How do I choose a comic book shop?

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Answered by: Kyle, An Expert in the Comic Books - General Category
Comic book fans are a diverse and usually demanding group. They each have their favorite titles, trades, and toys. Each Wednesday the new issues come out, and everyone has their own process. Most of the time they’re happy as long as they get their books every week, but a lot more goes into choosing your personal comic book shop. When deciding on a comic book shop, location isn’t always the most important factor. Finding a shop that suits your specific needs is the goal. Larger shop have their advantages, but bigger isn’t always better. The smaller locations have their limitations, but they usually make up for them with perks.

The huge comic shops can be amazing if your focus is on selection. They typically have an entire floor loaded wall to wall with back issues, and they have the space for display cases filled with all manner of action figures and toys. They also rarely run out of the new weeklies, which is a godsend for those of us that can’t spend the day searching the city for the latest Green Lantern.

On the other side of the coin, smaller shops can’t compete when it comes to selection, but one-on-one customer service is how they keep their patrons happy. The staff is generally more personable, and they try to form actual relationships with their customers rather than just run the cash register. The larger shops may have that cavernous back issue stockpile, but you’re frequently on your own.

Some people choose to skip the comic shops all together and just rely on the internet. There are direct order sites for any title, and your subscription can last as long as you’d like. These sites remove the hassle of weekly comic shop visits, but there are some drawbacks. The sites are more costly due to shipping, handling, and taxes. Also, your books aren’t shipped until they can be bought on the shelves, so you’re at least a week behind everyone else. If time and money aren’t really an issue, then the internet is the way to go. Your books arrive at your doorstep, and you’ll never miss out on an issue again.

There is one final option for comic book fans. There are web sites where you can simply download your titles to your computer. These sites are good way to get interested in new books. Yes, it’s true that you won’t have a hard copy, and it can occasionally be more trouble than it’s worth, but free is free. You can read any title you want, and then you can decide if you want to start buying it regularly.

There are clearly several options, each with specific ups and downs. No one but you can decide which method is the way to go. The best advice would be to try them all and then make an informed decision. But at any rate, the manner in which we build our collections is irrelevant, because we’re all just looking for a good story.

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