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CE 2009: Overview

Brian Hibbs

Here’s the first in a series of posts detailing Comix Experience’s performance in 2009. I’ll hide these below the jump for people who Just Don’t Care.

Overall, CE was down by 4% for the year. The amount we’re down is almost exactly the amount of business we lost during the nearly 2 month period of construction on Divisadero St., so I don’t feel so bad about that, really — without the construction we appear to have been flat, and in this economy, that seems pretty alright to me.

Overall, “books” accounted for 53% of our sales, while “comics” were 42%. I believe this is the widest spread that we’ve shown yet — still BOTH categories are absolutely critical to my business.

I’m going to go into greater detail in the next two posts, about Books and Comics sales, but I thought it might be fun to look at our Top 20 (ish) items overall by quantity, mixing the two lists, and including everything we sell.

1. Quarter Book – Single
2. Borg – Bag & Board Combo
3. Dollar Book
4. Sale Book
5. Back Issue
6. Quarter Book – 10 for a Buck
7. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #583
8. LOEG III CENTURY #1 1910
9. BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
10. BATMAN AND ROBIN #2
11. BATMAN WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CAPED CRUSADER HC
12. WATCHMEN TP
13. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #21
14. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #22
15. BLACKEST NIGHT #1 (OF 8)
16. BATMAN AND ROBIN #3
17. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #23
18. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #24
19. BATMAN #686 (NOTE PRICE)
20. BATMAN AND ROBIN #4
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #26
Starter Set

Seeing it listed like this, I really wish I could go back in time to Hibbs’89 and tell him to start charging for bags back then — we used to give bags away with every comic sold, and only stopped doing so in the last 5-6 years (I think?)

We also cut the “10 for a buck” option on the quarter books back in… May, I think? — we had actually started to sell QBs “too fast” where I was in dire danger of “running out”

“Sale Book” is stuff put on sale — like the roughly 300 graphic novel titles that we’ve purchased in 2009 that DIDN’T SELL EVEN A SINGLE COPY. “Midlist” “mainstream” GNs are pretty much a joke in 2009 — despite “I’m waiting for the trade”, it’s clear to me that most people actually AREN’T.

The Batman HC is a fluke, because that was the item tied to the Neil Gaiman reading and signing. It did, in fact, sell well, but not nearly what this list would seem to suggest.

Finally, in that 3-way tie for position #20, a “starter set” is a prepackaged set of comics (ie: “20 issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE”) for a cheapish price (typically less than a buck a piece)

Clearly the lesson here seems to be “cheap stuff sells well”, but it really isn’t like it looks — while QBs sold something like 4x the single best-selling new periodical listed here, that’s the sum over 12 entire months. Even that Obama Spider-Man wasn’t really on the shelf for more than about 1/3 of that time; or if we summed together all of the BUFFY comics, they’d easily surpass QBs as a line item.

Even for the Borgs — that’s a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the total number of periodicals we sold.

Don’t ask me what happened with BUFFY #25, I don’t know either.

Still, I’m entertained by looking at things this way.

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