Monday, June 18, 2012

Checking out the comic/book stores.

I've visited a number of comic, book, and game stores in OKC.

Some of them are semi-corporate, and I have nothing to say about them.

The others are all different from each other; indeed, I'm amazed by the variety of approaches.

But before I go any further, I think it's a shame how little knowledge each of these stores have of each other. The information isn't meant to be misleading, I'm sure, but is so off the mark that it might as well be. Don't they care to know?

So one guy tells me, no one is really doing graphic novels, when I've just visited two stores that were doing a pretty good job of them, and another store says that no one is doing boardgames and the next store I find is doing boardgames pretty well, and so on.

I guess my advice is -- check for yourself. Don't take the other guy's word for it. (I think online reviews are even more useless -- not only is there the usual misinformation, but there is also a good chance that there might be intentional misinformation...)

I wonder if OKC just has a different attitude. For instance, there were several card shops along the way, which amazes me. The shop we saw here was talking about all the "valuable" cards they were getting -- which is just not a language feel comfortable using these days. It had stacks and stacks of Yugi Oh boxes, also. (I might sell through one a year, or something.)

The game stores look pretty normal. Tables out for people to play. The snacks and guys hanging around. Again, not my thing. I'm really not the right age for this, frankly. Just one of those things.

Almost all these stores had extra room, by my standards. Unused space. Most of them were untidy, and had entire sections that were complete messes. They seem more casual than my store. There is a certain appeal to that, I suppose. The rents have to be pretty cheap for them to waste that much space, that's all I can figure.

Came across a bookstore that was transitioning to a comic shop -- (kind of going in the opposite direction as me) -- said they used to be 70% books, and now they are 70% comics.

All the stores were full of material that I've not seen before. Here I am, thinking I have most of the significant stuff, and yet here are stores filled with new titles. Which shows, I guess, just how many good books there are in the world. Good titles -- things I'd like to have.

To me, these store don't seem -- I can't describe it exactly -- but something like "efficient" use. They have many copies of the same titles -- both comics and graphic novels. I tend to keep one or two copies around of everything, and then try to keep on top of them, reordering immediately.

But some of these stores had half a dozen copies of many titles, 10 or 15 extra comic issues (I tend to only 4 or 5.) It makes those books all the more noticeable. But it feels loose, sloppy, to me. They have way more face-out titles.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Because it does look pretty good when there are stacks of books, face out. Instead of one of everything, spine out.

But I'm not sure I have any real choice. The space I have is the space I have.

I can't second guess myself too much, since we're doing pretty well. I chose to carry five or six full product lines, instead of one or two like most of the stores I'm visiting, and I do like the variety of chances it gives me to sell something. Again, I'm located where I'm located and that dictates what I sell.

But there is a sense of prosperity to having those stacks of the same book. I'll have to think about maybe going heavy on a few titles every month, especially ones I know I'm going to end up selling anyway. Try harder to find face-out spaces. Not sure how I can accomplish that, though, without removing a product line or two.

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