Why Do Comic Book Stores Have Difficulty Staying in Business?
In July 2019, “Avengers: Endgame” became the highest grossing film of all time. It grossed worldwide movie ticket sales reaching $2.79 billion. With the incredible success of the Avengers films, and overall success of many comic-based films over the past decade, you might think that comic book stores would be enjoying successful profits, as well. However, that often isn’t the case.
In spite of the cinematic success of comic-based movies, comic book sales dropped off steadily for the past several years. Comic book store liquidation became an unfortunate, yet all too common phenomenon. In 2017 alone, at least 50 comic book stores closed in the U.S. and U.K. Another 21 stores in the U.S. and 11 more in the U.K. shuttered their windows since June of 2018.
With comic book-based entertainment having such great success, how is it that retailers of the source material are struggling to stay in business?
A New Way to Buy
In the heyday of comic books people had far fewer mediums by which to receive their entertainment. This meant comic book stores had less competition. Comic book readers waited for the release of the latest edition or volume, then flooded stores to buy the latest copy of their favorite story.
Online shopping changed the way comic book fans purchase their stories. With the ability to purchase collections from online retailers, such as, Amazon and eBay, even committed comic book collectors don’t shop at the brick-and-mortar stores like they used to. Instead the choose the convenience and options available online. Buyers can now purchase entire collections all at once. There is no need to wait for a the release new of a comic book every few weeks then rush to the store to buy the latest edition. Now, they even come with a return policy!
Changing the Medium Created a New Generation of Fans
The medium of how comic book fans consume their stories also changed dramatically, bringing with it an entirely new generation of comic book fans. At the peak of comic book popularity, comic-based movies did not exist. In those days, limited special effects, lack of budget, and a general lack of mass interest limited comic-based entertainment to television shows, which were considered to be “cheesy” by general viewers, and only a novelty by the most die-hard fans.
As special effects, budget, and interest increased, comic-based movies were released, capturing the attention of a new generation of fans. Many of those fans never read comic books but were enthralled by the storytelling of this new medium. Today, fans of comic-based source material are individuals who spent their entire lives looking forward to the release of comic-based movies, rather than the comic book fans of yesterday. These movies, while exclusively available at theaters, generally become video streaming options before long and retailers of both the brick-and-mortar and online variety scramble to stock shelves with products featuring the last trending characters
Fans of comic-based stories can watch the movie, order the products online, play the digital games, and move on to the next installment in lightning speed when compared to how long it would take to collect and read all of the titles for just one story in comic book form.
The Creators of Comic Books
On top of everything else comic book store owners have to face, one of the of biggest detractors to the industry are the comic book story creators, writers, and illustrators themselves!
There have been several incidents where the creators of comic books have offended established fans and prospective customers with condescending social media posts in which they dismiss criticisms and shut down discussions when there is disagreement with their vision. Rather than engaging in a healthy dialog with fans, they instead choose to insult and demean fans, turning away potential customers.
Although the comic-based industry has embraced the new generation of fans by finding new ways to deliver the product to them, the creators are often countering this by disengaging the very fans that made their creations a household name.
Avoid Having to Liquidate Your Comic Book Store
Comic book store owners face unique challenges that make it difficult to compete with online retailers, comic-based movie franchises, and backlash from comic book fans against their creators.
G.A. Wright can help its clients not only stay in business but thrive in business by:
- Providing expert advice on promotion and sales
- An in-depth analysis of your business and strategies to help you get back on track
- Training to help your employees form stronger connections with your customers
Our clients trust the value of our services and we have the positive reviews to prove it. For more information, fill out our contact form.