Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scalped Vol 7: Rez Blues

Another volume of Scalped hit the bookshelves the other day, and as usual, it's absolutely brilliant.  But I'm not going to praise it's merits yet again.  It's a consistently great book.  Please read it.

Today, I'm going to talk about why comic book shops often fail it's customers.

I order the majority of my books through Discount Comic Book Services.  They offer insane discounts, delivery monthly for a low flat fee, and like Scalped, are consistently awesome.  For a reader such as myself (i.e. knows exactly what I want and can navigate Previews) they are the perfect system.  Others, perhaps not.

Case in point.  I found myself in the local comic shop yesterday.  I go in from time to time.  The owner is a perfectly nice gentlemen, but his business is not comics.  Sure, he owns the store and has tons of product, but he will admit he doesn't read them.  He's in the coin and gold business, and he knows that well.  It's not unusual for books to be under-ordered or not ordered at all.  I went in looking for the newest issue of Fantastic Four.  It came out last week and was the final issue of the current series.  I didn't expect to find a stack of issues, but I figured there would be at least one or two kicking around.  No such luck.  Zero copies on hand.

But I'm not here to complain about that.

A friend of mine, an infrequent reader but big comic fan, happened to be in the store picking up copies of Daredevil:Reborn.  I'm not reading the series, so I asked about it.  We got to talking and soon the topic steered toward Ed Brubaker's fabulous book Incognito, which he had read and loved.  Being the comic shill that I am I asked if he had read Criminal or Scalped.  He hadn't.  I gave the sales pitch and he was quite interested.  And before you ask, no I don't work at this store but perhaps I should.  We scoured the shelves looking for trades of both books, but came up empty handed.  They might have had copies, but the store is arranged in such a manner that even someone who worked in a book store cannot figure out the organization system.  There are trades everywhere, perhaps shelved by a drunken gibbon.

Should we have asked for help?  Perhaps.  Personally if I'm going back and forth looking at the shelves and none of the four! employees happens to ask if I need help, I'm not going to ask.  They don't want my money.  Also, even if we had found a copy, the trades are sleeved like back issues.  I don't want to crack a hermetic seal in order to browse a damn book.  So instead of maybe hooking a reader on books that have at least 13 trades between them (at $14.99 or so a pop) and making nice future sales, they lost out.  I offered to let my friend borrow my copies.  Should he enjoy them, I bet Bull Moose or Amazon will be getting those sales.

I would like to think the shopkeep would have noticed this, or even read this blog, and will fix the error of his ways.  But I'd be dreaming.  I've got the local shop blues.

Back to DCBS I go for next months order.

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