If you made it to Bill's BC Closure party last Saturday you would have heard some interesting and engaging conversation on the topic of where to buy comics now.
Dan mentioned going to Showcase Comics (I think I got the name right) in Bryn Mawr. The shop inside Granite Run Mall was also mentioned. (I've been there in the past and I just can't remember the name). Several in our group have been to "West Chester Comics" (I know that's not right either, but you know which place I'm talking about) but the owner seemed indifferent and lazy (by 3:30 p.m. he still didn't have the Wednesday new books out on the shelves and wasn't in any hurry to do so). And Aaron found a place with no personality, that seemed in a hurry to have him pay for his books and leave asap. Some of us are going online to buy from Amazon, etc. and concentrating on just purchasing trade editions now instead of single issues. There was even some discussion about Gary's proposal to create a buying group, obtain a ship to / drop off site, and set up an account with Diamond distribution.
I'm now getting my new books through
CAPTAIN BLUE HEN COMICS in Newark
(280 E. Main Street, Newark DE 19711
phone 302-737-3434). You become a
member for $10 and they order and hold
books for you. The owner and employees
seem knowledgable and are friendly and make the extra effort to learn about you and what books/titles you are interested in. They keep extensive computer records, and seem to have their inventory as well as Diamond's in their database. They have a good-sized store with plenty of shelf space for a wide variety of new titles, plenty of back issue bins and clearance ($1.00 books) bins, as well as bookshelves all over with the biggest assortment of trade editions that I think I've ever seen. Their store is only about 17 miles from my home in Oxford, PA so they are actually closer than BC was (I used BC because my work finds me in the West Chester area often and I really liked the employees and service there).
Some of our shared information on Saturday was related to how much of a discount was being offered. The Granite Run Mall store was list price, Showcase offered a discount (correct me if I'm wrong about this, Dan), the slacker in West Chester could be talked into 15% off, and Bill and some others were buying the annual premium membership at Amazon.com ($70-$80 I think it was) and then getting 30-35% off on trade paperbacks and hardcovers. Captain Blue Hen hasn't offered any discount, and I haven't asked for one. (I don't think that they discount). Personally, I have mixed feelings about that - - it's not the number one priority for me, but I do realize it may be the most important service for others.
I personally admire anyone who is trying to make a go on their own in the comics store business and I'm willing to support them, especially when they seem to care about their customers as well as have a keen interest in this industry and this hobby. And that's the impression I've received at Captain Blue Hen. They really care. If I was a hardcore collector with a serious monthly expense in comics I would probably have to find someplace that offered a discount. But I'm not. In fact, what I've found is that the more comics I read the less I enjoy them. (Hey, I've been reading comics for over 45 years!!! and a lot of stories, especially super hero titles, seem too familar to me.) I can get jaded easily. BC offered me a discount to become a monthly subscriber/use Previews and the net result was it enticed me to take a chance and order more books - - so I just spend the extra money anyway. If I pay list price, I'm going to be more selective, probably read less, and hopefully enjoy what I read more.
Another thing I like about Captain Blue Hen is the way that they are using the upcoming Free Comic Book Day to generate interest and activity. This store has a lot of neat and interesting scheduled activity going on this Saturday, May 2nd and I encourage you to visit if you have the time and don't mind the drive. I'm planning to talk Denise into checking this out with me on Saturday.
There is a presentation on independent publishing by the publisher and an artist from Th3d World Studios, Scooby Doo artist Scott Neely and Tiny Titans artist Franco will be there as well as Buz Hasson and Ken Haeser (Living Corpse from Zenoscope). Spider-Man and Darth Vader aer there. A local charity is selling food, and the Arts Alliance is providing some nearby meeting room for these workshops. Face painting for kids, etc.
You can read more about it and learn about the store at www.captainbluehen.com.