Business Ideas: How to Start a Comic Book Store
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Has sharing your love for comics to the world always been your passion? Or are you a comic book nerd who has plans of starting a business? Listen up; owning a comic book store could be the ideal trade for you.
Back then, in 2013, the comic book industry reached $870 million in domestic sales. The comic book industry is growing with the aid of movie and TV series adaptations. So because of this, comic book shops in America are continually increasing.
By owning a comic book store, you are chasing your dreams, and also running a business simultaneously. So we’ve including tips that can help you in starting and running to your comic book store successfully.
- Who’s Your Target?
To make your store successful, your love and passion for comics aren’t enough. Regardless of how many people you try convincing to buy, if they aren’t interested in it, they wouldn’t buy. This is more reason you should make research on your target market.
You should be capable of catering for both casual and hardcore comic book fans. You should know how many of them live close to your store. Are they affluent or intrigues by your inventory?
An easy way of knowing what your customers want is by launching an online page. If you have hardcore collectors interested in your inventory, then you need to start searching for valuable and rare comic book issues.
- But what are the Costs?
There are two essential costs you should take note of if you want to start your comic book store. They are;
- The costs for establishing your brick and mortar store.
- The costs of purchasing your initial inventory of comic books.
Nevertheless, the total costs can be more than estimated it depends on how large either of them is.
Firstly, let’s discuss your location. Opening your store close to or in a business area is actually for your own advantage. But if you couldn’t get that kind of place, then you can open your store where there’s decent foot traffic at least.
Not to mention, the closer a store is to the central business area, the more costly it gets. Since you’re just starting, a small retail store would do, however, ensure it’s ample enough to house a storage area, few displays rack , and a counter.
Since you’ll be running a comic store, you need to be capable of managing your inventories. So you can begin small with your list, but it should have a diverse selection. Then as you increase your collection, you can include more variety such as action figures and graphic novels.
Notwithstanding, if you already have a decent collection, that’s great. Though we still suggest you invest in an inventory in case of the future. You never can tell, you might sell off pretty quickly.
- In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night, Marketing Opportunities Come Alight
How do you attract customers to your store? Marketing is the key. It doesn’t matter if it’s an online or physical store; you must be able to flaunt your presence.
In the case of small businesses, a well-plotted marketing strategy works miracles. Put up banners, distribute flyers, or hire high school students to hold up signs outside the store. These few methods of attracting potential customers to your store.
To draw more attention from families, you can hold a dress-up pageant or competition for kids. Winners can be awarded comics from your inventory as prizes. By doing this, the young ones and their parents get to enjoy the event whereas you are also advertising your shop.
Do you enjoy treasure-hunting for the rare issues? Severe comic book collectors can pay a large amount of money for those. However, you’ll need to get more. You can hold an audition if you discover that many buyers are interested.
When you’ve got loyal customers, you can offer them discounts for every tenth book they purchase. This technique can be used for online customers too. Display a mobile or email subscription that’ll keep them updated about new stocks. Ensure you have a very innovative and unique marketing strategy.
- How Do I Open a Comic Book Store?
Now that you’re ready to start your comic book store here’s what to do;
Firstly: create a business plan. Calculate how much you’ll need for the start-up costs and how much time it will take to break even. This is the point you create your initial marketing strategies while considering your target market.
Before concluding on a location, ensure it’s accessible to the public the same way a mall is. Furthermore, register for taxes so that you can be permitted to open. Form a legal entity. This is a preventive measure to avoid being liable in case someone sues your comic shop.
Handle the accounting aspect. Create a bank account and arrange business accounting. After doing, obtain all the essential documents, including licenses and permits.
Don’t forget always to get business insurance. Based on your state, you might have to obtain workers compensation insurance for your employees. There are states where workers compensation insurance is among the legal requirements.
Defining your brand comes next. Who are you, and what does your business stand for? A right way of doing this is launching an online presence through social media or your website.
- By Odin’s Beard, You Must Reach Out
You’re just starting this comic book store, so don’t be surprised by a few bumps on the road. There are chances that your store might not turn out to be popular. Or, perhaps you aren’t making enough sales, and it’s almost time to pay the rent for the store.
Before you find yourself in this kind of situation, why don’t you find retailers who know the business? Seek advice and tips on managing the business successfully. You never know, you might eventually become business partners for a more prosperous outcome.
Reach out to your customers, also. Try and find out what they like or what they want to see. You can know this by asking them or taking note of the type of comics that sells most in your store. If you intend ordering comic books from your supplier, put out polls order more of what they want and buy more.
In the trade book marketplace, comic books, as well as graphic novels, happens to be amongst the highest growth categories. No wonder many people keep entering the industry.
Whether you’ve been a long-time fan or a newly-converted one, it’s important to respect each other and be humble.
How to start a comic book store
Starting a comic book store involves research, a diverse inventory and a piece of sound knowledge in the history of several comic book characters that have been created during the years.
Here are steps that can bring you closer to your goal.
Before investing a dime in opening a comic book store, answer this question honestly to know if opening a comic book store is the appropriate investment for you.
As a comic book retailer, you need to have self-motivation. Are you disciplined enough to keep yourself motivated?
Are you ready to alter your schedule, let go of certain activities, or even cancel events if need be to make your comic book store successful? Will offering quality service to your comic book customers be your top priority? Will you be objective about various comic books even when they aren’t your favorites?
Will you take the initiative, curiosity, and interest to always stay updated about your collection and also about trends in the comic book collecting business?
When the journey gets rough, do you have what it takes to keep moving forward against all odds of succeeding? Do you have good communication skills that will help you relate with your customer base in person?
Think about the demographics of where you intend opening your store. Traffic, visibility, and a targeted population who are affluent enough to spend on comic books, even if it’s for pleasure or a collection, this are crucial considerations.
Contact the local licensing bureau of your city to make inquires about how you can apply for a license and the kind of license you require. You might need to have more than one. Obtaining a license(s) is crucial before you can open the store.
Inquire your insurance agent about coverage of your collection. You should always obtain coverage for customers and employees, if possible.
Go to the Internal Revenue website and apply for a free employee identification number (EIN).
Pros of starting a comic book store.
For the most part, starting a comic book store is quite simple. With a comic book store, you can fulfil your dream of displaying and selling new and vintage comic books. You can also expose new customers to the comic book genre, offer collectors an assortment of characters, and older customers with memories of their childhood.
Selling rare and difficult to find comic books in your store, or providing a research service to find precise comic books, is one of those things that lure comic book enthusiasts. Collectors even pay lots of money for collectables. Offering both new and collectable comics grants two independent avenues for attracting customers and generating revenue.
For a business just starting, selling comic books on a retail schedule isn’t the right choice seeing as the financial rewards might not be consistent from week to week.
With the little or no cash generated from sales potentially, do you have adequate resources to purchase new inventory and cover other store costs? To run this business, you need a long term investment, coupled with a standard set of hours to manage a well-stocked, well-maintained, and well-run business.
12 tips for selling your comic books
At this point you probably have questions like; where do I sell my comics? What is a suitable price for comics? How do I ensure my comics get to a right home?
You know circumstances vary, so there are times you need to slim down your comic collection. Hence, if this should be the case, then you should know the best way of selling your old comic books, digitally or in person. No need to worry we have listed a few tips that can help you sell your comics successfully.
- Discover the Best Place to Sell Comic Books
Life is very much easier if you discover ways of selling your old comics offline.
You can try your local comic store: they might have interest in your collection. Comics are currently famous. Thus you can buy them in more shops than ever before. So asking at thrift stores or second-hand bookshops is worth it.
Always remember that these are dealers; so they might not offer great prices because they also have to make profits. Nevertheless, you have been given this opportunity to get good money, if, for instance, the dealer needs a specific issue for their own or their client’s collections.
Additionally, if you want to ensure that your comics go to a right home, then why don’t you get a stall at a convention? They can be very expensive. Therefore you have to contemplate on it think about it and conclude if it’s worth it. Typically, as a bonus, dealers get further incentives such as skipping virtual queues for autographs. Otherwise, you can use auction such as eBay, or several other specialist online stores such as Stanley Gibbons, which are popularly known for stamps but also dabble in other collectables. Webuycomics.com has an expansive Want List; and Sellmycomicbooks.com would appraise your collection, and also provide a wealth of price guides that will educate you in the process.
- Ask Yourself: Are Comic Books Worth Much Money?
When it comes to price, comic books are a little bit like cars. Typically, the moment you purchase them, they devalue— at least. Although there are few exceptions. First appearances, early adventures, a significant milestone often demand big bucks.
The world’s most expensive comic book is Action Comics #01 (1938), the first appearance of Superman, and it sold for a record $3.2 million at auction.
The probability of you having that, Amazing Fantasy#15, or Marvel Comics #1 is so little, you could have The Walking Dead #1, Iron Man #281 (War Machine’s debut), or Ultimate Spider-Man#1. There might not be worth millions; nevertheless, they can get you a few hundred dollars per piece.
- Learn About Comic Book Conditions
When you treasure and value your collection, you’ll surely keep them in excellent condition. And this adds more value to them. Only a little crease, page yellowing, and marks or other stains could influence the price.
Informing people of precisely what condition your comics are in will increase sales. Although grading them, is difficult hard. Many lists as “Mint” when their issues aren’t.
Appropriate grading is numbered, you use “Mint” to class only as 9.8 or above. “Near Mint” begins at 9.0. Many are “Fine”.
However, many buyers don’t expect this kind of thorough grading. So long as you correctly state if it’s NM or F, you should be fine.
But if it’s a specific valuable issue, you should check CGC Comics, which professionally grades and seals your books into certified holders.
- Keep Comics Safe by Bagging and Boarding
Customers ought to know that you take your conditions seriously. You can make them understand that issues are appropriately cared for by placing them in specialist bags and backing them with good boards. They’re usually cheap and can be gotten from every comic book supplier.
This will appeal and attract serious collectors who take good care of them as much as you do.
Avoid using terrible old bags which are covered in decades-old tape. The boards must be acid-free or else they will affect your comic. Removing regular tape can be bad; hence why you don’t invest in satin-finish or frosted tape.
- Take Your Photos
Usually, many dealers use Google for pictures, and this is very enticing, considering the extensive collection. Notwithstanding, people have to be able to trust you, mainly when you sell online. So by taking your photos, your potential customers can see the condition for themselves.
- Give Proper Descriptions When Selling Online
Avoid inaccurate Product descriptions on auction sites. Condition isn’t always the reason you lost your comics accurately. With appropriate descriptions, customers can be sure when they’ve found the right issue, if it’s by one of their favourite creators, which you invested in, not merely buying and selling in bulk.
However, if you’re making use of a bidding site, you are only allowed to use specific several characters in the heading to describe the comic. Hence, you have to narrow down precisely what’s is necessary to attract customers.
Title and issue numbers are crucial, although what about volume number, publisher (mostly either Marvel or DC), and story arc? Just one spelling mistake can make your comic get ignored by search functions. Therefore you must be careful.
- Separate Valuable Comics in a Collection
Do your research and form two piles of comics: a pile should include your every day $1 issues, whereas the other should consist of the more costly ones.
Keeping your collection organized is actually for your good, even though people hardly do—this is an opportunity to do things not only correctly but also uniquely.
- Consider Grab Bags
Creating two piles has made grab bags possible. These are cheaper comics thrown into one bag together and sold at a fixed price. You can see them as a lucky dip or goody bag.
After continuously trying to get rid of a troublesome issue nobody is interested in, you would be glad if you hid it among others that might draw attention. Generally, Grab bags comprise of three or four points, but don’t add more than five.
- Sell Complete Storylines Together
In case you have corresponding issue numbers, gather them as one lot together. This will lure more bidders if there’s a complete run since they’ll think they’re getting a better bargain. Since they also know that they are part of a cherished collection.
Listing them separately is possible though it should be done at the same time so that customers can see you have a run of issues to sell. They can even bid on many other comics to fill a gap in their collections. But do this sparingly.
Undoubtedly, even a storyline with a missing issue or two is preferably when collected together than making customers fish for them across so many listings. Since you’re a collector, this implies you will explore your other items.
- Wait for the Perfect Opportunity to Sell Comics
Iron Man comics are now being sought after often since Robert Downey Jr became Tony Stark. Famous media enhances sales, thus be on the lookout for upcoming production schedules, and save comics that are connected to those characters for transmission or release dates.
The fame of some titles usually stays the same, though hero and villain debuts pique interest. Great examples of this are Avengers and Suicide Squad, with rolling rosters meaning a frequent turnover of the cast.
Numerous independent comics are being adapted for the screen, but you should be patient until they air before you dispose of those issues except you’re in desperate need of cash.
- Consider Selling a Job Lot of Comic Books
This isn’t always the best situation, however, if you need a quick fix, perhaps to make space or get money, or you want to keep your collection together, a job lot could be the solution. You might have to sell a complete run of one title together, or perhaps every issue you’ve ever bought.
You could earn $50 for a complete title, or $300 for all: It can go either way, particularly if you’re open to haggling.
- Share Your Comic Collection on Social Media
Are you worried your comics aren’t going to a right home? Then turn to Facebook. There are chances that a friend might want to buy at least a few of what you’re selling, even though they might want a discount. You can post on Facebook Groups too. Several groups celebrate publishers or characters, though there are some which were created precisely for buying and selling items and Comic Book Collecting is a very famous one.
To sum up
Hopefully, you now know and understand how to start collecting comic books and what kind of comics you should purchase that’ll increase in value over time. We hope you found this guide informative and useful. Implementing what you learnt is relatively easy, diligence and patience will do the trick.