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Starting a Successful Comic Book Business

written by: William Busse•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/19/2011

Whether as a publisher or a retailer, starting a comic book business can be fulfilling and profitable for the comic book enthusiast. This article explores the vital components in starting a comic book business that can result in considerable success and enjoyment.

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    The Business Basics

    A comic book business requires the same meticulous planning that is necessary for any initiative to succeed. Bright Hub resources are plentiful to assist the comic book business owner in developing a business plan, acquiring financing, selecting a legal designation, and applying for appropriate permits and licenses.

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    Becoming a Publisher

    The motivated entrepreneur can start a comic book business as either a publisher or a retailer. Although both can be quite successful and profitable, the requirements for each differ substantially.comic book1 

    A comic book publisher is an entity that actually prints and releases the comic book to the consumer. Although a publisher may assume a variety of roles or functions, the essential responsibility is to edit the artist’s work, provide publicity to the various media outlets and secure a venue through distribution for the comic book to reach retail stores.

    The two essential equipment components for successful comic book publication are a computer and a printer. The computer in particular is necessary for creating press releases, editing work in a digital format, email and building a website.

    The importance of printing in the comic book business is self evident. Whether through a professional printer, a high quality laser printer or a local printing chain store, the comic book must make its way from the digital domain to the print media. Although digital comics continue to grow in popularity, providing print media is still the preferred method for comic book enthusiasts to enjoy the material.

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    Selling a comic book to a national audience is difficult, and the successful publisher must form a relationship with a distributor. Currently, Diamond Comics Distributors provides the industry standard for successful marketing through relevant retailers. For Diamond to entertain distributing a new publisher’s comic, they require at least three completed issues with covers for evaluation purposes.

    Diamond expects the comic to adhere to professional standards and the submission must consist of a variety of elements including; the title of the books along with issue numbers, the number of pages while conforming to industry standards, cover price, issue summary, shipping frequency and copyright information.

    Additionally, the name of the printer must be provided. Diamond and other distributors generally prefer products created by professional printers.

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    Becoming a Retailer

    For many comic book devotees, the goal of opening a comic book store is a dream to be pursued and embraced. Working at something that is a passion can be fulfilling and exciting, but like any other business, there will be significant challenges and impediments to success. It is important to identify and attract a reliable customer base and provide the types of product they want.

    Whether it is action figure comics or graphic novel compilations, it is critical to check the Comics Buyers guide for insight into industry trends, customer demographics and preferences. Understanding movement and velocity in an industry that changes frequently is essential.

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    Choosing a Location

    The location of any business is important, but may prove to be less critical for the comic book store owner. Fans of comic books tend to be fiercely loyal and if the selection of the product is popular and appropriate for the clientele, they will seek out the business often overlooking an inconvenient location. There is generally no need for prime retail space, decorative fixtures, or other nonessential comic book2 ascetics.

    As with other segments of the book industry, offering of the product through the internet is a growing trend as well. There are numerous advantages to providing customers with access to products through a well designed website. Comic books are small and inexpensive to ship which enhances their appeal for customers on a global scale.

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    What to Sell and Managing Inventory

    Perhaps the most important decision for an entrepreneur who looks to start a comic book business is what market to focus on. There are numerous varieties and styles of comic books including popular titles and collector items. In particular, the appetite for rare comic books among collectors is always hearty and can lead to accessory sales for protection and preservation.

    Contacting Diamond Comic Distributors is the next important step in the process of purchasing inventory and the selecting of titles that will result in robust sales. Diamond offers significant guidance on their website for setting up an account, securing pricing and shipping information, as well as assistance with selecting inventory.

    As a general rule, keeping multiple copies of a recent comic book in inventory should be kept to a minimum. Once a comic loses relevance, unsold copies usually become obsolete inventory which is something to be avoided. The owner should try and control purchases carefully and consult with customers frequently to learn of new trends and evaluate product demand.

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    The Importance of Networking

    The comic book business can be financially rewarding and personally fulfilling for the passionate enthusiast. Fortunately, fans of comic books are relatively easy to identify. There are numerous conventions and interest groups in most major cities, and meeting these potential customers can prove as enjoyable as it can be profitable.