Do you think Comic/Hobby Shops can make it in the 21 century?

Discussion in 'Comic Books and Graphic Novels' started by Bendimus Prime, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Bendimus Prime

    Bendimus Prime Rolls for initiative TFW2005 Supporter

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    As someone who has always had a dream of starting his own comic shop, do you think it's really even worth it anymore? Can a place that sells Comics, DnD, Warhammer, MtG, collector's toys, models, etc. turn a profit anymore now when they have to compete with the Internet?

    I remember when the comic shop was the place to hang out when I was little. Now when I go in to square up my tab with the owner and gather my titles, it's dead inside except for the lone Warhammer game. Have TPs, Video Games, and the Internet killed them for good?
     
  2. Sidewave

    Sidewave Autobot

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    My local comic shop always seems decently busy, I guess it just depends on your area.
     
  3. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    In my town(Huntsville, AL) we've gone from having 5 comic shops in the 90s to one today. The last competition they had closed up shop about 5 yrs ago. Most of the time when I go in there it's like OP described. Every once in a while I go in on a night when they are running a tournament or something and it's fairly busy. My own buying habits have completely changed over the last decade and the majority of my stuff is acquired online. I like the idea of having a local comic shop, but imo there is no longer a real need for one. If the digital revolution takes over the comic market like it has the book market I can see a day not too far off when there will be no way to make money with a brick and mortar.
     
  4. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    Yes, but how they do business must undoubtedly change, and there may not be a place for as many of them as there are now.
     
  5. Bendimus Prime

    Bendimus Prime Rolls for initiative TFW2005 Supporter

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    That's my feeling anymore. I figure everything will go digital, and with online sales for special toys and collectables, they'll probably go the way of the photo booths.

    I must be getting old, where do kids hang out these days? :lol 
     
  6. ang3l3s

    ang3l3s Sixshot

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    I don't think kids hang out anymore. As for the comic shop i see it's demise coming. The main people who read today are in the 30's, there are no new readers thus it will not carry on and that is a sad, sad thing. Seriously ... do any of the kids read today as much as they play.. oh yeah they don't do that either. Plus it's crazy expensive i can't aford it no more.
     
  7. Deceptijohn

    Deceptijohn Metallikato Master

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    In front of a screen.
     
  8. LegendAntihero

    LegendAntihero Banned

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    I think they can survive if customers buy in bulk. Customers at the Comics Factory in Pasadena buy a handful of comics every Wednesday
     
  9. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Comic Ink - Dublin, CA

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    Shop owners need to go on the offensive to get new customers, unlesss you are right near a high school they don't "just come in" anymore. I have a few ideas that we're about to roll out to bring in that next generation of comic book customers (I'd say more, but I do have a couple competitors who lurk on this board :)  But if it's successful you can bet I'll share once I'm up and running with it!) Stores also need to be diverse. I'm lucky because I have the room to do "a little of everything" and a LOT of vintage toys and statues...my selection brings customers PAST stores that are closer to come ot me :)  if it's a bad comic week hopefully it's a good toy week, or a good statue week. I have friends that have shops where by design or because of space limitations ONLY do comics...if it's a bad comic week they're eating ramen and sweating how to pay the rent. Some owners are already talking their "exit strategy" because they feel the digital impact to their business is going to force them out. In the end it really depends on where you are for competition in close proximity and the customer base.
     
  10. LegendAntihero

    LegendAntihero Banned

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    How do you know the Comics Factory is near a school? Did you look it up on google maps?
     
  11. B'Bantor

    B'Bantor Bug Drone

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    You have to have a good variety of items not just typical comic shop stuff. My shop sells Transformers, Comics, Vintage Horror Magazines, Original Art both my own and other local artists, Drinking Glasses, Hair Clips for Girl, Costume Jewelery, Spiked Bracelets, Watches, Small Furniture, Teapots, Toasters, Posters, Pins, Patches, Clothing, Ladies Boots, Cd's, Vynl Records, Tin Robots, Marvel Figures, Framed Pictures of The Simpsons & The Beatles etc. And alot of other stuff. I'm only open about 6 months but I seem to be doing well.. granted most of my items are used and therefore cheaper than most places.

    And as far as the hanging out.. that's bad for business. People who hang out in a shop all day 99% of the time don't spend any money and eventually will expect what they want to be given to them as they are a friend of the shop. These folks are considered "riff raff" and should be chased out the door with a stiff broom.
     
  12. LegendAntihero

    LegendAntihero Banned

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    How does a comic shop get Transformers? Do they scalp them from a store or order them from Hasbro? My comic shop only has one Transformer and it's a statue bust of G1 Ironhide
     
  13. Macross7

    Macross7 Well-Known Member

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    Some get cases of TFs from diamond or some other distributor. I'm sure some do raid other stores for their stock. I've heard BBTS does this with some store exclusives. Sucks if you want a Target exclusive if BBTS is nearby.
     
  14. B'Bantor

    B'Bantor Bug Drone

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    I had one of those Hard Hero busts. Prowl. I got it from a member here. I get most of my toys from yard sales & flea markets etc. I also purchase large personal collections from people if the price is right. BBTS has some kind of distribution program set up and stores can actually get new toys at wholesale prices directly from them. Me personally, I do better with loose/complete items that are in good shape.. in my area many people don't have much money to spend on higher end toys and most of the other stores around only carry KO's.
    *I once ran into the owner of a comic shop in TRU he and his sister were stocking up on Toy Biz Marvel Legends at a time when they were very popular.
     
  15. LegendAntihero

    LegendAntihero Banned

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    Why can't BBTS just leave some for the kids?
     
  16. KA

    KA Well-Known Member

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    Same here. Used to be almost a dozen now theres less than half. More game shops tho but noy as conducive to hang out.
     
  17. llamatron

    llamatron OFFICIAL MMC REP TFW2005 Supporter

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    Comic book shops should open up cafe sections - pain in the ass to deal with but an easy money maker and would help bring people in and make it more of an "experience." They have to offer something that you can't get online.
     
  18. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    We never had such specialized shops where I live. But we have a new Games Workshop shop. Looks interesting. I buy my comics at train stations.
     
  19. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Comic Ink - Dublin, CA

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    For vintage toys and comics there are ALWAYS people bringing in collections :)  We do a lot of buisness with loose toys as well.


    As for new...Ordering through Diamond, Entertainment Earth and BBTS works well for me, AND it gives me a better reputation than "dude that hits Walmart every morning" owner. I have people that make it a point to shop with me because I'm known for not being a scalper. I have to be careful...it's great when Target and TRU are jammed with a ton of one figure and not getting new stuff...but when they get the same assortment, and with "economics of scale" sell at less than my cost it hurts, but eventually they log jam again :) 
     
  20. Aernaroth

    Aernaroth <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and Veteran

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    I don't think the digital revolution will destroy comic book stores any more than television destroyed book stores. Especially since in the last decade or two, comic book stores have had to diversify their products, into comic book merchandising, collectables, gaming, anime, etc.

    What I feel may be more likely to be the deathknell of the local store is online retail. Online stores, especially ones that are able to forego the costs of having a brick and mortar outlet, are able to operate more leanly than a comic book shop, and to appeal to a wider customer base who are interested in highly specific products. Since essentially all (or many) online retailers can appeal to the same base (barring limits on shipping fees) the degree of competition becomes even MORE dense. It could be hard for comic book stores relying on walk-in traffic to compete, meaning that essentially all of them will need to enter the digital marketplace, even further increasing the competition.

    Now, there's some ways around this, revenue from events (esp. for gaming), exclusive product (though this can make it to secondary retail channels anyway), community involvement & atmosphere, I really like Llamatron's idea about turning comic shops into something that integrates cafes and galleries, etc. But it's only going to get more difficult, as I see it, for the average comic shop to survive. Support your local comic shop if you want them to thrive.
     

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