Save Our Comic Book Stores

Fresh Comics

Photo from Flickr user Sam Howzit

San Diego Comic Con has come and gone. There’s a bunch of things that I want to talk about. One of the biggest things to come of out of this has to do with how your local comic book shop is run. Diamond–the company that pretty much gets all the comic books you read into your hands–is attempting to modernize the business model.

In a media landscape where digital content has trumped its physical counterpart, printed comics has seen an increase in sales in the last year. Diamond wants to subsidize modern point of sales terminals (in plain words, those fancy computer registers) for comic shops.

This is quite a big deal; Bleeding Cool goes as far as calling it the biggest thing to be announced at Comic Con. So what does that mean?

Retailers will be able to have a current POS terminal, allowing them to monitor inventory, upcoming orders and reorders, and customer management. They can run all kinds of fancy reports and such, helping them have a better grasp on their business. It will also help them with reorders, whether it be they sell out of something and need additional orders, or if they are helping a customer with a back order (which is better than saying they don’t have it and losing the sale to an online competitor like Amazon).

The only negative I see to this is how the subsidized purchase works. Comics Beat explains it a little further:

Diamond Comic Distributors announced today that it is working with eight of the comic book specialty market’s leading suppliers to offer up to $6250 in free backlist merchandise to qualified retailers who purchase Diamond’s Point-of-Sale system…As an award-winning certified Microsoft service provider, Diamond has sold and supported the company’s Retail Management System™ (RMS) point of sale software since 2008. In addition, Diamond’s ComicSuite™ add-on software allows RMS to seamlessly interact with Diamond’s operating systems. BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, Diamond Select Toys, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics have all agreed to make a selection of in-stock graphic novels and merchandise available for free to participating retailers. Subsidies are available at the $6250 level for retailers purchasing a full software and hardware package, or $3250 for retailers purchasing just software. Please visit Diamond’s Retailer Services Website for complete details.

So what does that mean?

Well it’s not a straight up subsidy where the retailer is getting the register for free. The retailer has to purchase the POS from Diamond, and they then get a credit to get merchandise for free, which the publishers have donated for the program. For the retailers sake I hope the titles available are something they can sell like Walking Dead as opposed to Essential Dazzler Volume 2. Diamond is assuming that they can get retailers on board with this. If the retailer can sell all of the “subsidy” products, they can turn a profit on the deal. Any money they make after they pay off the POS upgrade is pure profit.

I’m interested in how this turns out. I’m very curious to how this will play out. What do you think?

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