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Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

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Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby LOLtron » Sat May 05, 2012 1:00 am

Is Free Comic Book Day working in its current form, or is it time to expand the concept into mainstream retailers?



May 5 was Free Comic Book Day. So, I went down to the local comic shops to get a bunch of freebies.

Then, I went over to the mall where there's a local Books-a-Million. It's the rare mainstream bookstore (at least in my neck of the woods) that has a good selection of comic books. I asked a couple of the employees at the service desk if the store was participating in FCBD.

One employee said no. The other didn't know what I was talking about.

And that is the biggest reason why Free Comic Book Day is pretty counterproductive. It's supposed to help introduce new readers to comics. The trouble is that since only comic shops participate, most potential readers will never participate, as they don't shop at comic shops.

(Yes, I suppose I could have gotten more copies to hand out to friends and family, but then that would mean there would be less available for other people customers, some who actually may be new. There's the dilemma)

If the goal of FCBD is to introduce comics to new readers, it needs to start reaching outside comics into more mainstream bookstores and other marketplaces. Stores like B-A-M, Barnes & Noble, and even Walmart and Target ought to be involved in FCBD in some way, shape, or form. Maybe with their own exclusive titles so as not to interfere with the comic shops (and because as we all know retailers are all for having their own "exclusives" that competitors don't have).

 Free Comic Book Day is a cool idea, but it's time it expand the concept to help promote comic sales out side of the comic shops and into the mainstream. The industry needs to have a foothold in the mainstream retail market in order to expand, and FCBD should be used for both comic shops and mainstream retailers to promote comics on both fronts.

Written or Contributed by: The Nacireman


http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/features/miscellaneous-features/19331-why-free-comic-book-day-fails.html/
Last edited by LOLtron on Sat May 05, 2012 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby J.M. Hunter » Sun May 06, 2012 6:08 pm

Hey I agree! Maybe even with the larger chain stores they'd be able to offer people more than one free selection!

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby HNutz » Sun May 06, 2012 9:02 pm

That's a good point.

Would it be good for the bookstores AND the comic shops? Or would it take business away from the comic shops?

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Juan Cena » Sun May 06, 2012 9:46 pm

HNutz wrote:That's a good point.

Would it be good for the bookstores AND the comic shops? Or would it take business away from the comic shops?


That's why I suggested that there be a separate FCBD book or books for the bookstores. Maybe have the bookstores offer more kid-friendly comics or something.
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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby sdsichero » Sun May 06, 2012 10:06 pm

Hardly any bookstores around here anymore :-(

We did have FCBD in our public libraries though...

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby guitarsmashley » Mon May 07, 2012 12:01 am

Nac needs his front page privileges taken away. This thread was a trick for us to see his threads.
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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby The Shadow » Mon May 07, 2012 1:07 am

I think another reason it fails is the books released just aren't big and showy enough.

I think you need a 100 page anthology with a nice variety of books to showcase a bunch of different teams, characters and genre's (if possible).

I do like how they tie in FCBD stories to the mainstream stories... but if someone isn't a Spidey fan (or whatever the book is) what's the draw? Hence the need for an anthology for variety.

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby SuperginraiX » Mon May 07, 2012 2:20 am

The Shadow wrote:I think another reason it fails is the books released just aren't big and showy enough.

I think you need a 100 page anthology with a nice variety of books to showcase a bunch of different teams, characters and genre's (if possible).

I do like how they tie in FCBD stories to the mainstream stories... but if someone isn't a Spidey fan (or whatever the book is) what's the draw? Hence the need for an anthology for variety.

How can anyone hate Spider-Man? Sounds like a satanist to me. A Communist sympathizing satanist.
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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Victorian Squid » Mon May 07, 2012 5:10 am

:smt102 I saw huge lines in most of the local shops, with brisk business being done at the registers as well. Saw tons of people with their kids getting their faces painted, or posing for pictures with superheroes. And they probably had a better time than if they'd gone to some ghetto Walmart (and I don't care where your Walmart is located, they are all ghetto.)

Looked like a success to me!

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Punchy » Mon May 07, 2012 5:24 am

I'm pretty sure FCBD is there not only to increase sales for Marvel and DC, but also to increase sales for the comic stores. Which it does. In fact the original idea came from a comic store owner.

This is like complaining that 'Indie Record Store Day' or whatever it was that happened last month is a failure because it doesn't take place at HMV or Target. FCBD is to help keep the comics retail industry afloat, not put more money into Barnes & Noble.

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Doc Jon » Mon May 07, 2012 5:44 am

Punchy wrote:I'm pretty sure FCBD is there not only to increase sales for Marvel and DC, but also to increase sales for the comic stores. Which it does. In fact the original idea came from a comic store owner.

This is like complaining that 'Indie Record Store Day' or whatever it was that happened last month is a failure because it doesn't take place at HMV or Target. FCBD is to help keep the comics retail industry afloat, not put more money into Barnes & Noble.


The maybe it's time to change the concept...
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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Lord Simian » Mon May 07, 2012 7:36 am

J.M. Hunter wrote:Hey I agree! Maybe even with the larger chain stores they'd be able to offer people more than one free selection!


They dont? My LCS let you take up to 4 books, of your choice....

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby BlueStreak » Mon May 07, 2012 8:00 am

One reason this wouldn't work:

It would require these big box retail stores to take a pretty substantial loss in order to help out an industry that they're not directly affiliated to.

As mentioned by several other people in the thread, Free Comic Book Day is a way for comic retail stores to draw large crowds and then benefit from them. It requires them to invest a not-insignificant amount of money to bring in product in the hopes that these customers will buy stuff in addition to the free comics. This is something that's nigh impossible to do in a large retail chain, as it probably wouldn't reap the same benefits for a store that doesn't specialize in comic books.

In fact, there's a totally different purchase model you'd have to go by as well. Unlike small retailers which benefit from FCBD as much as the publishers, I'd be hardpressed to find a major retailer who'd think that giving away comics instore would significantly boost their sales. In fact, since it's a promotional thing, I'm willing to bet that the retailers would charge Marvel/DC/Diamond Comics to promote the thing. Since Nac is a saavy person, I'm sure he's aware that distributors/manufacturers pay either a fee or give a lower margin to every item that's promoted in-store. That Coke cooler by the cash register? Paid for by Coke on top of a yearly fee to keep Pepsi from replacing it. That special endcap dedicated to Britney Spears' Greatest Hits? Paid for by the record label. For a nationwide one-day promotional campaign, there'd be a significant fee involved.

Would it be worth it? Probably not, since no one's done it yet. It's not as if these multi-million dollar companies have never thought "Let's put comics in Wal-Mart" before. They probably ran a few cost analyses and decided that it wasn't enough money to be made there. Or even better yet, decided not to play hardball and drop their margins to a near-unprofitable level to get their stuff in Wal-Mart.
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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Amoebas » Mon May 07, 2012 8:10 am

Me and the little ones had a great time on Saturday. I have no problem with this staying with the mom & pop lcs's rather than going all corporate.

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Re: Why Free Comic Book Day Fails.

Postby Victorian Squid » Mon May 07, 2012 8:39 am

BlueMole wrote:One reason this wouldn't work:

It would require these big box retail stores to take a pretty substantial loss in order to help out an industry that they're not directly affiliated to.

As mentioned by several other people in the thread, Free Comic Book Day is a way for comic retail stores to draw large crowds and then benefit from them. It requires them to invest a not-insignificant amount of money to bring in product in the hopes that these customers will buy stuff in addition to the free comics. This is something that's nigh impossible to do in a large retail chain, as it probably wouldn't reap the same benefits for a store that doesn't specialize in comic books.

In fact, there's a totally different purchase model you'd have to go by as well. Unlike small retailers which benefit from FCBD as much as the publishers, I'd be hardpressed to find a major retailer who'd think that giving away comics instore would significantly boost their sales. In fact, since it's a promotional thing, I'm willing to bet that the retailers would charge Marvel/DC/Diamond Comics to promote the thing. Since Nac is a saavy person, I'm sure he's aware that distributors/manufacturers pay either a fee or give a lower margin to every item that's promoted in-store. That Coke cooler by the cash register? Paid for by Coke on top of a yearly fee to keep Pepsi from replacing it. That special endcap dedicated to Britney Spears' Greatest Hits? Paid for by the record label. For a nationwide one-day promotional campaign, there'd be a significant fee involved.

Would it be worth it? Probably not, since no one's done it yet. It's not as if these multi-million dollar companies have never thought "Let's put comics in Wal-Mart" before. They probably ran a few cost analyses and decided that it wasn't enough money to be made there. Or even better yet, decided not to play hardball and drop their margins to a near-unprofitable level to get their stuff in Wal-Mart.


Quoted for common sense!

You saved me a couple minutes this morning by typing that too. :smt023

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