through of people just walking in to have a look. And with that being the case I can see why there have been a decline of the amount of stores over the last 10 years at least.

That being said we have seen a huge change in the way Comic Shops are presenting themselves. It’s harder and harder to find those ‘hole in the wall’ stores to be inviting and open so it just gives you that welcome feeling.

So even though they are a common thing for us to go to they aren’t on everyone’s to go to list and also as we all preorder out books we’re the ones who are keeping the stores afloat to a degree.

And finally since we are seeing an upturn of the way comics are perceived with movies and TV show coming out of the hobby we have been enjoying since kids that when we have someone mention the movie or what they say on TV we should be pointing out our local stores. Even if they go in once to pick up an Iron Man trade after seeing the movie.

We might get more readers that way and that will in turn give the stores the chance to get larger and in turn be able to increase their range or take risks on other books.

But I’ve waffled on for too long now and my points have changed as I’ve been typing for the past hour.

If you can make sense of my rambles let me know what you think in the comments.

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