Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Looking At My Options

So many questions
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
After a long association with our local retailer, Jim and I want to explore our options. We are looking for a new place to get our comics, whether it be a retailer who ships nationally or an internet site that specializes in that.

It isn't a big break or anything. We have just been wanting to spread our wings and make a relationship with a company or retailer that has a greater variety of product or more of a willingness to procure it.

Please help us out here. Where do you get your books from and will they possibly sell to us? Any details would be appreciated.


Eaglewing said...

I'll be interested in what you come up with. I'm interested in a good online shop as well. Something that wouldn't take six weeks to ship stuff to me. Canada isn't that far away...

Paul McCall said...

I use Discount Comic Book Service.
They now offer multiple shippings per month or the usual one per month. Pleasant to deal with and prompt to rectify any problems (i.e. items damaged inside the shrink wrap, something I recently encountered.) which don't happen often.

Nick said...

I echo Paul.

DCBS is good, me and a couple of friends get orders from them weekly.

9 times outta ten you get them on Thursday, once in a rare while Friday.

There are shipping charges but, you still end up saving more then your spending.

BIG MIKE said...

No to beat a dead horse, but I've been using DCBS for a month or so and so far so good. The downside is that you have to order like a month in advance, so it requires pretty careful planning. The upside is that I'm spending about half as much on comics as I was before.

On a more philosophical note, I feel a little like a jerk for not supporting local business. I really like the idea of the local comic shop, but there is a trend in the industry that is not customer friendly. It's hard for stores to get books they sell out of, and there's no incentive for them to buy enough for everyone because they're stuck with any inventory they can't move. I could go on and on about this, but in the meantime, DCBS is probably about the best online service out there. Midtown comics is pretty good too, but you won't save as much $$$.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel sorry for the local comic book shops. If they can't provide the service customers are willing to pay for, the customers can go elsewhere with a clear conscience. There's always someone out there who wants your business more than the other guy.

David Beard said...

I'd like to cool the "the LCS gets what they deserve" argument.

This is clearly true in one sense -- if the service is bad, leave. But there will always be bottom feeders -- folks who will always choose an extra $5 saved over the long-term health of the industry.

DCBS is not Wal-Mart; they do a lot to support the industry indirectly (sponsoring podcasts, for example). But a general preference for the online shop runs the risk of seeing the brick and mortars eliminated. And it's the brick and mortars that made Bone, Strangers in Paradise, and other series I love possible.

By all means -- choose DCBS because your LCS gives poor service. But don't pretend, as some customers do, that service = discount.

John Holland said...

I used Midtown Comics (I'm pretty sure I'm getting the name right, it's late) after Katrina, before any of the local shops had reopened. They were good. I ended up buying only once a month, mainly to get enough books to qualify for free shipping. Didn't really use too long, a few months and than my local shop reopened. I had no problems with them and seriously thought about keeping them, it made it easier in the sense that I didn't have to travel to the shop to get my comics, and my local shop has a problem of opening later than their posted time so when I'm out running errands and I make it a point to go there and they're not opened yet, it's a pain. But I like my local shop, I like talking comics with Jonathan that runs it and more important I like checking out the stands. I buy some stuff fairly regularly, but I'm the type now that drops a book and picks up something new and being able to shop the books and pick them up and give them a quick once over is a big help. That's why even though I do a good bit of shopping for stuff over the internet I'll never be able to drop the brick and morter stores, I like to see and touch what I'm buying, from comics to cds. Don't know if this helps or not, but I should did run on long enough, didn't I?

Hooper Triplett said...

I don't know if its fair to say Bone and Strangers in Paradise wouldn't exist without bricks and mortar store. Online stores were simply not around then, and frankly I started reading SIP when I ordered from Westfield Comics.

Can you separate price and service? I may get good or even great service at the local store, but if the prices are not competitive, then I'm paying extra for the service. And do I want the clubhouse/boutique experience of going to the store, or do I want my comics as cheaply as possible?

Lisa said...

Ummmm.... Yeah, I might know a retailer. They don't do a ton of mail order, but they do some. Out in Wisconsin. Maybe you've heard of the store. I think it's Neptune Comics. :)

Seriously - we do some mail order, mostly for customers who moved, tried local retailers at their new locations and decided that in spite of the distance we were still the better shopping experience.

David Beard said...

I think that it might be fair to say that Bone and SIP would be less likely to survive, because the online retailer has little reason to stock "shelf copies" of a book.

When I discovered Bone, the first thing I did was hit the back issue bins. But online retailers, as a rule, don't have them -- or, they have replaced them with trade paperbacks.

I could overestimate the power of the shelf copy for the casual reader. But I know that I don't buy issue three at my LCS unless I have a chance to get issue one and two.

And with 3,000 shops around the country, if 300 order one shelf copy each on a small press book, it matters to the overall profitability of the project.

David Beard said...

That said, I have heard nothing but good about DCBS.

There is a DCBS thread here:

Agent 2112 said...

I like westfieldcomics.com
I do the weekly shipments. I looked into DCBS, but I don't like how they charge the credit card a month after you order. I like to pay when I order so I know how much money I have.