Free Comic Book Day is awesome because it’s another reason/excuse for me to head down to my local comic book store, Legacy Comics and Cards in Glendale California. In all honesty though, I love comic books and I love Legacy, I don’t really need an excuse to go. I’ve been visiting the store weekly and sometimes more often than that since before I decided to try my hand in the comic book industry. I’ve forged friendships through the store with past and present employees, other regular patrons and fellow comic book industry folk. A good comic book store is better than a local dive bar – well, at least healthier.
So, when I got to Legacy this morning – way too early for a Saturday – and found a line already forming around the corner, I was happy for the store. They were going to do some business today. I gave my secret knock at the not-so-hidden back/side door and was let in so that I could take some pictures of the wonderful stacks and stacks of books. Since I’m one part publisher/creator and not just a reader/fan, I got thinking about the cost of all of this printing – it’s not just free.
As my parents used to say, “Nothing’s free.” I talked to the guys at Legacy and did some research. Apparently, retailers – the comic book stores – pay about 12-50 cents for each book they give away. Check your stacks of back issues and you’ll see that this is about the same as the cover price for comic books back when I first started reading them. Point being, the books you receive free of charge from your local comic book stores on Free Comic Book Day, they are paid advertising for the stores.
I am by no means diminishing the value of Free Comic Book Day. Like I said, it was a great reason to go to Legacy today. But please keep in mind that stores are providing these books to you at a cost as a way of getting you to remember them, to come back to them and visit. So, when you visit your comic book store today, think about the price of those books and the lengths they’re willing to go in order to bring you in. And later in the year, when you’re thinking about ordering a comic book online, swing by your local comic book store instead. Who knows, you might make some friends.