Welcome back to the ComicBookDaily Progressive Shop Profiles! Comic shops often get a bum rap; they’re seen as dingy little holes in the wall that you wouldn’t want to take your mother into. It’s ComicBookDaily’s mission to dispel this false myth by highlighting some truly amazing comic book stores! In fact progressive comic book stores are often on the leading edge of innovative retailing, offering unparalleled product knowledge, unbeatable service and a truly rewarding shopping experience. We’ve designed a set of finely crafted questions, aimed them at these great stores and now pass along the useful information to you comic fans out there.
This time around, we’re taking a look at 2009 nominee of the Eisner’s Spirit of Comics Retailer Award; Comics N Vegetables in Tel Aviv, Israel. What most of us know about Israel is probably fairly limited to what we see on the news. So seeing and reading about a thriving comic book store there is pretty awesome.
How was the location of CNV decided and do you like it?
We looked for a place where a lot of young (18-35) updated people go for shopping and found just the right street and place. We didn’t open at a mall because we didn’t want to disappear between all the big chain stores like HMV, TOYS R US etc.
How was the name of CNV decided upon? Are you guys actually a vegetable store as well?
The name is based on a phrase in Hebrew, the closest word in English is “etc.”.
How long has CNV been in business for?
Are there any logistical issues in operating a comic book store in Israel? Does Diamond Comics ship out there at all?
Diamond do ship to Israel, but there are some items (mainly action figures) that are restricted to the U.S.
Is there a wide variety of Israeli creators and are they more popular than the traditional companies of Marvel and DC?
There are around 20 Israeli creators, they usually publish 1 new comic a year. And no, they are far away from Marvel & DC. If Marvel books sell 30% of our store total, Israeli Comics sell less then 3%.
Do you take part in Free Comic Book Day?
Yes! From Day one!
Does CNV feature a back issue section? If so, what sort of areas do you focus on?
We do have a back issue section but it is very small and mostly Spider-Man and X-Men from the 80s. The Israeli readers (and I think almost everybody in today market) prefer to buy TPBs rather then looking for the single issues.
What do you think are the strongest assets of your store?
Variety and a superb staff. We read everything, we know what is going on, what is about to happen, and we do our best to find the best comic for each customer. Most of our customers see us as friends, as fellow Comics fans, and it makes our store a very friendly and warm place for a Comics fan to be.
Do you offer a subscription service and what sort of incentives do you offer subscribers?
Yes, we offer a subscription service. Subscribers pay 10% less.
What approach do you think that CNV has that sets it apart from other comic book stores?
As I said before: we are not here only to sell books and make money, we are here because we love comics and we love to talk about comics, and it shows. Israeli Comics fans finds in our store a place where they can share they love for comics.
What are the various promotions you put on every year, whether it be Boxing Day or Anniversary sales and what do these promotions entail?
Each holiday we put on a special event:
We give special discounts on some items (10% discount, 3 books for the price of 1 etc.), we invite Israeli creators for signing and we invite cartoonists to draw whatever people want.
Do you do special orders for customers in the monthly Previews catalogue?
What are the future plans for the business?
We have just opened a new store in a different city (we now have one store in Tel Aviv, and one in Rahannana) and we are thinking about opening a third store in the summer of 2010.
Owner Profile: Danny Amitai
What made you decide to get into comic book retailing and what is your comic book background?
We decided to get into the comic book retailing because we could not get comics in Israel and we decided to do something about it. We love comics, we wanted to get them as easily as you guys in the U.S get them, and nobody in Israel was kind and good enough to do it for us, so we decided to do it ourselves.
What direction do you think the Comic Book Industry is moving in and where do you think we will be 5 years from now?
This is a very hard question but I will give it a try:
Less single issues, more GN, more Vetrigo/Muture readers books, more writers like Stephan King and Orson Scott Card, more writers from the TV and MOVIE industry like Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith and Damon Lindelof. And maybe, I really hope so, more media coverage.
What’s the one title you wish you were selling more of and why?
Jonah Hex. It is one of the best titles out there that nobody reads. it does not get involved in all the big events, the creators keep it simple and I love it. Short stories (5-6 issues each story), beautiful art, a very interesting characters, no secret invasions, no big crisis, just plain good comics.