The 7th Annual Meeting of the Free Comic Book Day Survivors Support Team.

§ May 4th, 2008 § Filed under free comic book day Comments Off on The 7th Annual Meeting of the Free Comic Book Day Survivors Support Team.

Some notes and comments from our Free Comic Book Day boondoggle:

  • The store remained solidly busy through the majority of the day, up until about the last hour or so. Lots of kids, lots of unfamiliar faces. No “are these free?” questions regarding our new arrival racks, and thus tragic deaths were avoided.

    We were much busier than we were planning for, and our 2008 FCBD supply was getting a little sparse about halfway through the workday. Luckily we had leftovers from previous FCBDs to supplement our giveaways…and we gave away plenty of those older books. We even gave away the few copies of last year’s Spider-Man book we had left. Why, we could have sold those for $20 a pop!

  • The topic of conversation of the day was, of course, the new Iron Man movie (which I haven’t seen yet — shooting for Monday — but I now know the last line of the film and the post-credits surprise). Reaction appeared to be overwhelmingly positive…even pal Dorian thought it was excellent. And, as I was thinking might happen, we had a large number of film-fueled requests for Iron Man comics, new and old. The FCBD Iron Man/Hulk/Spider-Man book was a popular item, and we even sold out of our copies of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man comics. We never sell out of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man.

    Whether this unusual post-movie demand will last long enough to help along sales on next week’s Invincible Iron Man debut…well, we’ll see.

  • Speaking of pal Dorian…he brought us cookies. Thanks, Dorian!
  • Aside from anything involving Iron Man, it seemed like there was a lot of demand for the Simpsons comics. The previous years’ Bongo Comics offerings were extremely popular, and I had to restock them a few times. Which reminds me…when I was looking at FCBD news stories for yesterday’s post, I ran across a story or two listing the types of comics available, and the Simpsons comic was referred to only as “Bongo Comics,” with no mention of the Simpsons at all. Given that the general public doesn’t know that “Bongo Comics” = “Simpsons,” that just felt like a lost opportunity for free advertising of a commodity known to a non-comic reading audience.
  • I had what I thought was a pretty good story about a customer who wanted comics that featured the art of Roy Lichtenstein. As in “story by Gardner Fox, art by Roy Lichtenstein and Sid Greene.” But it turns out I misunderstood, and she was actually looking for comics that Lichtenstein…borrowed from. Ah, well.
  • We had a couple of minor special deals during our event. We offered a small discount on trade paperbacks for the day, and had a “buy 3, get a 4th free” deal on manga. Had a few takers on the manga, but we sold a boatload of trades…it doesn’t take much of a break on prices to get people to give the shelves a second glance.

    Ultimately, we not only took in enough scratch to pay for all the FCBD books, but, if we were to subtract the subtract the FCBD day costs from our end-of-day total, that still amounts to an excellent Saturday take. Finally, those solid-gold pants will be mine, mine!

  • During one of our busy times of the day, Customer Rob (hi, Rob!) was trying to convince a friend of his to give the Spirit a try, and asked me for a quick description of the character. I was sorta pressed for time, and had multiple demands on my attention, so the best I could do was “More Cheery Batman.”

    I don’t know…for a spur-of-the-moment thing, I thought that was pretty good.

  • Pal Nat dropped by, resplendent in his Licensable Bear™ t-shirt…and you can get one too! A shirt, I mean, not Nat. I think. That’d be between you and him, frankly.
  • As I’ve explained many times before, we pack the free comics into bags for ease of distribution to customers. Employee Aaron reported that one customer took a bag, looked inside, flipped through the comics, and handed the bag back without taking a single book. Geez, not even for free, huh?
  • Internet buddy Lankyguy asks

    “I’m curious, does it really bring in any new readers? Does it accomplish anything besides some P.R.?”

    That’s something I covered in lengthy detail in this FCBD aftermath post from last year, when I was asked a similar question. In fact, I’ll just reprint it here, in this post, as my answer hasn’t changed much, and I’ll save you the clicky-clicky:

    “Well, on the actual day of Free Comic Book Day…yes, lots of new faces show up, because not a person around doesn’t like something that’s free (unless it’s, like, ‘free measles,’ or ‘free punch in the nose,’ or ‘free Team Youngblood’).

    But by ‘new customer’ you probably mean ‘new regular visitors to the funnybook store,’ the answer to which is a qualified ‘no.’ We did get some new regular customers out of past FCBDs, but they represented only a small fraction of the new folks who actually came in for free books.

    But that’s okay…we don’t have to turn every new person who walked in the door that day into a New Comics Day zombie. The results of FCBD are more longterm than immediate, anyway…it gets the word out that, hey, comic books are still being published, and that they can be a viable source of entertainment. Okay, mileage may vary with some of the offerings this year, but with the sheer number of books being given away, surely most people found at least one comic they kinda liked. And our already-existing clientele invariably will find something new to try out.

    Plus, it’s great advertising…if some of those folks find themselves with some kind of comic-related need, perhaps they’ll think of that swell comic shop that was giving out the free funnybooks, and they’ll come back to us. And it’s good public relations…we had a lot of happy customers that day, most of whom thanked us profusely for the books we were giving away.

    And it’s the gift that keeps on giving, as I’m preparing packages of some of the leftover books for some local teachers and at least one doctor…and, as always, a big bunch of comics for my girlfriend to give away to the Sunday school class she teaches.

    So, um…to answer your question, perhaps it doesn’t immediately create new regular customers, but FCBD perhaps helps to create an environment from which new customers may arise, by increasing in some small way a general awareness of comics. My, that’s high-falutin’ of me, ain’t it? Not to mention optimistic.”

    The only real update is that I don’t have too many leftovers this time around.

  • Pal Tom notes his troubles trying to get his FCBD funnybooks, and has (as does the aforementioned customer Rob) a newfound appreciation for our store’s kindness and generosity. At least on Free Comic Book Day…the rest of the year, we’re jerks.

    Seriously, though…we certainly have room for improvement at our shop, but I think, at least when it comes to Free Comic Book Day, we manage to get things mostly right. If I could have changed anything this time around, it would have been having more of this year’s selections to give away. But we managed to make a lot of people happy, so it all worked out in the end.

I’m sure I’m missing something…if I come up with anything else once the traumatic amnesia passes, I’ll let you folks know.

However, if you have your own comments and questions about FCBD, please feel free to leave them in the comments, and I’ll reply with a rambling, barely-informative post in the near future.

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