How to support your favorite comic book(s)

At The Source Comics and Games with my current comics.

At The Source Comics and Games with my current comics.

I was just asked on Twitter how someone could buy Young Justice in a way that was sure to benefit me. Here’s the basics:

Any sales of a comic through a local comics shop or in digital form through an official outlet will help earn royalties for the creative team. But regarding comic book shops, it gets a little tricky.

As far as the publisher is concerned, the sale of a comic is made when the comic book shop orders the book from the distributor. Whether the comic is then purchased, taken home and read, or sits indefinitely in the shop’s inventory matters to the shop, but not to the publisher.

Additionally, some shops are better than others about displaying and effectively promoting anything designated as an all-ages title. Often these books are off in their own section and not displayed with the rest of the “mainstream” titles, and aren’t ordered by the shop in the same quantities. This creates another problem. If a shop only orders 2 or 3 copies of a book, even when those copies sell out it doesn’t create much of an impression to convince that shop into ordering more of that title and promoting the book to its customers. So if you like Young Justice, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, or any other comic, here’s what you do:

Don’t just find the comic at your shop and buy a copy. Establish a “pull list” at that shop and put the titles you care about picking up every month on that list (most shops have a system like this). That does much more to let the shop know there is demand for a book than just buying the comic would. And usually a shop will purchase copies of books to fill their pull list orders in addition to the quantities they intend to display on their shelves, so you just increased the sales of that book by one. If everyone did that, it would add up very quickly! So by all means, talk to the staff at your local shop about the comic, post reviews on line, tell friends about the comic. But in the end, it’s when that enthusiasm translates into additional SALES that your efforts will mean something to comic shops in determining what books they display and promote and to publishers, which in turn plays a part in determining which books continue and which don’t.

4 Comments

  • By Eddy, November 20, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    Sadly, my local store doesn’t have YJ, and I on’t even bother asking the owner to order it – I don’t come there any more, it’s a mess. But in Europe, “head to the closest other shop” means a two hour journey. Sadly, they only have 2-3 issues and they sell out quickly. I don’t come there often enough to think of a pull list. I mainly scour backissues whenever I’m there.

    I’m relegated to buying Comixology. Which is handy, because I upload a lot of images to wikis ;) But because I’m a sucker for paper (and Young Justice), I also order the trade paperbacks (still waiting on number 2…). Do I get you double royalties that way?

  • By Christopher Jones, November 20, 2012 @ 2:32 am

    One of the reasons that digital distribution is so exciting is that creates an alternative for those who don’t have a well-run, welcoming comic book store located conveniently near them.

    And yes, sales of the individual monthly comics on paper or in digital form, as well as trade paperback collections or any other reprintings of the stories count towards royalties eventually paid the creative team.

  • By tydavis, April 10, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    The Source in the background!

  • By Alice A, April 11, 2013 @ 8:13 am

    I’m in LOVE with the Comixology app for the iPad!! It’s my baby, I’m slowly collecting all of the recent Flash comics. I did buy a few YJ and I quite liked them but my money’s on getting up to date with the latest Flash.

    I really appreciate DC making this app because I’m from Australia and comics here cost more ($5-7 each!!) and it’s hard to find up-to-date titles in store. I only know of one shop in Sydney that is always up-to-date and that’s in the city, which means I cbf spending 50 mins on the train and then shelling out a ridiculous amount of money for a few comics.

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