Most comic book owners will need the following equipment to get started:
Picking the right comic books to stock up is arguably the most important buying decision you’ll make when starting a comic book store. We outline the key considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when making this purchase and provide some popular options.
Considerations for Your Inventory
Differentiate Your Inventory from Your Competitors
Is there a bookstore in your area, or another comic store around? How can you build your inventory so that you stay competitive? If another local book store carries a lot of graphic novels, perhaps it is wise to avoid overstocking on that particular type of inventory. It may also be wise to communicate with another comic store competitor to avoid stocking up on the same inventory.
Make Use of Your Personal Collection
Most comic store owners are comic book lovers and have their own personal collection that they can use as inventory to start off with; this is a particular good strategy to attract comic book collectors.
Know Your Customers’ Tastes
Everyone has their own taste for comics and stories, but rather than buying inventory on personal taste, it’s important to get to know the preferences of your customers and get what they’re looking for; avoiding piling of inventory is key. Always talk to your customers to see what they like.
Stay Up to Date with Latest Releases
Previews subscription is a must for all comic shop owners; this is a monthly catalog that showcases upcoming comic books, graphic novels, toys, and other pop-culture merchandise available at comic book specialty shops. The publication is available to both comic shop retailers and consumers.
Most comic book store owners obtain their inventory through distributors. Distributors work directly with publishers, acting as a sort of middleman between your store and the publishers. There are distributors for big publishing companies, as well as distributors that work with indie artists on smaller scale projects.
The go-to distributor for American comic books is Diamond; this distributor has exclusive contracts with most major U.S. comic book publishers, including Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Marvel Comics, and more. Diamond dominates the comic book distributor industry. They also carry variety of merchandise of pop culture such as toys, games and apparel. They are every comic book owner's number one provider of products. Retailers get a 40% discount from usual sales price.
The place to go to find small indie creators who may be self publishing, Comixpress is an agglomeration of short-run print on-demand comics and trade paperbacks. There is no minimum order or long wait time. It is also a good way to pick out some indie works to introduce to customers as well as add variety to your store.
If you’re thinking about including Japanese forms of comic books in your inventory, Simon & Schuster is the official domestic distributor for Viz Media. Viz Media is the leading publisher for the biggest names in Japanese comics and merchandise.