Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I'm a bit under the weather lately - got some kind of bad cold. So, it's made me a bit surly and I feel the need to rant about a couple of things.

First: Stores that break the "rules." LucasFilms has an embargo on all Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith(ROTS) related merchandise until April 2. You've probably seen signs in some local stores announcing that the products are coming April 2. Some retailers are even having midnight hours the night of the 1st so that they can get people in to get the stuff quickly. Many retailers, including us, have some of the merchandise already, and will be getting even more in next week. We've been told in no uncertain terms NOT to sell it until April 2. But, some stores seem to feel that it's ok NOT to follow these directives. Many folks have bought ROTS toys in some more isolated WalMart stores, and ROTS books have recently been selling on and some local book stores. Sure, it's probably a mistake. But it's a mistake that makes it hard for me to do business. I follow the rules because, frankly I have the real fear that Lucasfilms or Dark Horse could fine me out of business or close me down, or keep me from ever ordering the stuff again. These big stores have a LOT more money than I do, so they're not as scared. And I don't think Lucasfilms can afford NOT to sell their merchandise to these large retailers. Do I blame people for picking up the stuff early if it's available? Not really - people are excited. But it's money out of my pocket - money that keeps me in business.

Rant #2 - What is it worth to you?
What's it worth to you to keep a great local comic book shop in your town? Is it worth $3 or even $10 out of your pocket each month? I ask because recently I had someone tell me they're going to start getting a few of the handful of books they have us pull for them each month directly from Marvel comics, instead of continuing to get them from us. This is not someone who gets 20-30 comics each month, this is someone who gets 9 Marvel titles each month. Not all of these will be available for subscription, probably about 1/2. Marvel Direct lets people buy books for $2 - $1.83, depending upon how many you subscribe to, regardless of if the title costs $2.25 or $2.99. Lets just say this guy gets all 9 books on subscription, and they all are $2.99, and he gets them for the lowest price of $1.83, it costs this guy an extra $10.44 each month to get them from me. Now, keep in mind that he can probably only get 1/2 of the books from this subscription service, bringing his monthly savings down closer to $5.22 each month. That buys you MAYBE one meal at McDonald's! Now granted, loosing his $5.22 each month won't put us out of business. But if 100 of my subscribers follow suit - that's a loss of over $500 from my bottom line each month! It starts to make a bid difference now! Sure, I don't blame people for wanting to save money. And if there wasn't a great store in town that you enjoyed shopping at, you may as well have your comics sent to you. But this guy often comes in 2 or more times each week, and says how much he enjoys the store. He spends time here talking about a variety of things, and it seems that we both enjoy the relationship. We've gotten a few subscribers who have come from mail-order houses to us, because they like us and our store. We've had people come from other comic shops that give discounts to them (we have other monetary benefits we offer, but not in the form of a discount on books) because they like us and our store. If you want to keep the "good guys" in business - if you want the store you like to shop at in business, by all means SHOP THERE! Don't start ordering your stuff online because its cheaper. Sure, if they can't get it at your favorite shop, look around. But if they have it, is it really worth it to put them out of business for a few bucks a month? People spend more on a "nice" car than a "Junker" they spend more on Starbucks coffee than Speedway brew they spend more for a 4-bedroom house with 2 baths and a garage than they do for a 2 bedroom city bungalow with street parking. Sometimes you pay more for better! What's it worth to you????

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree. Support the local buisness. The subscription rates for comics don't warrant sending a check to the publisher. Besides Its fun to hunt down the "ducks" each month.