Do you want to share your love for comics to the world? Are you a big comic book nerd looking to build a business? Heads up, owning a comic book store might be the perfect trade for you.
In 2013, the comic book industry reached $870 million in domestic sales. The comic book industry is booming with the help of movie and TV series adaptations. Thanks to this, comic book shops in America continue to grow in number.
With a store of your own, you’re following your passions while running a business. If you want to know how to start opening a comic book store, read on below for our helpful guide. We also included some tips to help you out.
1. Flame On! Who’s Your Target?
Your passion for comic books will not be enough to make your shop successful. No matter how many people you try to convince to buy, if they are not interested enough, they won’t buy. This is why you have to research your target market.
You need to be able to cater to both casual and hardcore comic book fans. How many are near or in the area of your business? Are they affluent or interested enough in your inventory?
Knowing what your customers want gets easier once you’ve launched an online page. Got hardcore collectors interested? You better start looking for some valuable and rare comic book issues.
2. Cowabunga! But What are the Costs?
To open your own comic book store, you need to consider two important initial costs. These are the costs for setting up a physical store and the costs to buy your initial inventory of comic books. Depending on how large either one is, opening a comic book store can cost more than expected.
First, let’s talk about your location. It’s better for your retail space location to be near or in an area of business. If it’s not possible, your space should be in an area where there is decent foot traffic.
Store spaces get more expensive the closer they are to the main business area. When you start out, a small store space should do. It should be big enough to house a couple of display racks, a storage area, and a counter.
When you are opening a comic shop, you need to be able to manage your inventories. You can start small with your inventory but it needs a diverse selection. As you build up your stock, you can add more variety like graphic novels and action figures.
If you already have a decent collection, that’s awesome. We still recommend investing in an inventory for the future. You never know, your might stocks sell out fast.
3. In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night, Marketing Opportunities Come Alight
How do you get customers to your shop? Marketing is the key. Be it online or on your physical shop, you need to be able to showcase your presence.
For small businesses, well-planned marketing works miracles. Put up signs, distribute flyers, or hire cosplayers to hold up signs outside the store. These are some ways to attract potential customers to your store.
To get more attention from families, hold a dress-up pageant or contest for kids. Winners could get books from your inventory as prizes. Both the young ones and their parents will be able to enjoy the event while you get to promote your shop.
Do you love treasure-hunting for the rare issues? Serious comic book collectors will pay high for those but you could get more. Hold an audition if you know there is more than one interested buyer.
If you’ve gained loyal customers, you could give them discounts for every tenth book they buy. This works for online clients too. Put up a mobile or email subscription to keep them updated with new stocks.
Be as creative and unique as you can be with your marketing strategy.
4. How Do I Open a Comic Book Store, Bub?
You’re ready to open a comic shop, but how do you do it?
First things first: make a business plan. Gauge how much you’ll need for initial costs and how long it will take to break even. This is where you develop your initial marketing strategies around your target market.
When you pick a location, make sure it’s accessible to the public like a mall. If you want more information on where to sell comic books in the mall, read more here. If you want to add a shared reading, make sure to choose a quiet location.
Next, register for taxes to be able to open. Form a legal entity. This is a preventive measure so you won’t be liable if someone sues your comic shop.
Set up everything you need with accounting. Open a bank account and arrange business accounting. After that, get all necessary documents like permits and licenses.
Always get business insurance. Depending on your state, you might also need to get workers compensation insurance for your employees. In some states, workers compensation insurance is one of the legal requirements.
Next, you need to define your brand. Who are you and what does your business stand for? One way to do this is to launch an online presence via social media or your own website.
5. By Odin’s Beard, You Must Reach Out
When you open a comic book store, expect a few bumps in the road. It might not turn out to be popular. Or, you aren’t selling enough by the time you need to pay the rent for the store.
Before you find yourself in hot water, look for other retailers who know the business. Ask for advice and tips on running the business. Who knows, you could even become business partners for a more prosperous outcome.
Reach out to your customers, too. Ask them what they like or what they want to see. If you plan to order comic books from your supplier, put out polls on which comics your clients want more.
Comic books and graphic novels have one of the highest growth categories in the trade book marketplace. It’s no surprise more and more people are getting into the industry. Whether you’ve been a long-time fan or a newly-converted one, it’s important to respect each other and be humble.
Start Opening a Comic Book Store Now!
Convinced about opening a comic book store yet?
That’s our guide on how to open a comic book store. We hope you found it informative and useful for your future endeavors.
Once you’re comfortable enough and got the ball rolling, don’t stop there. As Master Splinter says, we choose what holds us back and what moves us forward. We’ve got a guide right here to help you move your store up to the next level!