Diversify or die.

Some comic retailers are cheering the addition of exclusive comics in Walmart as well as other outreach ideas as a way to "grow" the audience.

Sounds reasonable?


I've been through this before with sports cards. It doesn't work. But you can't convince anyone of that, because it "sounds reasonable."

Sabrina said, "Yes, but we have the expertise. People still have to come to us."

I say, "That's exactly what I thought about sports cards."

To me this is the equivalent of publishers asking for free writing as a way of "promoting" yourself. Almost all professional writers know this is a scam.

Or the equivalent of closing our downtown streets on half of the busiest peak weekends of the year (summer) and inviting people to set up in front of our stores (without the high rents we pay all year) and saying "It promotes your business."

It's all bullshit but there are just enough idiots and newbies to go along with it.

I have a weird advantage in that I've had to add product lines to my store from the very beginning. Comics have always only got us about 70% of the way to where we need to be to be viable, and only about 50% of the way to being truly profitable. For some reason, this ratio hasn't changed in 35 years no matter how big Bend gets.

So I've added books and games and toys (and innumerable other attempts) to the mix and that works.

There are a lot of comic stores out there, especially in bigger cities, who could get away with just selling comics--sometimes, not even with graphic novels in the mix.

It's a dangerous position to be in.

Diversify or die, I always say.