The DC Re-launch is in full effect here at Stadium, and it’s been by far the most successful sales initiative we’ve ever seen here at the store. There’s a definite buzz in the air – people are excited about comics again! This has been a wonderful opportunity for us to meet all kinds of new people, and to welcome back people who for whatever reason, left the world of comics for a little while. Here’s hoping the excitement continues past the #1 issues!
It’s unfortunate though that some retailers are taking this wonderful opportunity that’s been given to our industry, and using it to gouge their customers with ridiculously inflated prices.
I started hearing the horror stories last week, when books like Detective Comics, Action Comics, and Batgirl were all reported to be selling at prices between $8 and $16 at a couple of stores within a 10-15 minute drive from our store. These reports all came from customers who had either come to our store or phoned us, having been turned off by the prices at these other stores. We also saw some pics on Twitter feeds from people attending conventions and seeing out-to-lunch pricing, such as this picture taken by twitter user makehavoc247.
My initial reaction last week was to just laugh off the ridiculous prices at these stores, and be thankful for the fact that they had driven business our way. I think we may have even picked up a few long-term customers because of it. But then, once the books from this week were released, I heard even more horror stories.
A customer of ours came in during the day on Thursday, and told us he had been at one comic shop which is in a very popular shopping mall close by (I’m not going to outright name names, but most of you in the GTA will be able to figure this out) and they were selling Green Lantern #1 – which had only been released the previous day – for $16. Wow.
How is that even fair pricing? A non-variant cover shouldn’t sell for more than its regular price the week of its release, especially not the DAY AFTER. This made me upset.
Aren’t we as an industry trying to attract new readers to shops with this relaunch? Shouldn’t we be giving those newcomers the best possible experience so that maybe they’ll come back and decide to buy more than just the first issues? Instead, retailers who partake in this kind of pricing just leave those who made the purchases with a very sour taste in their mouths.
“That’s what it’s getting on eBay”
I decided to call this particular comic store on Thursday, to verify that what I was hearing was true. Indeed Green Lantern #1 was selling for $16. When I asked why, the polite person on the other end stated, “that’s what it’s getting on eBay”. I also asked if they had Batman and Robin #1 in stock.
“No, sorry we’re out of stock on Batman and Robin. But we have Detective Comics #1.”
“Oh, how much for that?” I asked, knowing that the answer would be an ugly one.
“It’s $35. But it’s a first print.”
Unbelievable. I mean, we’re not scalpers! High demand does not dictate that we, as retailers, sell the book for more than regular price.
As for the “that’s what it sells for on eBay” argument, any person with a lick of common sense will tell you that just because one sold for $16, doesn’t mean they ALL have sold for that much. A quick look at completed listings on eBay while writing this article shows that many Green Lantern #1s have sold for between $3 and $5. That’s hardly a rock-solid foundation for setting your price at $16.
So to those retailers out there that are ripping people off – many of whom are in your store for the first time – I have a couple of pointers for you:
- Yes, it’s your business, and you are free to run it as you see fit. But people talk, and they’re talking about you. Lots of people you have served have come into our shop complaining about your tactics. We have been happy to help them out however we can.
- If you’re doing this because you’re worried about comic speculators buying up all of your books so that others can’t, then limit the amount people can purchase. We’ve found that a limit of 2 per person has worked really well on the more popular books.
- You are perpetuating the sleazy comic store dealer stereotype – something many other retailers have been fighting against. You’re making the rest of us look bad. As much as we’d like to think not everyone gets painted with the same brush, it definitely happens. We’ve seen many people comment on social networking sites over the last few weeks saying, in regards to inflated “new 52” pricing, “this is why I’m going digital”. Not really a vote of confidence in your favour, is it?
- Read this article that iFanboy published last week about bad retailers. Maybe it will help open your eyes. Make your business a fun place to shop!
Were you ripped off? Get a free comic!
The people we really feel bad for are the customers who have been taken advantage of. We at Stadium Comics would like to help soften the blow a little. How on Earth can we do that?
Starting Monday, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, and you paid more than a reasonable price for a new release, non-variant comic at another store, and you can provide proof of that through a receipt, a bank statement, or some other means, we’ll give you a FREE comic in the form of our Amazing Spider-Man #666 Stadium Comics variant!
It’s a great issue – the start of the Spider-Island story line – its extremely limited, and best of all, it’s got all of our store information on it, so that you’ll never forget where to find an awesome comic shop!
We’ll do this while supplies last. And please, don’t go out and purchase something like Detective Comics for $35 just to get this book. We do sell it in-store and online as well
Also, don’t forget to check out our weekly web series “Unboxing Wednesdays” – where we unbox our weekly new comic shipment on camera for all of our friends on Youtube each and every week, in order to give you a fun look at what you can find in comic shops every week. We give away prizes too!
As a final note – if your local comic shop is asking you to pay ridiculous prices for new release comic books, there are plenty of other great retailers out there who are more than willing to help. Check for other shops using the Comic Shop Locator Service. There are more good retailers out there than bad, trust me.
Enjoy this week’s relaunch books, everyone!