Physical video games aren't the best sellers they used to be. So what's the next big thing? According to Gamestop, it's comics as the company is set to test a pilot program putting comics into 20 Gamestops and 20 Thinkgeeks.
Uncle Rich's Rumour Rag was sent these leaks of Gamestop's POS system with comics set for sale June 15.
Uncle Rich spoke with James Parker, formerly of Hastings and now of Gamestop, about the move.
We are indeed getting into comics, as a retail test forum. Comics are often a part of our promotional entertainment industry environment, including video games – we can learn from this tribal knowledge. We have indeed partnered with Diamond to carry a small selection of comics in 40 stores utilizing their new spinner rack. The comics are mostly from Marvel and DC with a focus on key series and titles. This is just a small launch to bring comics to some of our collectibles stores as they fit with the current trend of Collectibles that are performing in the market. Should this prove successful, we may consider rolling out to additional stores in the future but plan to keep it limited to the spinner rack for the foreseeable future. Of course, you can expect to see some exclusive variants from us in the future.
Getting comics in front of more eyeballs is a good thing, but for better or for worse, comics depends on the direct market to prop it up. Local comic book stores are the ones that take risks on smaller books offset with sales of the Big Two. As Parker stated, most of the titles being sold by Gamestop will be Marvel and DC taking sales away from local comic stores.
Diamond is the only game in town for comic distribution so stores are at their mercy in getting product. They're attempting to expand their customer-base, at the risk of losing current customers.
No word yet on if you can trade the comics back in at 1/20th cover price for store credit.