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