Comic shops are at risk during Coronavirus pandemic

Comic shops are at risk during Coronavirus pandemic

It’s tough enough for comic book shops to make a profit at the best of times. The margins are minimal. A pandemic could be enough to put many out of business.

Like many small and independent businesses, bricks and mortar comic book shops are at risk right now due to the implications of the current Coronavirus pandemic.

With current government advice encouraging people to stay at home, avoid contact with others and refrain from unnecessary travel, all high street businesses are going to witness a significant decline in footfall. Devastating news for any business that relies on face to face transactions as a primary source of sale. The profit margin on comics is minimal, stores pay up front for their stock and sell it on with a small markup. With such fine margins the line between breaking even and not being able to cover wages and rent is thin.

Many stores won’t make it through this pandemic, but with our support, some will. So what can we do this new comic book day?

Pay for subscriptions

First up. Pay for your subscriptions. If you’re a regular reader with comics held at store for you, pay for them. Give the store a call ask them to ring up your pull list and pay over the phone. You may not be able to pick your books up right away, but they will be kept safe for you and the store won’t be out of pocket.

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A large proportion of comic book store revenue comes from reserving books. The store knows what to order in advance, making their business more efficient, and it’s (mostly) guaranteed income. But if everyone stops coming in to pick up their pull list, the comic store still has the cost without the revenue.

Sign up for mail order comics

Many comic book stores offer a mail order service. You get the same books delivered to your door. Reach out to your local store and find out if they can provide this service. They may even have an online ordering service. The downside is that often there will be an additional postage cost, on the flipside, it’ll rarely be more than it costs you to travel in person.

Pick up and run

If you know which titles you want, and you should – we publish a Comics Preview every week. Call ahead, explain that you want to get in and out as quickly as possible to avoid exposure. Ask the store to have your purchases ready to go, or see if they offer a doorstop exchange. Cash for comics.

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Buy a voucher for later

You may not want to spend time browsing in-store. But if you’re brave enough to hit the store, ask if they sell vouchers. You’ll be supporting the shop at a time in need and have the full face value to spend on sweet reads later on. This applies to other industries and store too.

However you tackle the challenges posed by the current pandemic, spare a thought for others at risk. Remember, if a comic shop closes, people lost their livelihoods, can’t pay rent or buy food. The effect cascades. Stay safe, drink coffee, read comics.

Will Harrison

About the author | Will Harrison

Founder of The Unheard Nerd. A husband and father of two girls, Will is a fan of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a comics fiend, a podcast host and champion of independent nerd culture. | Follow will on twitter: @TheUnheardNerd