- Posted by Johanna on January 16, 2006 at 4:37 pm
- Category: Comic News
Bookstores rack by genre; why don’t comic stores?
Here’s some possible reasons:
- In comics, the majority of comics stocked by the majority of stores are in one genre, superhero. Why rack by genre if over 80% of your books are in the same one?
- In order for a genre racking system to work, you’ve got to know where to find the books. This requires either a computerized tracking system (beyond the scope of many comic stores) or a well-educated staff who can remember in which area each and every book is located. You don’t want to lose a sale because you couldn’t find the book until two days after the customer left.
- Many comics don’t clearly fit in one genre, and most genres have fuzzy boundaries. Where do you put the horror/Western? How about the goth soap opera? Or the romantic comedy? Or the superhero mystery?
- Books come labeled to help avoid that problem. Many book-format comics have similar labels these days, but stapled comics don’t. Without clear labels, who wants to waste time arguing over whether something best belongs, given the number of new items coming in every week? Or put up with Joe-Bob’s pouting because he thinks that Hellboy isn’t a superhero book?
- Genre is great for “if you like this, try that”-style cross-selling, but many current comic shop customers buy based on company or creator names and will branch out in those directions instead. They find genre racking an annoyance at best. (At worst, some of the excessive cases avoid comic shops that try to look too much like bookstores because they like the Android’s Dungeon clubhouse approach.)
Now, it may make sense for a store to have some genre areas. Popular examples include kids’ comics or those of Goth interest. It’s also easier for a store to do if they’re willing to invest in multiple copies of certain titles, so they can put them in different areas.