More on How to Handle Free Comic Book Day

The unnamed folks at Stumptown Trade Review have a response to my post about a local store ditching Free Comic Book Day to give away cookies instead.

This is a comic shop that is trying something different. More importantly, this is a comic shop that is doing something different that will bring the general public in to the store. Most people are not going to accept something for free that they do not regularly consume in the first place. For example, I do not belong to a gym, so offering me a free turn on the dumbbells on a particular day of the week is not going to make me rush to my nearest gym to try them out. It is not even going to get me to try them out if I am walking down the street and pass by a gym.

But who can resist a cookie?

This is an excellent point. However, I think our difference of opinion in this case comes from me actually having visited the stores involved. Based on my experience with the chain offering this promotion, their attitude is less “how can we reach out to more customers?” and more “how can we ride the coattails of an event but pay less to get attention?”

Plus, I have not yet seen that this store is offering the cookies to people who don’t already shop there. The advertising I know about is through a postcard mailing to existing customers and their website. It’s true that one of the locations is in a strip mall with a Chuck E. Cheese and other venues that might attract walk-in traffic, but reaching out to families might mean they’d need to take the kid-unfriendly “you cannot come in without a parent” sign off the door. (I don’t blame them, if they’re in an area where thoughtless parents treat them as a babysitting stop.)

The general principle STR proposes is a good one, and that’s why many comic stores have artists appear on FCBD to give away sketches (especially to kids). People may not want a comic, but an original piece of art? That’s cool! Many stores also offer snacks and refreshments and create a party atmosphere — they just don’t make it the center of their advertising campaign and talk down their competitors while doing it.

(Oh, and thanks for the compliments, guys!)


7 Responses to “More on How to Handle Free Comic Book Day”

  1. Brian Says:

    Hi!

    Figured I would put a name to a post.

    It sounds like the chain in question is not the kind of place we want representing the comic book community. It is too bad, because I think that the cookie idea (if offered to the general populace and not just available to regular customers) is a great way to bring new customers in to a store.

    I agree with the free sketches for kids. I always take my kids to several local stores and they collect sketches while I make a purchase or two.

    FCBD should be a way to bring in new customers and solidify the customers we already have. It is a time to put our best foot forward and win people over.

    And nothing says WIN like free cookies :)

    Now we have to convince the other stores to put on their baking mits!

  2. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for stopping by! Why don’t you offer to make some for your local store to give away? I made Legion-logo cookies last time my husband did a signing. It’s hard work. :)

  3. Brian Says:

    What? You want me to actually DO something?????? Are you nuts??????

    Actually, that’s not a bad idea. But they probably will not be as awesome as Legion-logo cookies. Probably something along the lines of “vaguely roundish”.

  4. Ursula Says:

    Acme Comics here in Greensboro, NC is where I’ve been going for FCBD because they really make a big shebang out of it. Not only do you have an opportunity to get all the comics if you show up early enough, but also they invite a whole slew of artists you can get sketches from. There are giveaways and the local middle school gets involved by selling refreshments to support their comics club. People dress up and it’s such an exciting atmosphere I can’t see anybody NOT walking away from it with a new interest in comics.

    I’m a fledgling comic artist (hopefully about to attend MCAD this fall!), so me and another comic artist friend thought to make a minicomic to give away at the event to gain exposure and well, just to get into the whole spirit of things. The manager at the store gave us the green light and hopefully today we’ll be running off copies!

  5. Johanna Says:

    Ursula, that sounds great. I used to shop there back when I worked in Greensboro, and Acme is one of the reasons I got back into comics as an adult. Good idea for you to contribute!

    Brian, ha, yeah, I know, giving advice is much easier. :)

  6. Chuck Says:

    I’ve read a lot of articles on “who is FCBD for”, and I think it’s for everybody! I think of it as a thank you to me for being extremely loyal to my lcs, and I always try to bring some of my children’s friends with me to introduce them to comics. I’ve been in a few stores like the one you’ve described, and I just think they’ve lost their way. Why not cookies and free comics (ya know, like some of us used to read them?). I’ve also watched stores like that go out of business, and blame everything but themselves.

  7. How to Make a major Impact on FREE Comic Book Day. « COMIC PRIVY Says:

    [...] More on How to Handle Free Comic Book Day (comicsworthreading.com) [...]

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