Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Women Comic Book Store Owners
Over the weekend I received a question from a woman who read my Sequart.com columns and was wondering how many women own comic book stores. Well, of course there is little real data on the mysterious world of the Direct Market. So, I decided to do some research and see what I could find out.
I used Diamond Distribution's daily store profiles, called "From the Road Reports" to do an informal survey. (The picture shown is from our "From the Road Report" done when the store was about a year old - it's VERY different now.) Now, not every comic book store has been profiled by Diamond on the "From the Road Reports." And, some of the stores on there are no longer in business. Also, not every store listed is a comic book store - they just have Diamond accounts and sell products they get from Diamond. In addition, some of the information is probably old and might not be 100% accurate. But it was good enough for an informal survey I thought.
Also keep in mind that while a woman is listed as an owner or co-owner, she may, or may not be, actively involved in the store.
There were 636 stores I used in my survey.
Out of 636, 41 listed a woman as co-owner with a man and 28 listed had a woman listed as the sole owner. So, 11% of the 636 Diamond accounts profiled on "From the Road" are owned in one regard or another by women.
Out of the remaining 567 stores listed in Diamond's "From the Road Report" that are listed as having only male ownership, 10 of those listed a woman as the store manager.
I know that in Waukesha County there are two brick and mortar comic stores and one place that rents a warehouse and does mail-order. I'm the only woman that owns, and even works, at those three establishments. In the surrounding counties of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Ozaukee I am also the only woman owner. I know one store has some female employees, and another had a female manager for a while. Guess we're way behind the times out here in Wisconsin!
Now I also asked on the Comics Professional Retailer Organization (ComicsPRo) forum if anyone there had an idea of how many women were involved in that organization. So far I've got about 13% of member stores with women that are active in the stores, some as owners and some are wives or partners that are not necessarily named owners but work just as hard, or even harder (I'm told) than the men.
Another interesting statistic - I checked the list of past Eisner Award winning stores (Spirit of Comics Retailing) and found that out of 23 listed winners there were 5 that listed a woman as an owner or co-owner. That's 22%!
I will definitely have to think on this information a bit more and maybe do some more research and possibly do a column on it for Sequential Tart in the future.
I also want to mention the great post Heidi over at Comics Fairplay did recently about women buyers and how it relates to the current comic book retail market. She asks if, based on the facts retail studies have provided, the comic book industry putting itself out of business by not trying harder to market to women. Great stuff that made me wonder if there were more women comic book store owners and employees, would more women buy comics? And, if more women read and enjoyed comics would they then want to own their own comic book stores?