Can Comic Shops Prevent Piracy?

Ryan Haupt at iFanboy has a suggestion to reduce online comic sharing: better local comic shops.

Now, my jaded side thinks that this was just a way to build comment traffic by setting up a post for people to share store horror stories while tying into a buzzword hot topic of the week, but maybe he has a point. In-person shopping is more fun than clicking a few buttons online. You can’t beat all the comics you want to read for free, but most people I know have no problem paying a fair price for good work. And since so many comic stores are small businesses, it’s easy to develop a relationship with a good retailer and want that business to continue.

There aren’t enough comic shops to cover all the potential readers in the U.S., so maybe piracy would decrease — or sales increase, at least, since no one’s sure exactly how the two are related — if there were more good outlets with knowledgeable, friendly staff to buy from. What do you think?


9 Responses to “Can Comic Shops Prevent Piracy?”

  1. Eric Rupe Says:

    For people who pirate and don’t have a comic store or only have access to a terrible one but want to shop at a store, then yeah, more good comic shops may help but for people who pirate because they like not having to pay then no, more good to great stores and retailers are not going to convince them to stop pirating. The problem with the idea that having more great comic shops and retailers will get more people, even say people who don’t pirate but buy online, to go to stores to buy their comics is that some people are going to more motivated by convenience and pricing than weekly shopping rituals or physical interaction with other people who share their hobbies.

  2. Johnny Bacardi Says:

    Obviously Mr. Haupt hasn’t lived in many rural areas like I do. The nearest comics shop is 35 miles away, and there are no towns nearby that would, or could, support a shop. Which is the main reason I use DCBS; it’s just not convenient or economical for me to make that drive anymore, especially now that I don’t work in that town.

  3. Rich Johnston Says:

    How comic stores could combat piracy? By not hiring people who take stock home on a Tuesday night and scan it.

  4. Johanna Says:

    True! Maybe if so many of them weren’t paid in credit…

  5. takingitoutside Says:

    If my experiences with manga are anything to go by, I doubt it. I would regularly get discounts on manga at chain bookstores or online, but at the local store I also used you always paid the full cover price. For manga, the difference was around two dollars per book. At around 15 books per month, I would have paid roughly $360 more each year if I shopped solely at the local store. Obviously, I’m willing to pay for my comics, but that’s too much.

  6. Paul O'Brien Says:

    ” In-person shopping is more fun than clicking a few buttons online.”

    I question whether that’s true, for customers who already know what they’re looking for and simply want to pick it up. The store would have to be astronomically good to outweigh the benefits of convenience.

    Record stores are generally much better than comic shops, and it didn’t help them.

  7. Johanna Says:

    True, but I was thinking of shopping as a pastime, when you browse and look for new items you aren’t familiar with and see what came out recently or just what’s available for immediate purchase.

  8. James Schee Says:

    Johanna, but is that any different than shopping online as opposed to a shop? A lot of shops I’ve been to have the recent comics in plastic sleeves on the wall. That you have to ask the clerk to get down and only if you want to buy it. (one shop I know has even TPBs and HCs in clear bags to prevent browsing)

    Is that different from going to Comixology’s Ap and scanning through covers. Where at least I can see creators behind each book, and the Previews blurb. (perhaps even get a few pages to look at)

    Not to mention that the site has so many comics, while many shops I know don’t even get all of the DC and Marvel titles anymore.

  9. Johanna Says:

    That would not be a good shop, that didn’t allow you to browse. That’s instead a catalog showroom for Previews. It’s true that you need a good, well-stocked shop to make shopping fun.

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