Retailing Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

TCAF pop-up shop becomes permanent fixture in Toronto library

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The Toronto Reference Library has been the host venue for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) since 2009, and now visitors can sample some of what TCAF has to offer year-round with at the library’s own festival-affiliated comic shop.

Opening in December as a pop-up shop, the store became a permanent fixture in the library this week under the new name Page & Panel: The TCAF Shop, with a new logo designed by artist Chip Zdarsky.

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Store briefly removes ‘Tintin in America’ after racism complaint

tintin in americaA Chapters bookstore in Winnipeg temporarily removed Herge’s Tintin in America on Saturday following a complaint by a First Nations educator that the comic contains “racist images.” However, CBC News reports the book had been returned to shelves by Monday, after the chain determined its content doesn’t violate the company’s policy.

Serialized from September 1931 to October 1932, Tintin in America chronicles the adventures of the boy reporter and his dog Snowy as they investigate organized crime in Chicago and pursue mob boss Bobby Smiles West to “Redskin City,” becoming captives of an easily manipulated Blackfoot tribe in the process.

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St. Louis’ Star Clipper rises again with new location, owners

The former Star Clipper

The former Star Clipper

Star Clipper, the St. Louis comic store that closed last month after 27 years, will reopen in April with new owners and a new location.

Riverfront Times reports that Fantasy Books Inc. owners Steve Unverferth and Tony Favello had already bought Star Clipper’s fixtures for a new downtown location (a former art gallery and dojo), and even hired some of its stuff. And then on Feb. 21 they purchased the Star Clipper name.

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George Lucas pops by Midtown to buy ‘Star Wars’ comics

George Lucas surprises customers and staff at Midtown Comics in Times Square when he stopped by Monday to catch up on a little reading.

“He was only in for about 15 minutes, his driver was waiting outside,” an unidentified store employee told Page Six. “Fans were pretty excited to see him and he signed a comic book. He was saying he hadn’t read any of the new Star Wars comics.”

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Dark Horse comics return to the newsstand at Books-A-Million

Emily the StrangeLast weekend, Todd Allen wrote at The Beat that he had spotted some Dark Horse comics on the newsstand at Books-A-Million, now the second-largest bookstore chain in the country. That piqued my interest, as newsstand sales have proved to be a challenge for most comics publishers for decades now, so I got in touch with Matt Parkinson, Dark Horse’s vice president of marketing, who answered some questions about the company’s newsstand sales at Books-A-Million and its used-book subsidiary 2nd & Charles.

Robot 6: First of all, what has Dark Horse’s newsstand presence been like in recent years?

Matt Parkinson: Since the early ’90s, Dark Horse had placed titles on the newsstand through various distributors. In recent years we only enjoyed strong sales if the comic had a blockbuster movie tied to it or some major media component. Ultimately, due to the reduction of available display space and the resulting decline in sales, we discontinued all newsstand distribution in fall 2014. We would consider returning to newsstand distribution if a title demonstrated mass-market appeal.

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Phoenix store turns to Kickstarter to help with unplanned move

all about comics

Longtime Phoenix retailer All About Books & Comics is being forced to move after 15 years, and owners Alan and Marsha Giroux have gone to Kickstarter for help.

The couple, who’s owned the store for 33 years, recently learned their lease isn’t being renewed because the physician next door is looking to expand and offered more money. “We weren’t given a choice,” Marsha Giroux told CBS 5.  “And, this beautiful store, filled with amazing stuff, is going to be a waiting room for a doctor’s office.”

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St. Louis store Star Clipper to close after 27 years

star clipper2St. Louis comic store Star Clipper is closing its doors after 27 years.

Owners Ben and A.J. Trujillo, who bought the shop in 2001, delivered the news to customers in a message sent this morning.

“The personal and professional experience of managing Star Clipper has been the most important of our lives,” the wrote. “We were lucky to inherit the legacy from wise people ahead of their time, grow with the medium, and love the job. But the time has come to bring Star Clipper to a natural conclusion.”

In an interview with St. Louis Magazine, Ben Trujillo pointed to a number of factors in the store’s closing.

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Fire destroys Long Island store Collectors Kingdom

via FiOS1

via FiOS1

More than $500,000 in comic books and merchandise were destroyed in a fire that broke out early Wednesday in a Huntington Station, New York, comics store and then spread to other shops in the Long Island strip mall.

Mike Bradley, who’s owned Collectors Kingdom in the West Hills Shopping Center since 1990, said he lost everything — from Golden Age comics valued at $500 to $1,000 each to statues and toys — in the blaze, as he had no insurance.

“Things got tight, and when things get tight you look for stupid avenues to cut,” he told Newsday. “And unfortunately that was one of the things I cut.”

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Artist plasters store’s ceiling with comics history

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The comics equivalent of the Sistine Chapel ceiling has just been unveiled at Cosmic Comix & Toys in Catonsville, Maryland.

Artist Ken Farnsworth started out painting murals and other art on the walls of the store, which is located in a rather plain commercial building, at the invitation of owner Rusty Simonetti. And when he ran out of wall space, Farnsworth turned his gaze upward — to the ceiling, which was made of white acoustic tile.

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Amazon and Hachette end bitter pricing feud

amazon-logoAmazon and Hachette Book Group announced today they’ve brought their bitter, months-long dispute to an end with a new multi-year contract that will allow the publisher to set its own ebook prices.

“This is great news for writers,” Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said in a statement. “The new agreement will benefit Hachette authors for years to come. It gives Hachette enormous marketing capability with one of our most important bookselling partners.”

Although details of the agreement weren’t revealed, the new ebook terms will take effect early next year; however, the companies said they’ll immediately resume “normal trading.” Amazon similarly reached a new contract last month with Simon & Schuster.

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Cleveland store teams with local artists for anti-bullying campaign

By Clare Kolat (left) and Shawny Walthaw

By Clare Kolat (left) and Shawny Walthaw

Inspired by Marvel’s variant covers marking National Bullying Prevention Month, Carol and John’s Comic Book Shop in Cleveland enlisted the artists of the local Scribble Nerds collective to produce a series of stickers featuring Marvel heroes and the message “Be a Hero … Not a Bully.”

The seven stickers (one from each member of the collective) star Spider-Gwen, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Deadpool, She-Hulk, Wolverine and Storm, and Rocket Raccoon, Baby Groot and Drax. The entire set is free throughout October with the purchase of any graphic novel (even the discounted ones).

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Is Amazon opening a brick-and-mortar store in New York City?

AmazonAmazon’s long-rumored plans for a brick-and-mortar store appear to be materializing in Midtown Manhattan — possibly in time for the holiday-shopping season. Or maybe they’re not.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the online giant is set to open a location at 7 W. 34th St., across from the Empire State Building, that will serve as a mini-warehouse, with limited inventory for same-day delivery, product exchanges and online-order pickups, as well as a distribution center for couriers. The newspaper’s sources cautioned those plans could change.

However, The New York Times questions whether we’ll see an Amazon store “any time soon” at that location, noting the retailer is taking over the entire 12-story building for what construction and real estate executives contend will be offices and a distribution center.

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New service Comic Cartel thinks outside (and about) the box

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Mail-order comics services have been around for decades, but with the Internet they’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Still, when you put together the words “online” and “comics,” many people naturally think digital, but a new online mail-order business is putting print — and comics as a physical product — squarely into the limelight.

Launched earlier this summer, Comic Cartel has the standard offerings of other online mail-order services, with the ability to shop for individual issues and graphic novels, as well to create subscriptions. But what sets Comics Cartel apart is its attention to detail when it comes to comics as a physical object — one worthy of high care and exceptional packaging.

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Driven by ‘emotional response,’ Mile High will return to SDCC

rozanksiAfter announcing over the weekend that Mile High Comics may not return to Comic-Con International because of the “detrimental effects” of publisher exclusives, CEO Chuck Rozanski has had a change of heart.

“… I want you to know that I ultimately did heed the outpouring of requests that I received from fans and professionals at the show, and renewed our booth for next year,” he writes in his latest newsletter. “In all honesty, however, I have to admit that my decision to renew at SDCC for one more year was driven more by an emotional response to all the kind words of support that we received, rather than any kind of good business sense. Simply put, I do not have any faith or belief that the circumstances that devastated our sales at this year’s convention will be in any way mitigated at next year’s show. Our comics publishers will all express sympathy with the plight of participating retailers at conventions, but will then continue engaging in behaviors that solely benefit them. Such is life.”

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Merchandise and GN sales up, comics down, Diamond reports

Diamond Comic DistributorsTotal sales to the direct market increased 3.8 percent in the first half of the year, Diamond Comic Distributors announced during its annual retailer luncheon at Comic-Con International.

Merchandise — toys, apparel, posters, etc. — was the strongest category, climbing 10.4 percent over the same period in 2013, while graphic novels inch upward 2.9 percent. Sales of comics slipped 1.4 percent. In a statement, Chris Powell, Diamond’s vice president of retailer services, framed the performances of the comics and graphic novel categories as “level compared to last year, but [they] are still 12 percent above 2012 sales figures.”

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