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An Open Letter To Comic Readers

The following letter was shared by Gosh Comics in London, and reappears here with their permission. 

We’d like to take a moment to speak to you all as retailers in this medium that we all so dearly love. We are in unprecedented times, and the struggle ahead of us all has yet to even be fully measured, let alone prepared for. We as retailers are already beginning to feel the pressure of what is happening, and over the course the months and possibly years to come, many of us will be struggling to survive.

We have received many messages of support, and are overwhelmed by the efforts people have made to make purchases with us over the last couple of weeks as things have developed. People have come in to collect when they are able, and have arranged mail orders when they are not. It is all greatly appreciated, and we, as an industry need you. We know that it is difficult for us all right now, with worries around jobs, money and of course most importantly the health of ourselves and our loved ones.

Many have asked us what you can do to help us through this time, and we would like to take the time to suggest the following:

  • Start a standing order if you don’t have one, and add to it if you do. If you’re someone who pulls from the shelf each week, or you like to grab a few things to supplement your order, please let the store know what you would like. The greater degree of certainty with which we can place our orders right now, the greater our chances of making it through this. Use sites which give upcoming release information such as https://www.previewsworld.com/, http://www.comiclist.com/index.php or your local store’s own release information to give us as much advance information as possible about what you would like.

  • Please clear your order at least once a month. In person if you can, or by mail order if you cannot. Cashflow is absolutely crucial to us at this time as bills fall due, and by making a purchase once a month you helps us to meet our obligations to staff, landlords and suppliers. If we go into complete lockdown and stores are unable to fulfill mail orders, please consider buying vouchers or the like to the value you would estimate your comics to be. Again, this will help us massively, not to mention ensure you don’t have a massive backlog when we reopen.

  • Any little extras you can order will help. Stores have an inventory sitting on the shelves that isn’t doing much right now. Any extra orders of a book here or a back issue there in addition to your standing order will help. Do you have a wants list? Send it through!

  • Please signal boost us on social media. Most stores are constantly putting out information, offers, pleas and so on. As much attention as you can bring our way is appreciated.

  • And above all, please be patient with us. Many of us are now operating with reduced staff, reduced hours and reduced access to our stores. We may encounter shipping issues, stock supply issues and more. A little kindness and forbearance will go a long way towards helping us all get through this with our mental and physical health intact. Please bear with us if there are delays in getting product shipped, or irregular product deliveries. Rest assured, we’re doing our absolute best.

We know we’re asking a lot. But we believe in this medium, and we believe in the role of comic shops as an important community hub. Ours is an underappreciated medium, and having a place where we can all be united in our love for this unique, powerful means of storytelling matters. Having a place where we can be exposed to new stories matters. Having a place where we can learn about the history of comics matters. And having a place where we can meet, make friends, escape from the daily grind and even just talk a bit of frivolous nonsense about superheroes matters. Please help us preserve this industry so we can continue to give you that place when this crisis is over.

And of course, all the best to you all. We’re all in this together. Be kind. Be patient. Be helpful. Be considerate.

Best,

Gosh! Comics, London, UK

Big Bang Comics, Dublin, Ireland

Close Encounters, Bedford, Northampton, Peterborough, UK

OK Comics, Leeds, UK

Comix Experience, San Francisco, USA

Impact Comics, Canberra Australia

Tilt Comics, Athens, Greece

Comic City, Canton, W. Bloomfield, Pontiac, (Detroit) Michigan, USA

The Comix Shoppe, Swansea, UK

Generation X Comics & Games, Bedford, Tx, USA

Blue Ox Games, Greenville, NC, USA

Bridge City Comics, Portland, OR, USA

Alternate Reality Comics Las Vegas, NV, USA

Golden Eagle Comics & Games, Reading, PA, USA

Titan Comics, Dallas Texas, USA

Hooked on Comics, Lebanon PA, USA

Comics Conspiracy, Sunnyvale, California, USA

Strange Adventures, Halifax & Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Strange Adventures, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Comic Hero University, Fullerton, CA, USA

Impulse Creations Comics & Collectibles, Tulsa, OK, USA

Arkham Comics & Games, Pearland, TX, USA

Bridge City Comics, Portland, OR, USA

Mighty Moose Comics, Bellevue, Washington, USA

Comic Envy Asheville NC, USA

Cosmic Monkey Comics -Portland Oregon, USA

Time Warp Comics, Boulder, Colorado, USA

JHU Comic Books, NYC, USA

Proud Lion Comics, UK

Automattic Comics & Toys, Corsham, UK

Aw Yeah Comics, Muncie, IN, USA

Cape and Cowl Comics, Oakland, CA, USA

Dr. No's Comics & Games SuperStore, Marietta GA, USA

Galaxy Comics, Saginaw, MI, USA

Big Planet Comics, Bethesda, MD, College Park, MD, Vienna, VA, Washington, DC, USA

Rainbow Comics, Cards and Collectibles and Rainbow Comics, Cards & Collectibles – Lincoln, USA

Zeppelin Comics - Benicia, CA, USA

Big Adventure Comics, Santa Fe, NM, USA

Twilight Comics, Swansea, IL, USA

Casablanca Comics, Portland, Maine, USA

Books with Pictures, Portland Oregon and Books with Pictures Eugene, Eugene OR, USA

Gobsmack Comics, Horsham, UK

Double Midnight Comics Manchester NH, USA

Fat Moose Comics in Whippany, NJ, USA

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6 Responses to An Open Letter To Comic Readers

  1. This means well and is full of good ideas and intent. Just one small caveat. There are thousands more comic books stores than that very short list. The small circle of stores listed thinks too small. TCJ should be publishing link(s) to Comic Book Store Locator Service and allow ALL stores an equal chance at this sort of publicity. To me this comes off as too self centered.

    One idea I do not seem to see is stores offering their own gift cards. Customer fans could order a gift card over the phone or internet which helps any given store who innovates that direction right now. This sort of sales income technique would work for those who pump in the energy to build the customer’s trust it will be redeemable down the road.

  2. Cynthia Rose says:

    Thanks for this; bon courage à tous!

  3. Tucker Stone says:

    These are the stores that signed this particular letter, Robert. You can’t just add names to an open letter–that’s now how they work.

  4. Thomas says:

    Vault’s “buy a gift card from your local comics shop, get a couple of advance PDFs” promotion is a great incentive, in my opinion.
    https://twitter.com/thevaultcomics/status/1242828046823878656

  5. Manqueman says:

    Monthly orders already have been obsoleted in the USA with Diamond stopping deliveries and the publishers significantly reducing or even ceasing publishing. So… shops can be helped how under those circumstances?

  6. mmms says:

    The comic store in town(the good one) is doing curbside service for people who prefer to stay in their cars.
    I buy a new comic book very rarely, but I biked over twice the last 2 weeks, did some digging and bought the new MARVELS comic, a stack of misc $1 comics and several back issue! magazines. Along with some online orders these will get me through April.

    Now that new comics are non existent, and comic store owners have the time, It would be nice to them actually go through their old stock which isn’t even in the store generally to fill customers want/wish lists, and do a back issue sale.

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