After writing about selling comics from all angles, I wish to take some time and talk about the other end of the spectrum, which is buying. Buying comics is something that everyone who loves comics is experienced with because every Wednesday you go down to your local comic book store (LCS) and purchase your pull list. Now, this might not seem like some crazy buy, but every week you make an investment into your collections future, even if you don’t think of it that way.
The comic book market has always fluctuated in crazy ways because of many different factors: a new movie or tv show announcement, a new character, the death of a character, etc. So sometimes just having a pretty extensive pull list can “throw you a bone” every once in awhile, but I wouldn’t count on that. This just leaves buying comics with purpose and in a way that makes sense for both buyer and selling, that also includes stores and online dealers.
However, buying for yourself is vastly different then buying for a store. I know that might seem pretty apparent, but it has to be said. When you are buying for yourself, it is usually to extend your collection, and you are usually buying things that bring you joy. I recommend buying comics for the best deal you can, but with integrity and respect.
One of the biggest issues people have with the comic community, or any collectible community for that matter, is that we have a reputation for low-balling or “swindling” our fellow community members or even people who know nothing about the products. Like I mentioned in my last post, you should do your research and know what you are selling, however as a buyer I truly feel that having respect and compassion for the seller will get you more business and even a better deal in the future. We are one community and if the buyer are treated with respect then the sellers will too.
Specificity when it comes to LCS, the biggest issue I had with sellers while I was working for an LCS is that they didn’t want to be swindled. Stores do need to keep their cost of goods down, I know that and respect that. However, as the saying goes “you collect more flies with honey than vinegar.” This means that lying to a seller about their books or what you are giving to them is not the way to go. Yes, you get that one sale, but there is no room for growth, no one will want to come back if rumors spread about your store. A store’s back issue selection relies solely on people selling their comics to the store. This means that you should take care of your sole source of merchandise.
Now, I am not implying to throw huge percentages at every customer for every comic that walks in the door. One of my biggest messages when writing these posts is that I want people informed, that includes informed about what sells at your store and what you have in your stock. The most common issue I found while working at different shops is that people would buy a whole bunch then assume they had everything, this is not smart. Knowing what you have or having a team that knows what you have, will save you from over buying but also help to know what you as the shop should be buying.
I do know a lot of shops also give almost nothing for back issues, or comics $20 and under. I see why they do this, because they have massive sales on their lower price comics and need a better profit margin. However, I believe knowing what to buy, and what sells in your area, gives you a better understand of what back issues to be buying. Stores turn away a lot of comics that they could easily sell because they end up sitting. This means stores turn away a lot of a wider variety of comics that could be worth sitting. This is a mistake.
Stores give great percentages for hot comics or older comics in great conditions, which they should, they sell fast and for a lot of money. These comics also bring prestige to the store and draw a wide range of people into the store. However, when you have these customers in the store, if you have a huge selection of cheaper comics too, you will make a lot more money with all the add on sales that they customer themselves didn’t even know they wanted. The people coming into the store are collectors and prospectors, or people who take a chance on a cheap comic that might end up raising in price. Both kinds of customers will be looking in your back issue bins and if you want them buying things, they need to be stocked with comics that people are looking for, and also look nice but that is a whole other post.
LCS should really be more transparent with their buying practices and telling the customer all the information they can. This trust and respect from both parties will benefit not only both parties but the community as a whole. This is what we as members of the comic community want, a better and stronger society. Then we all win by buying more comics!!