Print is dead, right? Not quite yet. Of course, when people fret over the current state of print, they’re talking about newspapers and periodicals, but comic books are made of paper too, so how is all this “going digital” stuff affecting our four-color heroes and other characters? The short answer is that the situation is fluid, comic books, and comic book stores, are holding their own, but their future isn’t any less secure. So what is a modern comic book store supposed to do? Well, Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn seems to have an idea, and it’s an idea that might have long-term and far-reaching implications…
Last week, Bergen Street Comics made the following announcement on Twitter:
Over the next couple of months we will stop racking/shelving almost all Marvel and DC monthly comics…
— Tom Adams (@BergenStComics) February 3, 2014
Meaning what? Well, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be selling anymore comics produced by those two huge publishers, and what it does mean is that the store will not being bringing in several copies of every book put out by both Marvel and DC Comics. That’s over a dozen new books per week that Bergen Street Comics won’t be bringing in anymore, and if you want the last copy of Batman or Superior Spider-Man or Action Comics or Uncanny Avengers, then you’re going to have to subscribe to it, and have the store bring it in especially for you.
In a further statement, the store said the move had “nothing to do with other shops/state of comics in general,” but one has to wonder if other stores might follow suit with Bergen Street’s decision. They’ll at least be watching it closely to see if there’s an organizational or financial advantage to making this move. Most stores have a subscription service already for their regular customers, and since much of the comic book business is based on reader retention, as opposed to bringing in a tremendous number of new readers, it makes sense to concentrate those effort in the direction that works rather than the direction that doesn’t. New readers, perhaps ones inspired to visit a comic book shop by the latest comic book-based Hollywood blockbuster, tend to be steered towards collections and trade paperbacks rather than the latest single issues.
It’s an interesting move, and the implications are hard to prognosticate. What do you Bastards think? Is Bergen Street Comics being shrewd or is this the proverbial canary in the coal mine for physical comic books? Sound off below.