In this article, I’ll be listing out the different types of comic retailers.
To recap from last week’s article Selling Comics: Who is my Customer? we learned the reason why comic retailers are the target market of comic creators. This article will help with understanding the different types of comic retailers that creators may want to keep in mind when beginning their marketing planning.
Each type of retailer has their pros and cons to comic creators. It’s all about understanding who you’re talking to.
Shall we begin then?
What Types Of Comic Retailers Are There?
From my understanding, there are only 5 types of retailers out there. (I’m expecting this section to get updated as time goes on. For now, this is a good start).
1. The Good Old Comic Book Shop:
They sell comics and comic related products (merchandise). Their retail space is completely used for all things related to comics. Although, it’s not uncommon for them to utilize some of their retail space to sell other types of merchandise.
These types of retailers tend to carry both new issues, indie, and tons of back order comics.
Whether you are looking for something new or old to read this type of comic retailer couldn’t be better for you.
2. The Comic Shop, With Chairs:
This comic retailer sells only comics and comic related products with the possible non-comic related merchandise. The difference is that they offer a seating area for people to sit and read their comics or play games. It’s not uncommon for comic retailers to hold tournaments for a popular card or board games to earn some extra revenue.
These retailers also tend to carry both new issues from major publishers, indie, and tons of back order comics.
Their retail space would typically house more non-comic related merchandise.
These retailers should always have something worth reading on their shelves for new or avid readers.
3. The Lounge:
These guys still sell comics and merchandise but a lot less of it. A significant difference is this type of comic retailer is that they step up their game when it comes to seating.
These types of comic retailers tend to have a much larger seating area than they do comic shelves. This allows for a more open and comfortable reading and lounging space for readers and visitors. This retailer exists to offer a comfortable experience for its visitors.
It’s not uncommon for this type of comic retailer to also offer food and drink. Be it coffee and pastries. This can help to draw in visitors that don’t necessarily have a pre-existing experience with comics (this is a good thing!).
This retailer will usually only carry in stock the most recent comics or comics that they have experience selling. If they have any back order comics it’s not a large collection.
The key takeaway of this retailers is this. They may not have much, but they plan on selling what they have. It’s hard to get them to take on something they don’t know much about or haven’t been asked to carry by their patrons.
4. The Bookstore:
It’s all in the name people. This is a regular old bookstore. Be it a big chain or not.
It probably goes without saying, but for them to be considered a comic retailer they must have something resembling a section in their store for comics.
The big chain bookstores will only ever carry the newest of the new in the world of comics. Typically selling either the newest issues or trade paperbacks.
The smaller or independently owned bookstores can vary in their selection and can maybe be swayed to carry new comics.
5. Novelty Shops (AKA Mom & Pop Shops):
These stores don’t necessarily have anything to do with comics. They may have a shelf or two with comics on them.
The nice thing about these types of comic retailers is their ability to sell. They know when and how to recommend some reading material.
They can be big or small. Focus entirely on comics and comic related products (merchandise). Focus on shopping experience. Or simply have a shelf that holds a few comics.
But whichever the case, it is crucial to understand who you’re talking to when it comes to comic retailers. Especially when it comes to learning how to properly reach and address your target market.
Hopefully, this article gives you a lens by which to begin a communication strategy with comic retailers. Maybe you got an idea about which kind of retailer is better equipped to sell your work.
The next article should be talking about how to directly sell your comic creation to comic retailers.