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  1. #1
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    Default Tilting at Windmills - Jun 20, 2014

    Brian Hibbs talks about the art of ordering comics, how costs come into play and how the most worthless coin -- the penny -- is kind of worthless.


    Full article here.

  2. #2

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    Just out of curiosity, when you say you "got rid" of the lower ranked back issues, what did you do with them?

  3. #3
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    Hi Brian. In Canada our government eliminated the penny in 2013. There are still billions in circulation, but retailers have adopted the approach you have by rounding off to nearest nickel or dime point. I use to have a box of pennys, but now it is gone. I also would't miss the nickel if it also were to be eliminated.

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    Just wanted to say that I continue to be fascinated by your adventures in owning a second store.

  5. #5
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    The thing about "backs" is that the more stores that DROP backs means better business for the fewer remaining stores that keep them.

    I know that there are a number of titles that (money permitting) I'd like to "fill holes" in my collection and/or recollect, but locally there are very few stores with extensive back collections, and those that do have them won't touch the stuff I want/need.

  6. #6
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    I feel like shop owners do not utilize the available resources out there enough. There are so many ways to be creative and to get your products off the shelves and out of the bins. Here are some of my suggestions for Brian Hibbs.

    http://comicallycultured.blogspot.co...ng-comics.html

  7. #7
    Tilting at Windmills
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlennSimpson View Post
    Just out of curiosity, when you say you "got rid" of the lower ranked back issues, what did you do with them?
    I found another retailer who paid me salvage rates for them -- there are multiple sources that will pay for bulk quantities of terrible unsalable comics. Salvage rates are about a nickle each, in palletted quantities

    -B

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by comicallycultured View Post
    I feel like shop owners do not utilize the available resources out there enough. There are so many ways to be creative and to get your products off the shelves and out of the bins. Here are some of my suggestions for Brian Hibbs.

    http://comicallycultured.blogspot.co...ng-comics.html
    So, here's the thing, and I say this as someone with literal decades of experience in maximizing return-on-investment of biffage: your ideas are largely wrong-headed.

    First: while, certainly, many people repurpose DC and Marvel art on Etsy, etc., it is, in fact, a trademark violation to do so, and you'd have to be fairly monumentally stupid to violate the trademarks of your largest partners as a Direct Market retailer. Marvel and DC may "look the other way" for small violations by individual artists, but a store front selling non-licensed goods would be a major major red flag to them.

    Further, if you DID want to do this, it would be DRAMATICALLY cheaper to do so with bought over-the-counter-from-consumer backstock than it would be with material you paid full wholesale on. Like the difference between 5 cents and $2.

    Second: There is extraordinarily little you CAN do with things that no one wants. Giving away bad comics doesn't generate more new sales leads. Quite the opposite, actually! ESPECIALLY if you're giving them out to civilians, you have to be giving out HIGH QUALITY GOODS that will draw them to make that SPECIAL TRIP to your specialty store.

    Now, that's not to say that there are not, in some instances, practical places you can donate certain unsalable to (because there are -- homeless shelters, children's hospitals, boys and girls clubs, whatever), but even there you have to vet them VERY carefully because many many many comics are not at ALL fit to be "let out into the wild", but, either way, you're taking a loss of wholesale investment in those cases.

    Mostly, though, I think you misunderstood the premise of this month's column: it is NOT "Oh me, oh my, what to do about all the leftover comics?". Rather, it is "There are some pretty severe differences in 'culture' between my old store and my new store, here's how we're navigating this aspect of those differences" I have a vision for my original store, and I'm developing one for the new one, and they're going to be pretty damn different, and all solutions have to be designed with those specific visions in mind.

    -B

  9. #9
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    Touche and I understand what argument you are explaining here. My reply isn't an attack on your business model. It mostly is more of a way of urging others within the comic book industry to try harder and find newer ways to market their products to audiences.

    I agree that markets like Etsy and Pinterest violate trademark agreements however there are specific situations where products here can be made with permission of their parent companies are obtained. If nothing else, it gets SOME money on the table.

    Also, while I generally agree with your statement about giving out high quality books to generate newer customers, there is something to be said about businesses that hand out free comics. While there is a "sampler" mentality, I know I get excited to collect free anything. Free comics with coupons for other free comics if nothing else promotes curiosity where people primed off of Marvel movies would be interested in cashing their interests in (and these deals).

    I applaud the work that you did with your business first and foremost. I love that you consider each of your stores culture and market your products likewise. It is another creative solution to selling older comics. I feel if more people could join in on this conversation we could find even more solutions to the "back issue problem." At the very least, these debates promote more viewership and places these problems more in the spotlight.

    I hope I didn't insult your model. I just wanted to create a fun discussion to give us more readers to interject! :-)

  10. #10
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    In Australia we got rid of 1c pieces a decade ago (and 2c as well). Now the supermarkets etc. just round up or down and no-one cares. A pocket full of change is a serious amount of money. When I visited the US, a pocket full of change wasn't even enough for a small tip to leave the lady turning down my sheets at the hotel.

    As to the business of back issues, I remember something a friend who was an accountant that used to analyze car dealerships told me. The best car dealerships run multiple businesses - new cars, used cars, servicing and finance. If each business is run well, even on a small margin, the overall effect is a profitable business. Logically the same applies to the comic business. A good range of new comics, of old comics, of graphic novels, of toys and tie-ins each run profitably adds up to something better.

  11. #11
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    Good article. As a comic store/pop culture store owner, I suspect that the customer demographics of your two stores may be different if not, I wonder if that simply bringing out new sludge has excited the collectors and they are getting the prime choices you have been putting out.

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