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#528551 - 11/08/08 12:19 AM Helping readers get started
adam shiver Offline
Junior member

Registered: 11/08/08
Posts: 3
We are currently in the planning process for opening a new comic book store and are looking to make it easy for people to start reading comics. We're looking to make it easy on people who have (1) never read any comics, (2) people who've been away from the comic scene for a long time and are trying to get back into them and (3) for people who may read say Marvel comics but want to get into the DC universe as well.

We've got a few ideas, but are looking for some outside opinions on what sort of things we can offer, or how to setup up an area in our store that will help the types of people I mentioned above. We also will be looking for ways to advertise to non-comic readers that show off the ways we will help new readers work their way into the wonderful world of comics.

Any and all ideas are very welcome! We truly want to add readers to the comic world.

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#528557 - 11/08/08 12:50 AM Re: Helping readers get started [Re: adam shiver]
necrotechno Offline
Member

Registered: 12/02/03
Posts: 3058
Don't try to sell just comics. The word "comics" here meaning all the stuff you can order through Diamond (toys, posters, t-shirts, etc.).

Offer some kind of discounted subcription service (Westfield is your competition).

Get one of those dollar-a-day DVD rental kiosks like are in the foyer at WalMart, but stock it with more esoteric titles (anime, art films, foreign films, etc.)

Non-comics magazines. Some of the European versions of popular magazines go for $20-$30, and they're 100% returnable if they don't sell.

Sodas and snacks. Huge markup on those items.

The shop I worked in did well with porn, but that did yield the occasional awkward situation.

If you've got the space, host RPG or model-building meetings, screen rare movies, have featured art exhibits.
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#528563 - 11/08/08 10:59 AM Re: Helping readers get started [Re: necrotechno]
adam shiver Offline
Junior member

Registered: 11/08/08
Posts: 3
Originally Posted By: necrotechno
Don't try to sell just comics. The word "comics" here meaning all the stuff you can order through Diamond (toys, posters, t-shirts, etc.).

Offer some kind of discounted subcription service (Westfield is your competition).

Get one of those dollar-a-day DVD rental kiosks like are in the foyer at WalMart, but stock it with more esoteric titles (anime, art films, foreign films, etc.)

Non-comics magazines. Some of the European versions of popular magazines go for $20-$30, and they're 100% returnable if they don't sell.

Sodas and snacks. Huge markup on those items.

The shop I worked in did well with porn, but that did yield the occasional awkward situation.

If you've got the space, host RPG or model-building meetings, screen rare movies, have featured art exhibits.


Those are all good ideas for a store, no doubt, but I guess what I was trying to get at isn't just what to put in a store, but what will help people who've never read a book before.

Someone who has never read a comic can be very intimidated when they enter a comic shop. Where to start? What to read? How do they get started in a series, say like Amazing Spider-Man, which is nearly 600 issues in already? Maybe have a starters section of the store? If so what gets stocked there?

How do you keep that intimidation factor for new readers down? How do you let them know they don't have to be a part of the 'comic reader elite,' as new reader might see it, to have fun reading comics?

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#528599 - 11/09/08 03:39 PM Re: Helping readers get started [Re: adam shiver]
1collector Offline
Junior member

Registered: 10/26/08
Posts: 6
you should package storylines up and sell it instead of having the new reader hunt down the comics. that will make it easier for the new buyer to read the comics.

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#528606 - 11/09/08 06:55 PM Re: Helping readers get started [Re: 1collector]
adam shiver Offline
Junior member

Registered: 11/08/08
Posts: 3
Originally Posted By: 1collector
you should package storylines up and sell it instead of having the new reader hunt down the comics. that will make it easier for the new buyer to read the comics.


That's a good idea.

We also thought it might be good to pick specific story lines, for instance Civil War or Final Crisis or Secret Invasion, and place them in the beginner section with a synopsis telling them a little of what it is about. This way, since the story lines run into multiple titles it could get them into the 'universe' and then they may branch out to title that interest them from there.

Also, for Marvel, the Ultimate universe is always a good starting place as well we figure, in the form of TPBs and Hard Covers. What do you all think?

Other good starting places? For DC? Indy? Marvel?

Other ways to help keep the new reader from being intimidated?

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#531020 - 12/13/08 11:02 AM Re: Helping readers get started [Re: adam shiver]
Dagwan Offline
Junior member

Registered: 05/20/05
Posts: 25
Sell them stuff you know.

It sounds obvious, but we often tend to overlook the obvious.

If you only read superhero stuff, you're mostly going to sell mostly superhero stuff. If you're a big Vertigo fan, you're going to sell a lot of Vertigo-type stuff. If you mostly like indie stuff, well, you get the picture.

Ask the people who come into your store questions. There are 2 questions that I ask new potential customers: "What kinds of stuff do you like?" and if they respond with an "I never read comics/haven't read since I was a kid" kind of answer, I ask them what kinds of TV shows, movies, or books they like. Then find something that matches that in tone, style, or subject matter.

Don't just ask the people who are obviously looking for comics either. Many "I'm just here with that guy/girl/kid" people have ended up buying things for themselves, because someone took the time to match up a comic series/ TPB to their tastes in other media.

Then just make them buy Fables vol. 1. That almost always hooks 'em!
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