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Where do you buy your comics?

David Welsh had an interesting post up at his blog (in response to our very own Danielle Leigh’s latest column) where he examines how he purchases his comics, and what he purchases from each place (Comic Shop/Bookstore/Online), and I was wondering how everyone else’s purchasing habits were – what percentage of your comics do you get from the three groups (Comic Shop/Bookstore/Online), and is there a fourth option (Supermarket, I guess?)?

65 Comments

I buy 100% of my new issues from my local shop. Should I accidentally miss an issue or jump into a series a bit late, I’ll pick up the back issues there too. For serious back-issue needs, I go straight to eBay. It’s just neither economically feasable nor responsible to get large runs at $3-$5 each when they can be had for $0.50-$1 each. I seldomly get GNs or trades, so that’s kinda hit & miss. I picked up the first 6 Exiles trades on eBay, but the remainder have been bought at my shop. Same thing on Essential trades. Unless I’m getting more than one, eBay isn’t any cheaper than my shop.

mailordercomics.com. Best customer service, best packing practices (important if you want your comics and graphic novels to look nice!), best prices. What more could you want?

I supplement this with Amazon Prime and eBay, but MOC is always my first option.

Up until about three years ago, I purchased 95% of my comics at my local comic shop. Then the store moved to a less convenient spot, the manager I liked moved on, and a relationship change brought me a new budget to live under.

Now I purchase 95% of my comics from Amazon and the other 5% are impulse buys from Borders. And it’s been three years since I bought a floppy.

I guess implicitly we’re talking about “new” comics. I buy just about all my back issues online (which, these days, isn’t many or often, and usually is all about finding cheap old crap for “repurposing” as recaptioned parody comics.) (Follow the link!)

For new stuff, it’s pretty simple – I buy just about everything at my Friendly Local Comic Shop. Brick-and-Mortar bookstores: pretty much zero, aside from once-in-a-blue-moon (like, once every 3-4 *years*) discoveries on the Bargain Books shelves. My FLCS carries damn near everything, and will happily order whatever they don’t happen to, so I don’t get a lot online. I do sometimes pre-order the smattering of “very expensive” stuff I buy from Amazon (most recently, the DC Absolute New Frontier collection), but I try not to, as those big-ticket purchases help my FLCS and I’m usually happy to do that even if it means spending a couple more bucks. Oh, and I bought a few big comic strip collections from Amazon (Peanuts and Popeye) after being pointed to them being on sale for over 50% off once.

90% of new stuff comes from DCBS, with the other 10% from my LCS: Comicopia in Boston, MA.

Back issues usually come from shows or other various shops (80%) and ebay or other sites (20%).

My current single issues usually come from one of two local shops (Bizarro Wuxtry and Classic City Comics in Athens, GA), and my back issues are usually from one of them (~25%), ebay (~25%), or Newkadia.com (~50%).

Most of what I buy is collected editions, usually used from Amazon (~75%) or new from DCBS/InStockTrades (~25%). I’ll buy one (but just one) from Borders occasionally if they send a 30-40% off coupon in my e-mail. That brings them down to “normal” prices online.

I usually order mini-comics and small press stuff online from the creator or publisher.

I would say 99% of new comics I get from Graham Crackers Comics in downtown Chicago.

I haven’t been buying very many back issues in the past couple of years, mostly for space concerns. But when I do, I ususally go on Ebay.

For new books, I use either of my LCS’s in Fargo, ND (Paradox Comics and Comix Junction), but I visit a bunch of other places (I list most of them here: http://www.mycomicpile.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1009).

I try to visit as many of them as possible for back issues too, but once I’ve exhausted them, I’m split pretty evenly between eBay and conventions.

That said, I haven’t bought a new book in 4 weeks. I had planned on trying out Midtown online in a week or three, but I’m going to be in the Twin Cities in time for the Twin Cities Comicon, so I’ll probably hold off and go there.

I buy singles at Cosmic Comics, 23 and Madison baby! I buy trades from amazon.

The vast majority of my new comics still get bought from what was my Local Comic Shop when I lived in London (They Walk Among Us in Richmond) because we go up to see my Mum regularly and I can pop in and pick things up.

I’ve bought stuff from the LCS in Swindon (where I now live) …. maybe 3 or 4 times. Several steps up to the door = Not great disabled/parent with pushchair access.

Back Issues: If I can organise a trip up to London it’s Orbital Comics or Mighty World of Comicana. Otherwise eBay.

Trades: Amazon nearly every time. Discount and free delivery. Occasionally Play. eBay if I spot a bargain (5 Essential Amazing Spidermen for £22 !)

50% from my LCS
50% from various online retailers

I live in a town of 7000 people an hour’s drive away from the nearest Comic shop. So when I specifically want something, I have to get in online. Since buying single issues is too costly and slow, waiting for the TPB.

And for the huge cross-overs? I download the Torrent. If it’s a good story, I’ll then go out and buy the TPB of the main book. If it’s DC’s 52, I’ll thank god that I didn’t actually spend any money to read it.

I do almost all of my shopping at Midtown Comics in Manhattan. Occasionally I’ll drop my Jim Hanley’s Universe.

I get the majority of my comics from my local shop, where I have a pull list, and I pay in advance to take advantage of a very nice discount they offer.

I am also fortunate to be able to visit one of the other two comic shops that are within 3 blocks of my “home shop”, should I be looking for back issues or trades that my place may not have in stock.

I rarely buy comics online, if for no other reason than I want my merchandise in hand right away.

I do all my comic buying at comic stores, but I buy from two stores, which is the odd thing.

I have a pull list at a small local shop in Queens… but they don’t carry a lot of the non Marvel and DC books, and I don’t pre-order like I used to, so I have to buy a lot of my other publisher stuff from Midtown. To be honest, I really like Midtown a lot, and I consider switching to them completely, except the local shop is a little more convenient.

I buy 100% of my new singles from my LCS (Zanadu Comics in Seattle), then about half of my tpbs/graphic novels from them, some tpbs/graphic novels from traditional bookstores/online, and close to 100% of my hardcovers online.

As owner of a very small brick-and-mortar comic book store, I’m gratified to see that more people than not on this comment thread pick up their comics at their local comic shop or at least support it in some way. If you follow the link to the whole story and look at the comments there, very few of those commentors support a local comic book store.

Wednesdays, when the new books come in and the regular Wednesday crowd comes in, just can’t be beat. It’s exciting, it’s fun, there are a million different conversations running, and there’s a sense of camaraderie and community there that you certainly won’t get from an online ordering service and you’re not likely to find at a B&N or a Borders. I can’t imagine getting my comics any other way – thankfully, my customers feel the same.

To all of you who support a brick-and-mortar store, THANK YOU. Yes, you can probably get a little bit better deal by ordering online, but your support of your local stores is much appreciated.

I’m very pro-LCS, but it has become inconvenient enough to get there that I was going to try an online store.

The discounts are actually better at the locals, I can get the books the day they come out, I can see the condition of my books before I pay them, and there’s usually good conversation to be had, which I have to come here for otherwise.

Right up until the guys behind the counter decided to make fun of my choices, I would have said my local comics shop – nowadays it’s purely online, unless there’s a particular hardcover I see in the window and just. can’t. resist.

I get almost all of my singles from one place (Comic Cave),
most of my trades/HCs from either Comic Factory or Comics America, and serious back-issues from e-bay (if possible).

I’m about to give heavyink.com a try, since at the very least they have a really cool website with custom RSS feeds and stuff. Hopefully the shipping practices are equally cool, but I haven’t actually picked anything up yet.

I work part time at a Barnes and Noble, so because of the employee discount I buy about 1/3 of my new comics there, and the other 2/3 (the Barnes and Noble selection is pretty small and inconsistent) at my LCS, Minds Eye Comics in Eagan MN.

At this point, I usually only buy back issues twice a year, at the two local cons.

Trades and GNs I buy almost exclusively at Barnes and Noble (unless one of the LCS in the area is having a sale or I find something cheap at a con), because of that discount, and the ability to order in anything in print, more or less.

Plus, the store I work at is one of the six in the country that has a used book department, and in addition to whatever customers sell to us, we get semi-frequent drop shipments of trades and GNs at half price, to which I then get to apply my discount.

I’m all about a bargain; I haven’t paid full price for a trade or GN in 10+ years.

I get 99% of my comics via an online sub service; the remaining 1% of stuff are generally impulse buys, or me filling in gaps in my collection, at an LCS.

The stats used to be reversed, with me faithfully shopping at the LCS’ here, and supplemental stuff would be ordered online, but sadly the service at the few LCS’ here were poor enough for me to finally decide to put my money where my mouth is and shop elsewhere. Sad, because I’m all for supporting local business, but repeatedly my special orders wouldn’t get ordered, my pull list items wouldn’t get pulled, I would be treated rudely by staff, etc. And that doesn’t include the treatment my wife would receive at these places. I’m a pretty patient and easy going guy who doesn’t ask for a whole lot, really, but enough was enough.
-r-

I would say most of my shopping is done at my LCS (The Time Machine on 14th st. in NY, plug, plug). And those are typically floppies from my pull list or impulses.

Any larger purchases (tpb’s and the like – which don’t happen as often) I usually order from eBay (older ones) or Amazon (or new releases).

When I bought ‘floppies’ it was 100 percent through local stores. But a few years ago I decided to go trade only, and none of the local stores were willing to give me a discount on pre-ordered trades as their discount system was set up for number of titles ordered and since I was only getting say, 10 a month, I’d only get a 5% discount… Less than local sales tax.

So now I order from DCBS which arrives once a month, usually just after I’ve finished reading the previous months’ trades.

I still go to my LCS for other reasons and pick up the odd impulse buy here and there, but that’s about it as far as comics go.

I get all new issues from my LCS (Richard’s Comics in Greenville, SC) and trades from Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million 50% of the time and Richard’s or Borderlands (another LCS) the other 50%. I usually get back issues from Mile High Comics online or Mycomicshop.com.

A rotating cast of local shops. I have a pull list at the one closest to my house. Hard to find back issues and other peculiarities lead me to better stocked (but less convenient) shops on the other side of town.

I buy all my new books at a shop around the corner. I don’t really buy back issues anymore since I sold my collection. I may also buy some trades their, but not often since they don’t really offer a discount.

I try to buy trades either on Amazon or some other cheap sites around the web.

I rarely buy books at a bookstore, unless I have a giftcard.

I may also buy a missed issue or some trades at a comic show once or twice a year, if the price is right.

I’m all about price at this point.

I buy new comics only online at this point and trades from the same store or amazon, depending. Sometimes, if I mis a book I’ll stop by a store and pick it up since it’s cheaper than ordering one book online.

I get all of my comics from DCBS.com (Discount Comic Book Service). Nothing but praise for them. On occasion, I’ll get a trade or HC from Amazon, Overstock, or Ebay.

I buy nuttin’ from nowhere. I get recommendations from the web and get stuff out of the library which thankfully gets in a lot of the cool stuff. Although, my local library system had NONE of Burgas’ last GN recommendations and NONE of Danielle’s recommendations this week. BOOOO! But I can’t really complain since the stuff I get to read is free and I no longer have to amass a personal collection :)

I’m with Da Fug on this one. With four kids, my comics purchase is tied into what my son may or may not be reading at the time. Not enough for both of us. So we supplement with GNs from our local library. It doesn’t have much, but they do buy a new one once in a while to keep us coming back.

I get monthlies from my LCS, Orbital in London.

I get most GNs from Amazon.

I get back issues from Orbital or eBay.

95% of my new comics I get from ComicsNow.com. The rest I get by browsing the nearest comic shop. I get most all of my back issues off the net.

Oh, yeah. I forgot about the library. I supplement my purchases with library borrows. Unfortunately, my local library, while having some good books, doesn’t doesn’t have many books. So once I go through what they have, I have to wait a while before they get more.

I guess implicitly we’re talking about “new” comics. I buy just about all my back issues online (which, these days, isn’t many or often, and usually is all about finding cheap old crap for “repurposing” as recaptioned parody comics.) (Follow the link!)

No, I was honestly curious as to all your comic purchases.

I buy everything in trades, usually from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The sole exception is the Marvel Two-In-One floppies, which I buy either at the grocery store or at the bookstore. There is a new used bookshop nearby which always has interesting trades available for a great price.

I buy 97% of my comics (and 100% of my weekly “pamphlets”) from my local comic book store. DJ Universal’s Comics in Studio City, CA. He gives 30% off of new comics for any customer that walks through the door. And I get anywhere from 15-30 books a week, so it adds up.

I use AMAZON (prime membership) for all the other purchases. USUALLY large items, like Absolute editions and the like. But often for other trades that my guy doesn’t stock. And although my guy does give a healthy discount on trades as well, with Amazon’s discount, and the free shipping its hard to compete. (And I do struggle with this, as my guy deserves all the support he can get, but I’m human, and my money can only go so far, and some decisions need to be made.)

JR

(Oh, and I do get back issues form time to time, and mycomicshop.com has been the go to site other than ebay for the last two purchases over the last year or so.)

70% from my favorite, previously-local comic shop on Long Island, NY, Grasshopper’s Comics. Even though I live in Los Angeles now, I do a monthly order through them just because they’re that awesome.

10% impulse buys at local comic shops. Typically an interesting-looking or well-reviewed non-Marvel/DC book that I just stumbled upon.

20% my local library. They have an amazing graphic novel/trade collection. I just read Exit Wounds last week and I’m reading Lost at Sea now.

What I said over in David Welsh’s blog:

*Before* I worked at a comic book store, I tended to divide my purchases between a local chain bookstore, an independent local bookstore and my local comic bookstore (resorting to on-line for manga over the 10 dollar price point to get a very nice discount via Amazon.com).

The local chain bookstore — superpopular Viz, Tokyopop, Del Rey titles.
The local independent bookstore — mature titles (any yaoi title I read) or say Parasyte, Mushishi, Kurosagi, etc.
The local comic book stores — titles that I want on shipment day!!! Like right now!!! (i.e. Fruits Baskets, After School Nightmare, Eden). And, of course, my floppies.
Amazon — With the Light, etc.

But now I work for credit at the LCBS so I pre-order everything from there. And occasionally allow myself an impulse purchase at the ind. bookstore or the chain bookstore. It is almost as if I am trying to discover how many local businesses I can support with my love of manga…

Probably 95% of my comics come from one of two excellent local shops. Every now and then I’ll go to Amazon for a trade or hardcover. On the rare occasions I’m looking for back issues, eBay is usually my first choice.

I buy most of my comics at a ship near my job but on occasion I make a jaunt across town to one or two shops with bigger graphic novel selections or if I can’t find a specific title in the back ish bin at my LCS. I used to read/buy the trades from bookstores and I do if I have a coupon but on the whole I support the local biz.

Amazon.com.

I don’t know how anyone can tolerate a comic book shop… at least in my experience. A sample of five cigar stores will get me 4 or 5 good stores. Samples of 5 comic book stores will get me 5… maybe 4 hostile, cruddy holes.

80% Comic shops, although I tend to go out of my way to find new ones. 15% used book stores. 5 % internet.

I help out in a hobby shop with a comics section, and get almost all my stuff there.

It’s not really a job, in that I’m not really being paid .. money. I get store credit at a dollar amount per hour spent “on the clock”. Which I then use to “pay for” all things comics related, at a slight discount. SO I add around $2K cover price in stuff per year just for standing around and looking pretty a few hours, 1-3 days a week. About half the time I’m there I’m actually working, helping people, tho often with radio-control parts and services, not comics. The other half of the time I’m pretty much free to do whatever, so I often read comics, which often feeds what collected books I eventually buy. Plus I borrow from the library a lot for stuff I don’t have a pressing desire to own.

(I do sometimes actually pay for things, when I don’t have enough credit to cover a week’s delivery or it’s really expensive, like those Absolute books.)

Unfortuneately most of the comics clientele the shop has isn’t very talkative. Of our small “subscriber” base, the big spenders are get in/get out types, and there’s never more than a couple people there at a time (very rural area), comics or otherwise.

Sometimes I buy from Amazon or the Waldenbooks in the mall. (I bought my first comics at Waldenbooks way back in 1984. Okay, my mom bought them, but still.) Sometimes I go to a real comics shop and get my fingers dirty.

New comics: LCS
Back issues: LCS first, then ebay/Amazon

Believe it or not, I’ve been planning at “where I get my back issues” post comparing 1988, 1998, and 2008. I guess I should get on that.

Er, on those back issues, I meant to say eBay for singles, Amazon for trades.

I get all my weekly comics at either All About Books And Comics or Hero Comics here in phx. I used to only go to Atomic but they’ve annoyed me one to many times. I rarely buy trades any more but when i want to read one, Fables for ex., ill rent it from the local library. Of course i have to search their trades online and put them on hold cuz they’re kept in the teen section, which being an adult i dont agree with.

I get my weekly books from Graham Crakers Comics (the Wheaton branch) along with most of the new trades, and then get mostly manga and impulse trades from Borders. Every once in a while I’ll order off Amazon, especially if it’s a weird book that I forgot to order, or something older and harder to find, but I’ve been hunting down more things off eBay of late.

All of my single issue buying takes place at my LCS. TPB’s, manga and what not is split 50/50 between my LCS and the local Borders.

I buy nearly all of my new singles at a comic shop, except if I see something I missed at a convenience store or something (doesn’t happen often, but periodically). I probably buy 40% of my trades/graphic novels at comic shops, 40% at bookstores and 20% online from Amazon.ca or Chapters. I buy most of my back issues online, usually through Mile High Comics.

[...] I’ve had parts of this in draft form for at least 2 years. Last night, while brushing my teeth, I decided to pick it up with a new approach. This morning, I jotted down a couple of notes. And earlier this evening I saw Comic Should Be Good’s post, Where do you buy your comics?—and realized the time had come to actually finish the darn thing. [...]

I buy ALL my new books at my beloved local comic book shop. I bake cookies for Matt, and he saves me the good covers, and a good time is had by all. He also has a pretty good back issue collection.

If he doesn’t have something that I’m looking for, I usually just order it on-line, and then have the fun of waiting for the UPS man.

All my purchases of new regular comics are from my local comics shop, either pre-ordered and prepaid or picked up from the shelf when they come out. The bulk of my back issue buying is from there as well, but that’s partially because most of it is from the 50 cent boxes. I have occasionally bought back issues on eBay, but that’s rare (the most notable occasion being when I I found all but one of the LSH issues I needed to complete my run of the ’90s series in the 50 cent boxes, and didn’t want to sit around one issue away from a set).

Graphic novels I get at the comics store, Borders, or occasionally Amazon (plus used bookstores or the library book sale, but that’s not something I count on). I’ve also acquired some from online book trading (mostly replacing monthlies I already own).

Manga I almost invariably get at Borders, or rarely from B&N, Waldenbooks, or online. My comics shop doesn’t really carry manga; I used to get some through pre-order, but that stopped when my monthly purchases of both comics and manga grew large enough to make that impractical.

[...] Oh, and lots of people are weighing in on where they shop over at Comics Should Be Good, so go take a look. [...]

I’ll get trades from Amazon if I want them right away (or really soon, anyway), and back issues of more than a year old from online services (my LCS is superb, but it’s a very small store, so strictly due to space issues, their back issue stock doesn’t go back very far).

But I really like to support my local shop (Infinite Monkey Comics and Games, in Oberlin, OH) as much as I can. I buy all my new issues and whatever trades I can, from the shop, whose owners are, hands-down, the nicest comic shop owners/employees I’ve met in my 20-odd years of on-again, off-again reading and collecting. They have a nice variety of issues, are great with pull lists, and are wonderful about getting in things I’ve heard or read about online that they might not otherwise carry. And as Josh Olive noted above, the sense of conversation and community– of talking about new issues, making recommendations to each other, laughing about the absurdities of Civil War or whatever–is what makes it fun. Ever since I was a kid, the comics shop was kind of a magical space: I was eleven when I first walked into the LCS in my hometown, and the sight of all those new issues, and boxes of back issues, posters on the wall and so on, really made comics buying a fun ritual. After an intense collecting period in my youth, I stopped reading comics for about a decade, then picked up the habit again in grad school. The shop in that town was ok, but my current LCS is really great, and stopping by on my way home from work on Wednesdays is a wonderful way to beat the winter cold.

Basically all new comics from my LCS. However, I’m a Hulk guy – when WWH was going on I got Hulk & the WWH mini from my LCS, went to dcbservice for the other tie-ins (along with some other comics I probably wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t been ordering online, from a price standpoint). Kinda ticked off though – now that I’m not ordering any more from dcbs, they’re hanging on to my final shipment until the last 2 books I’ve ordered either come out or are cancelled, and one is probably cancelled in all but name: I’ve emailed Dark Horse twice, both times they say it’s suspended due to low preorders; but it’s not on their website any more, so how can they get any more preorders if no one knows it’s available? It’s not on Amazon either. And if/when they’re cancelled, I get “store credit” even though they haven’t charged me yet!

New Comics, ie single issues, I get from my local comic book store. The reason being that every book in my pull-list is in danger of getting the axe! They are too expensive for me to buy on “my expectations or blind faith that they’ll be good”. The way the market, the publishers and the writers are behaving today; I would never order anything 3 months in advance or buy without examining the merchandise first (I mean, I’ve see runs of issues that look like they got jammed in the printing presses, or somebody spilled the ink… and nobody cares! There’s no quality control!!!)

Trade-paperbacks I buy online. Amazon, Deepdiscount, Milehigh Comics, E-bay, etc. It’s insane. Sometimes you can get 40-50% off and pay pennies on the dollar for issues that cost $2.99. Plus, you already know that the stories are good and you’ll like them.

Backissues, I get from E-bay, Milehigh comics (when there’s a sale) and from my business & family trips. Trust me, scavenging the one-dollar bins is a great way to kill a weekend when you are stuck in Jackson, Mississippi or Tallahassee, Florida for an extended period of time.

[...] Over at Comics Should Be Good, commenters are discussing where they buy their comics. (My answer: Amazon and occasionally Borders, as my otherwise excellent local comics shop never seems to have the most recent volumes of manga series I read in a timely manner. In the end, though, I mostly obtain my reading material via the library where I work and interlibrary loan.) [...]

Ginger Yellow

March 3, 2008 at 9:43 am

I tend to go to my LCS, Mega City Comics in north London, for new comics every week or two. Anything I can’t find there I pick up at Forbidden Planet, which has a big branch near my work. Trades I get from Amazon, from the two aforementioned shops, or bookstores.

Fnord Serious

March 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I order new trades and indie monthlies from DCBS and pick up a handfull of Marvel floppies (plus random impulse buys)at either Zanadu or Arcane Comics in Seattle, depending on which one I happen to be closer to on Wednesday. If I wasn’t such a message board nerd, I’d get the Marvel monthlies from DCBS as well. Even though Seattle has quite a few well-stocked comic shops, none are particularly convenient for me to get to. I stop by Half-Price Books fairly regularly to browse the used trades & manga and dig through the quarter bins. Money-wise, it usually breaks down to about 50% DCBS, 30% LCS, 20% Half-Price Books. I also go to 3 cons a year (Emerald City Comicon and the biannual Seattle ComiCard Convention) and drop about $50 at each on backissues and discount trades.

95% eBay
4.5% Amazon
0.5% (ie – The Flash, the only monthly I buy) Local Comic Shop.

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