When I first thought about started this blog, I took some time and thought about different subjects that I know are important for all comic collectors and retailers. Topics and concepts that certainly will not only inform the individuals but will bring those individuals together to strengthen the community as a whole. This has always been something that really was close to my heart, something that I felt gave me purpose and that I honestly am really good at; I wanted to strengthen the love of comics for everyone.
With that being said, I figure starting off with a topic that really has been on my mind for a long time, which is the relationship between buyer and seller, as well as the “do’s and dont’s” of selling. Both concepts together, if done with respect and care, give the community strength and loyalty. That community bonding and respect is what will bring comics to a whole new level. A level that won’t only benefit the seller, but also the buyer. If both parties are benefiting from each other, then there will continue to be growth from both in new and greater ways.
So first, let’s start with the sellers, the community I worked so closely with for almost a decade. This was always a huge subject for me while I was working in different comic book stores, whether buying for the store the way my boss wanted me too was really the best way to go. It never felt right the different ways my former employers wanted me to buy for their stores. It felt sleazy and wrong trying to get the seller to sell me their comics at the lowest percentage possible, even though I knew I could sell the comics fast and the store needed them. I want to state as well that I do understand the struggle of a comic book store, or even a small business for that matter. Being able to pay the bills is a great feeling and in doing so you as a business owner need to make the most money you can with spending the least amount you can. However, through my experience, doing this in a community where you rely so much on the community itself for a lot of your big products, the products that bring customers back into your store, taking care of them does seem to be an important thing.
The thing that really gets seller to never come back into the store is when they feel like they are being ripped off, swindled. I know personally, I have felt taken advantage of when selling my comics, which I love, to a store. Either the buyer thinks the seller doesn’t know what they have so they try to down play the value, or they just low ball them no matter what. This was always a huge thing for me, it never felt right to mislead or take advantage of the ignorance or desperation of the seller. When i was buying, I always tried to be as transparent as possible. I always let the buyer know what I was interested in and why, also what I could do for them price wise.
However, being employed under someone else’s business really does limit you. Having to make some deals that I personally didn’t feel comfortable with had to happen sometimes because of the pressure from management. So, with all that being said and with all my experience, what should you do when selling your comics to a comic store.
- Do you Need the Money Asap?
If you do not need the money and it isn’t the different between losing your house or car, then I would honestly hang onto your comics. The market for comics has always been an unpredictable market. However, in the past decade, comics have never been hotter. Even in recent years being a better investment than the stock market (Of course that is the golden age market, but that’s another post). Sellers regret has always been a real feeling for me and so many other collectors. I suggest holding onto your comics for that prime moment to sell if that is something you are interested in. Of course if you absolutely need the money for some life reason, that is a perfectly reasonable action to take. Having an asset to liquidate like that on the fly is something not to many people have, so please take advantage of that to protect your loved ones and your way of life.
2. Be Smart, Do the Research, Go into the Shop Smart
If have held onto your comics and are ready for something new, or want to just get out of the game, then doing the research is what you really need to do. Like I mentioned before, some shops will take advantage of a sellers ignorance. Know your collection, which means going through your comics and seeing what you recognize as important. Ask yourself, why did you get this issue? What about this comic made you buy it? Becuase that also might be a reason others are looking for it, which means that you can get a nice value for that issue. Sometimes, you like a comic that is worth nothing, but pulling out those issues and checking through eBay or different action sites can give you an idea if it is even worth what you paid for it. Realistically, if a comics if under $20 then I would not expect even half that value if you take it to a comic book store to sell. Comic Book Stores will run sales very often, and those sales will most likely involve comics at half off or more. So stores will still feel they need to make a profit when it comes to their cheaper issues, and will buy comics under $20 at most 30% of its value. Most likely a buyer will only give between 5% to 10% for bin books, and that is if they are not have the comics.
3. It is OK to Walk Away and Say No
Buyers might use phrases like “There really isn’t anything here but will help you out” or “This is really the best we can do,” these phrases and others like them are ways to make you as the seller feel like the buyer is the one helping you out. Most of the time, this is not what the buyer is looking to do, no matter how friendly you are with the buyer and the shop. However, it is not inherently a bad thing, being that we as the patrons want the shop to remain in business. To stay in business, especially for a small business, you need to keep your cost of goods low while keeping your sales up (Ill get into more from the buyers perspective in my next post).
With that being said, there are some buyers out there, most notably ones on the internet, that will try to swindle you and get something of yours for a lot less than what you would want to get for it. What I really suggest as a seller is do your homework. If you want full or even half of what your comics are worth, then I suggest just putting in the work by selling your comics online through social media or other online platforms. When you go into a store to sell comics, you need to be ready to get a low ball offer and either be ok with that, or haggle. It is perfectly acceptable to throw out another offer and try to work too somewhere in the middle. However be prepared for the store to just continue to low ball you or not work with you at all. With that, like I mentioned, it is totally fine to walk away and look for better deals. These are your comics, your love, so please do your research and do what makes you happy with these pieces of your heart.
In The End…
Be smart and do your research before going out into the selling and buying world. Comics are something that are very close to my heart, and with all the sellers I have come across in my time I could honestly say we all need to be more transparent and respectful.