Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Business of Comics

Over the last 16 months, these blog entries---these "Views From FLYING COLORS"--- have covered a lot of territory. I've shared a lot of comics-related news, some musings about music, baseball and life in general.

The last time I checked, I'm reaching about ten thousand unique visitors to this blog and to the FLYING COLORS COMICS' site. That's close to triple the amount of readers of this site before I started blogging. But with all the different topics I've covered, the one I haven't written a lot about is my role as the president of ComicsPRO , the retailer trade organization.

So since I know there are probably a fair number of my fellow comic book retailers reading this, I'd like to put in a pitch for every comic book retailer to join ComicsPRO. The group currently has about 90 retailer members in 30 states. Some have joined because ComicsPRO offers preferential rates on credit card processing, a health insurance plan and a number of other financial benefits.

The primary reason to be a part of ComicsPRO is for the voice it gives ALL storefront comic specialty store owners. For all the yakking we do with the fans who visit our stores every day, comic retailers are somewhat famous for not being joiners. Every retailer goes about doing his/her job in their own particular way, but few retailers take the time to participate in the larger goings-on in the comic book industry.

ComicsPRO has three main objectives:
1) To help reduce the costs that all retailers incur (that's the credit card plan)
2) To nurture and mentor new comics specialty retailers in an effort to grow the whole market
3) To speak with a single unified voice on in important industry topics

Last week, ComicsPRO members from Northern California met at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco to sign up new members and talk about some of the concerns that confront all comics' retailers.

The business of comics' retailing is not easy. For many, unfortunately, it's a lifestyle rather than a living. Very few comic book retailers are wealthy. There aren't comfortable retirements in this business. We do this because we love what we do---we love to share our enthusiasm for the very powerful comics' art-form, we love being on the first wave of pop culture.

There are times, though, when retailers' concerns are not heard in a cohesive way. The comics' market dynamics have changed a lot in recent years. The continuing focus of ComicsPRO is to make sure that specialty retailers are a big part of the plans of publishers and other suppliers. By extension, that means ComicsPRO is advocating for every fan's favorite shop.

ComicsPRO will be meeting in Las Vegas in April to communicate face-to-face with publishers and other suppliers in the first retailer-directed trade show in the comics' biz in many years. If you're one of the many comics' specialty retailers reading this, I hope you get on board by joining ComicsPRO and I hope you'll attend our Las Vegas meeting in April. Joining ComicsPRO is something powerful and positive you can do for your business today.

Peace 'n' Comics!

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