This is a topic that has become more important with each passing year. With the onslaught of online ordering, especially Amazon, people are coming into stores less and less. While there will still always be the diehard fans that come pick up their weekly books. You just don't see as many "casual" readers coming into the stores. It's something I noticed a lot over this past holiday season. With comic fandom and overall nerd culture becoming more mainstream, you would think that stores would be busier than ever. Well.... that's not always the case.
Online stores like Amazon can be hard to compete with, especially when they discount stuff so heavily. But what you can't get from online stores is the experience. Walking into a store and discovering something for the first time, or talking to a shop employee and discussing the latest book. I can't tell you how many series or creators I learned about simply by asking the guys at my shop to recommend something to me. In my opinion that's invaluable. That's something you cant replicate in a comment section from "verified customer".
Today I'm gonna talk about some of the best reasons to get yourself up out of your house and get out there an support your LCS (Local Comic Shop).
New Comic Books Every Wednesday
Yes that's right, every Wednesday is new release day for comic books and slew of other awesome merch. I know most of you already know this, but I feel it's important to talk about this. Did You know that most shops order 2 months in advance. Yeah, I know seems pretty crazy right. So sometimes they have to guess at what people are gonna buy.
Have you ever gone into a store and they're already sold out of an issue the day of release?
As a small business you don't wanna be left with 20 copies of "Captain Whatever #24", so you have to estimate based on past numbers and subscribers.
What's a subscriber?
That's one of the best parts about a comic shop, almost every store offers a "Pull" system. Where you create a list of every book that comes out on a monthly basis and gets put aside for you every week when it comes out. That means you never have to worry about missing out on your favorite comic. Plus most stores offer a discount. For instance the store I work at offers 10% off and free bags & boards
Graphic Novels For All You Binge Readers!
So single issue aren't for you? I get it. You'd rather read the whole story at one time? The grabbing a GN and TPB's is your best bet. While I'm not trying to talk you out of buying GN's exclusively, I mean I buy some series only in GN form. You do have to remember one thing, if a series isn't getting support in the single issue format, eventually there won't be a Vol. 3 or 4 of your favorite book. So just keep that in mind.
Anyways, so if buying singles isn't your thing, I get it. It can be a lot easier discovering new series when you can read a whole arc at once. I mean that's the way I've discovered some of my favorite series too, and the n eventually switched to getting the single issues.
While reading this you may be asking what does this have to do with my LCS. Well it all goes back to stores like Amazon. You may see a book on there for half the cover price as opposed to full price at a comic store. So you're probably thinking, "Ryan why would I spend more money when I can get it for cheaper on Amazon?" Well let me tell you why.
Here's a couple reasons.
1. Amazon is not what keeps the comic book industry alive, it's your LCS. If all the comic shops closed the industry would die.
2. Some stores, such as the one I work at, have Graphic Novel Clubs. For instance, our club is free to join and offers 20% of the cover price as a credit to your account that you can use for future purchases. You can use it the next time or save it up for that omnibus you've had your eye on.
So while that may not mean as much as saving that extra money, I can say that it will help keep this hobby that we all love, alive.
Missed out on an issue because you were out of town? Just discovered a new series that's a couple issue in and wanna catch up? I got great news, many stores carry back issues of comic books and make it easy to catch up. If they don't have it, they can usually order you a copy.
Maybe you want to get that elusive first appearance of your favorite character. before going to the dreaded eBay, check your LCS, you never know what hidden gems they may have in stock.
More Than Just Comics
Your local comic shop has great action figures, toys, statues, shirts and other merch of your favorite characters. With nerd culture becoming bigger every year, there's something for everyone. Oh yeah, like I said, if there is something the store doesn't have, like maybe a Hellboy shirt, they can order that also.
There’s always something cool to do at your local comic shop—and that includes many events. Whether it’s a midnight release of an exciting new title or a creator signing in store, there’s always something going on at your LCS. I mean where else can you get a chance to meet your favorite writer or artist.
There are 2 really cool yearly events that only happen at comic shops.
The first is Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) which is always the first Saturday in May. On this day almost all of the comic book publishers put out special book specifically for this event. From reprints to new content setting up new events at DC or Marvel. There is something for everyone. Most store also usually have signings or artists doing sketches. It's the biggest day of the year for comic shops. One more plug for my shop (Collector's Paradise btw), we do things a little different. Instead of just Free Comic Book Day we do Free Comic Book MAY, so it's not just for one day but the entire month of May. So EVERY Saturday that month something cool is going on.
The other event is relatively new, but cool all the same, Local Comic Shop Day (LCSD). On this day publishers will put out exclusive stuff that you can only get from your LCS. Such as exclusive covers, Hardcovers, or special editions of popular books. While this hasn't been going on for that long, it's quickly gaining popularity and is another great way to bring people into there comic shops.
Ok, so there you have it. I talked a little bit about why you should shop at your LCS. But one of the BIGGEST reasons I still think, is that without them there would be no comic book industry. They are the lifeforce of this wonderful hobby/passion of ours. Not to mention that they have helped create a culture with the experience you get when you shop there. No 2 stores are alike, so if you don't like the shop you just left, try another one until you find the right shop for you.
Oh yeah one more thing. Just in case some of you reading this have a hard time finding a shop close to you. There is a really great service that can help you find one, Comic Shop Locator. So if you love comics, get out there and support your LCS so we can keep this industry going strong.