Sell your collection!

Last updated on October 27th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I was going to title this column “Selling your collection”, but after some thought I felt it best to use the imperative that you see above. For, ultimately, that is my advice to any comic book collector. Sell your collection.

The funny thing about collections is that eventually they simply become too big to be properly enjoyed. Currently my entire collection is one half box of floppies and 2 shelves of trades. That’s it. If I want to get more then something has to go.

It wasn’t always that way; I used to have 18 long boxes of comics and 3 whole bookshelves of trades. I had them. I carted them from house to house when I moved, but I didn’t read them. And no matter what anyone tells you reading comic books is still the primary reason for their existence.

I knew that I wasn’t enjoying my collection but I was still apprehensive about letting it go, so I decided to perform a little test. Whenever I read a comic book or trade paperback I would put a post-it note with the date in the front over. Over a two year period (I told you I didn’t take selling my collection lightly) I tracked my reading in this way. And what I found was that I didn’t even scratch the surface of reading what was in my collection.

And so I sold the vast majority of my books. I only kept my complete run of Amazing Spider-Man. And eventually I sold that as well. I took all the money that I made and paid down my student loans. It was a freeing experience, both cathartic and rewarding, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

There isn’t enough time in the world to re-read everything you own. And if you aren’t enjoying it why do you have it? If you have a small collection you can re-read and re-enjoy continually, but a larger collection is prohibitive for such scholarly pursuits.

Maybe some of you have a collector’s mentality. Okay, I’m fine with that, but then sell your 20 boxes and buy 1 great copy of AF #15, Batman #1, FF#12, or whatever. Collect the best that is out there and let the rest go. Bring your boxes to your local comic shop; they will find a good home for them. However, don’t expect to get guide for your collection.

A small point but an important one: comic book stores need to make money. So if you own a comic book that is worth $100 in the guide what should a store give you for it? $100? They have just lost money. They have overhead costs such as staffing, electricity, etc. and it is not guaranteed that they will sell your book.

For good mid-range stuff you should be looking at taking about 50% of guide. If a store can turn it around within a reasonable timeframe they will be okay with taking 50 points. But if your collection is mostly books that guide for $3 or less, you should be happy to get 5 to 25 cents per book. Finally, if you have great stuff that is high grade you can probably get away with getting 70-80% of guide. If a store knows it can turn a book around fast and make a couple of grand in profit it won’t mind giving the higher price.

If you feel that your collection deserves the guide price then you are better off trying to sell it yourself by putting it up on eBay or listing on craigslist. However, time is money my friends. And if you have top quality books you may wish to have an auction website list them for you, but they will still take a cut.

I understand that I have a smaller collection than most so I thought I would get a second opinion. Our Editor-in-chief Scott recently sold his collection and I asked him a couple of questions about the experience:

1. Why did you sell your collection?

It was taking up a lot of space (30 long and 6 short comic boxes) and my family is trying to cut down on possessions.  I collected the comics but never went back to them, instead reading reprint collections with updated colours and production values.

2. What preparation did you do before selling your collection?

I had a list of all my comics that included what I paid for them so I went through and totaled what I paid for my books that were worth something (anything over $50).  This gave me a target to shoot for.  Only about 300 of my books, mostly silver age, were worth anything substantial.

3. What do you feel is a reasonable return (50% of guide, etc.)?

I was hoping to get 50% of current value for the good books and more than $0.25 each for the moderns; unfortunately 99.9% of everything printed after 1980 is worth nothing.

4. How did you feel after the collection was gone?

Fine, and a little bit liberated; I didn’t rush into the sale and took my time with the store that bought my collection.  We did some negotiation and I feel the deal was solid.

Scott’s answers highlight a lot of the advice that I give to collectors before they sell: do your research and have an idea of what you are willing to take. His first answer is the overarching practical reason why I recommend people sell their collections: they just take up too much room.

If you are keeping your collection to give to your kids or you feel that owning comic books is a good investment I would still recommend selling the majority and investing in good key pieces. CBD’s own Walt Durajlija often recommends that prospective investors buy key books in the best possible grade they can afford. Sage advice indeed.

Faithful readers, you don’t need longboxes of ShadowHawk #1. You don’t even need longboxes of every Hulk book. You just can’t enjoy them all. Head to your local comic shop and let them go. You will not regret it one bit. Plus everyone is going digital anyway, right?

Anthony Falcone Written by:

Anthony Falcone is a freelance writer living in Toronto and he is the Ayatollah of Rocknrolla. You should definitely follow him on Twitter.

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34 Comments

  1. Charlie
    July 12, 2011

    Man oh man… there are so many things wrong with this write up that I can’t believe it’s actually posted. A comic book site that’s advising you dump your books. If that’s not an oxy moron, I don’t know what is…

    “And no matter what anyone tells you reading comic books is still the primary reason for their existence.”

    Hellooo, Mr. Falcone… comics books are a VISUAL medium! Stats show that people come for the art, then stay for the stories. If you’re “primarily” interested in reading… there is this other option called NOVELS.

    And yes, I’m jumping on to digital because I love turning on my computer, them launching my browser, then logging in to my subscription so I can unwind and kick back after a tough day at work. I love being dependant on a tool, within a tool, within a tool to relax as dictated by a corporation who can change the rules anytime cause they own and control how I want to read my comics.

    Anthony, I don’t know you so don’t take anything I’ve written personally but if anyone out there is seriously considering dumping their books for 5 to 25 cents… then come to me first. I’ll can offer you 6-26 cents which apparently is more then what you “should” be happy with. I’m also willing to pay 71-81% guide for your “great stuff” because that just the kind of guy I am.

  2. July 12, 2011

    Oh man oh man. Charlie, there are so many things wrong with your response I can’t actually believe you wrote it. Normally when one talks about reading a comic book one is talking about enjoying the art and the story, not simply reading the works or looking at the pictures, the two are inexorably intertwined and ever shall be. I would love to see your stats on the matter. Your immediate jump to think that I advocate only the words is bizarre and incorrect. Also, I am aware of the existence of novels. 
    You also will note in my past columns that I advocate both the reading of digital books and the collection of hard copies. Digital might not be for you, but that doesn’t mean that the medium does not have merit, nor that the increasing number of digital fans are incorrect in their support of the medium.
    As for “dumping” your books for 5 to 25 cents, sorry Charlie but this is pretty standard. Most shops will take $2 books from you but they might need to keep them in a bargain section of their store for some time. So they will pay 5 to 25 cent for your book. Brick and mortar stores have costs that need to be recognized. I give this advice to readers because many take collections into a comic shop and hope to get more for their books but that isn’t really the reality. Just ask your buddy Walt.  Charlie, I don’t know you so don’t take anything I’ve written personally but if you troll then you gets what you get. 

  3. Charlie
    July 13, 2011

    Reading comics
    I’m only responding to what you wrote which is why I’m surprised your write up got posted as is. There are many aspects to comics and collecting is not necessarily about reading. There is enjoyment in the challenge of trying to put together a collection. CGC books in itself are not meant to be read…

    Digital
    The high level discussion is whether digital will succeed print and my answer to that is NO. Not in it’s current form. Moving forward, of course people will have mix mediums, this is obvious and so this does not interest me, there’s no argument here. However, I am interested in the strategy that the publishers and the industry is undertaking in order to promote comics to a wider audience. Your advice to “sell your collection”… is no advice at all. It’s anecdotal based on your own set of personal circumstances and if you ask me, it works against the larger initiative.

    Dumping
    Again, I would have worded this part differently. There are  many factors that go into selling… how about some actual advice instead of saying that we “should be happy happy with 5 to 25 cents.” I don’t necessarily disagree with your generalization, but for people who are willing to make the effort, there are ways to get more value out of books, ie; sets seem to sell better then mid arc single issues.

    Trolling
    Stick and stones my friend. I’ve been careful not to demean any authors (although you may feel I’ve walked the line in some cases) and my comments are generally well considered. So, you as the host, suggesting that I’m a troll boarders on name calling which says more about you then it does me. As soon as you opened this site up for comments, you opened yourself up for criticism, so yeah… “you gets what you get”. You can shut down the comments, block me out or let it roll. Whatever you decide, the responsibility lies with you.

    I know that coming up with content is difficult and a lot of work but you gotta mix it up. Correct me if I’m wrong but CBD at it’s highest aspiration is an entertainment vehicle. News and serious topics are great but I suspect Eds got the right idea with his more light hearted approach… easy to churn out, no need to write too much and not much to research… he just needs to dial up the humour a bit.

    If this site get’s more popular, you’re gonna get worse then me so butch it up and consider me good practice.

  4. SentryXI
    July 13, 2011

    Oh Charlie, what would the internet do without your words of wisdom.

  5. July 13, 2011

    Charlie, my strategy has always been to write a boring article and let the comments section provide the entertainment….

  6. July 13, 2011

    Charlie, it seems you have the thin skin here.

    To troll: (intransitive) By extension, to search (for), to draw out, to entice, to lure.

    Selling anything breaks down into two categories: do it yourself or sell everything to a dealer, i.e. “dump”.

    Without a doubt 99% of comics published in the last 25 years have no value: the guide will list them at cover as an indication of no increase.

    You can bundle your books and hope to sell them over an extended period of time but depending on the size that can take years.

    Selling your high end books is much easier and many routes are available if they’re “slabbed” by CGC.

    I chose to sell my collection en masse because I wanted to get more value for the approximately 12000 comics I had that held no value.

    Charlie, when is the last time you sold your collection?  That feedback would be worthwhile and helpful.

  7. Ed Campbell
    July 13, 2011

    I think Anthony’s article is an important one.  There are lots of people who have comic collections, who think they are going to get rich.   I have had several people ask me what their collection would be worth, because they know I love comics and write for CBD.  Then when I see their collection, it is some Spider-Man comics from the mid 80’s.  I used to tell them to go over to Blue Beetle is get their collection appraised.  Now I tell them they are only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    So realistically telling people that their comics are worth very little, is not a bad thing. 

    I got that shock the first time, when I packed up my Spawns and Todd McFarlane Spider-Man run and took it into a shop in T.O., and they told me they weren’t interested.  They did give me $20 for Spider-Man #400 (Aunt May dead issue), Spider-Man #36 (911 tribute), and the Spider-Man Calgary Stampede issue (Todd McFarlane cover).  Afterwards when I paid for my parking in downtown T.O. and lunch, I walked away with a whole $2.  Reflecting on it now, I wish I kept 2 of those 3 comics.

    I collect because it is something I enjoy.  I collect items I like to read or look at.  You will never make a fortune selling your stuff, you just make more space to get more stuff.

    Anthony might have convinced me to go digital.  If I can get rid of all my old issues of Super-Pro or X-Force and be able to read them anytime I want from Marvel online, I just might go that route.  Fortunately for me my X-Force #2 is worth a fortune, so it might be worth selling my collection.  😉

  8. July 13, 2011

    I do consider Charlie a buddy in comics!!

    Our shop is luckier than most because we have an easy access, open, clean and well lit basement we use to sell comics at a price point that to most is worth the read, $1.99. We can stock about 20,000 comics down there at a time. We used to have them at $1 years ago but found our volume only dropped off a bit with the increase in price.

    We do great volume out of the basement but I would have to guess that turn over is about 33%. If I buy a what of books from the last 25 years I can expect to move about a third of them within a year. The rest just kind of settles in and never seems to sell.

    We purge a few times a year to make room for new additions. Twice a year we have a “Get a Free Comic for Every A on Report Card”, this probably clears out 4000, we bundle up school donations for perhaps another 2 or 3000 and we also purge right to recycling a few thousand.

    We do have processing costs, people to bag and board them, people to straighten out the bins in alphabetical order, people to clean up down stairs, take sales, the cost of the basement space in our lease etc.

    Our goal is to try to double our investment when we buy at 25 cents and under the above model we can.

    Sometimes we luck in to a really good mix, lots of Spidey’s and X-Men and we do a bit better, some times the mix is much worse but we take it for fresh stock, sometimes we refuse to buy the stuff at 10 cents each!

    I’m sure anyone willing to sell their stuff through toil and effort via the ebays, kajijis, local paper want ads, flea markets etc will do much better in the long run but there is a substantial amount of time investment to consider.

    Selling the “higher end” stuff also requires a large investment in time, energy and capital. Front end loaded costs everywhere, CGC submissions, Convention table costs etc.

    Most collectors I’ve dealt with have a dozen or two books worth individual attention. The nice solid 7.5 – 9.0 grade Silver Age non key comics are quite difficult to sell individually if you do not have an established infrastructure to sell set up. These books do not perform too well individually on places like ebay.

    I agree with Anthony’s article for many types of collections, for the typical collections. People that have been buying high end stuff already graded and people sitting on very valuable ungraded high end collections do have more options though.

  9. July 13, 2011

    ED, I’ll give you 27 cents for that X-Force #2!

  10. July 13, 2011

    “Correct me if I’m wrong but CBD at it’s highest aspiration is an entertainment vehicle.”

    I’d like to think we can aim for more. Nothing wrong with asking the hard questions, posing the challenging arguments and then analyzing the following debate.

    Enlightenment and entertainment!


  11. Charlie
    July 13, 2011

    Flattery will get you no where.

  12. Charlie
    July 13, 2011

    You say that jokingly but getting users to create the content is the big push these days. You guys have a double whammy…. It’s a challenging enough to put up a regular site but a site specific to comics is even tougher. With a name like Comic Book Daily, the promise is; news about comic cooks “daily” which is a tall order to fill.

  13. Charlie
    July 13, 2011

    There’s academic definition and there’s the way it was intended. I assume that’s what you guys are thinking anyway so I thought I’d jump on the trolling comment. I’ve sold a few books on eBay but I’m primarily a collector. I gave away most of my books in the 80’s and started buying them back up again a few years ago… prices sure have gone up in the past 25 years!

  14. Charlie
    July 13, 2011

    Ed, I totally agree… it’s an interesting topic. What you’re describing is the key reason for the 90’s melt down. As I said to Walter in his post about Overstreet, I don’t personally believe that comics are worth anything. Still there is a speculative market out there built primarily on perception and some have made small fortunes by understanding it’s in and outs. But if the average fanboy thinks he’s going to get rich without some serious consideration, then he’s disillusional.
     
    Selling Your Collection” is essentially about a guy who decided to sell his books because he ran out of space. It lacks the nutrition to be called advice, and I find the whole post mis-leading so I’ve called Anthony on it. The write up feels lazy and lacks purpose. This is not meant to be an attack or a big deal but I’ve exercised the invitation to comment. If you disagree, perhaps you can tell me what value this particular post serves:
     
    Informative? No.
    Entertaining? Could have been really funny, but it’s not geared toward humour.
    Engaging? Subject wise, yes. The delivery, no.
     
    I find people here like to jump on the band wagon… perhaps because most of you know each. For me, challenging the skews present on this blog are entertainment in itself. And since I don’t know any of you and I’m not in the industry… I’ve got nothing invested which frees me up to say… that this site could use more cow bell!

  15. July 13, 2011

    Charlie, you are the gift that keeps on giving. I suggest that people sell their collections because once they become too large you cannot enjoy them properly. Space is one issue, and not actually being able to read everything is the other. Selling collections is a cathartic experience and it allows collector to start fresh.

    Many collectors are worried about parting with their collections and I hope that some will rethink keeping them for the sake of having a collection. You yourself have sold your collection in the past and you don’t seem any worse for wear due to parting with your books. You are now experiencing the enjoyment of hunting again.

    My advice on what to expect when selling is actually pretty sound, backed by years of work in the industry and close contacts with store owners, some of whom are Overstreet Advisors. I am sorry if you do not agree with the reality but informing readers on what to expect when selling their collection qualifies as informative advice. 

    And as for the missing humour, well, my first draft was full of dick and fart jokes but Scott took them out.  

  16. Charlie
    July 14, 2011

    • I probably sold under 40 individual comics in my life time. 30 of them in that past 2 years.

    • As Walter can tell you I don’t value Overstreet nor the qualifications to become an advisor. Walter’s worth is his character and it stands on it’s own, with or without the mug shot in the back of the price guide.

    You misunderstand me. I do agree with your point about selling to retail stores. This is common knowledge among collectors that I know and is the reason that they would not sell to a store. But this is a generalization and thus I don’t see it as being informative.

    Your write up would have been interesting if you offered alternatives ways that could help retain or maximize the value of a collection. Bundling is one way, timing and presentation are others. How about a shared table at an over priced con. Even on eBay there are strategies that can be applied. Non of my auctions end on a Monday afternoon. Any of these suggestions would have been more worth while than “you should be happy to get 5 to 25 cents”.

    Or, knowing the commonalities that collectors share, you could have had fun with the situation, for example:

    1. Perhaps you had a date and you convinced her that having 20 boxes of comics does not make you a dork… but you consider your friend a dork because he has 30 boxes.

    2. You’re so into your collection that you treat your books like currency and you once tried to pay for your steak dinner with an ASM#129… and asked for change.

    3. You sold 3 Spider-Man books for $20 but after parking and lunch you walked away with only $2… Hey wait a minute… why does this sound so familiar…?

    In any case, if you still don’t get my point lets just agree to differ. This topic as been played out, …let’s move on. If you’re short on ideas here’s a few:

    1. 2012 is a big year for us geeks. Spidey, Batman, the Avengers and possibly the Man of Steel, all major league characters duking it out at the box office. What are the geek hopes and aspirations for next year. It also happens to be the year when the world will end.

    2. Flame On! It’s Clobbering Time! Avengers Assemble! Have at Thee! If I had a one liner it would be “Let’s Dance!” It’s the perfect one liner… It works on the ladies and works just as well in battle… Let’s try it out: “Hey Falcone! You wanna piece of me… let’s dance!” Yup, works fine. What’s your one liner?

    3. Here’s one for Walter… Demystifying comic book pressing. Pros, cons, process… is it worth it? Who does it? Why isn’t it considered restoration? etc.

    4. Milton Glaser created the previous DC logo and is a father figure in the design world. Who the heck is Josh Beatman to come along and replace Mr. Glasers work with his latest rendition of “DC”. Does it work? Comic book trivia… DC stands for:

    5. Fire Fly books, Marvels first trades sell for $30 to $50 bucks a pop on eBay. Are trades undervalued?

    But enough about you, lets talk about me: They finally published the stamps I designed over a year ago. Yea. It’s changed a bit still retains the basic elements. Stamps were one of the projects I wanted under my belt before I died. I’m happy to check this one off my list.

  17. July 14, 2011

    A quick point, a large chunk of the comic-owning public doesn’t actually know what to expect when selling their books to a store, so the advice is informative. You know what to expect; good for you. 

    I do agree that we have reached the end of the line on this one, and we will agree to differ. Mostly because you are wrong for the reasons listed above.

    Congrats on the stamps though, here at the offices of CBD we wish our readers all the best. 

     

  18. Marc
    July 14, 2011

    I collect toys. Anthony has seen my toy collection. It is very large. When he tells me I should sell everything I tell him I think that’s a dumb idea.
    It feels pretty good.

  19. July 14, 2011

    I would like all our readers to understand that “very large” is a complete understatement. Seriously, it is like someone had a time machine and raided every Toys R Us from the last 3 decades. Also, Marc’s collection is brilliantly displayed, organized, and (I assume) played with on a regular basis. Even though Marc’s collection is enormous he is able to enjoy it and it works for him. Enjoying your collection of toys or statues or the like doesn’t require the same time commitment as re-reading several long boxes of books, so my consistent suggestion that Marc sell his stuff is slightly different than when I suggest people let go of their comic books. Mostly I tell him to sell because I know the joy he gets from opening up a MOC figure himself. 

  20. Charlie
    July 14, 2011

    Whether you decide to sell or not is a personal choice… but, let me see if I understand you correctly:
     
    “…a large chunk of the comic-owning public doesn’t actually know what to expect when selling their books to a store…”
     
    Anthony, do you think that people with large collections are stupid? That even after the 90’s collapse, these collectors, your audience are unable to comprehend the basic economics of retail?

  21. July 14, 2011

    No Charlie, I do not think that people with large collections are stupid. However, many are unaware of what their collection will be valued at once they enter a shop. Also, many collectors have started their collections after the 90’s collapse so I stand by my solid advice. You have a sense that everyone with a large collection has your level of knowledge of the market, but that isn’t the case. This article has certainly touched a nerve with you, and I commend your passion, but I believe it is misplaced. 

  22. Marc
    July 15, 2011

    I own a comic book store and have worked in one for 12 years.
    Anthony is right. The average person has little concept of what comic books are worth.  9 times out of 10 they overestimate the value of their comics.
     

  23. Marc
    July 15, 2011

    That being said, Anthony is still wrong to try and push his values on others.
    Not everyone lives in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto. 
    Not everyone feels congested at the thought of boxes and boxes of ‘stuff’.
    There is nothing wrong with collecting, especially when a lot of people get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
    And when you stop getting enjoyment out of it, there is nothing wrong with selling it all to me. I am especially interested in SA keys and action figures from 1978-1988 😀
     

  24. Charlie
    July 15, 2011

    Hey, Marc… 
     
    I agree but I believe we are talking about a very specific type of person… A “collector”, not “reader”, who’s amassed a very large collection. 
     
    • This eliminates most kids as it would take time and money to build such a collection.
    • Based on demographics, it’s most likely that this type of collector is older, at least 30, 40 years of age.
     
    Which means:
     
    • He’s old enough to have lived through the ’90s.
    • He been around, going to comic shops or cons to buy his books, and over time, he’s bound to have engaged in some discussions around value.
    • He’s able to afford such a collection so he’s working, therefore if he’s competent enough to balance his bills with his hobby, then he should be able to understand basic economics.
     
    Sure there are exceptions everywhere but for the most part, I’m inclined to believe that this type of collector is intelligent enough to figure it out and has been around long enough to know what to expect from a store.
     
    Hey Marc are you in TO, which store do you own…? It’s refreshing to see comments other than from the usual suspects. Hope you’ll chime in more often. Let me know if you disagree with my analysis…

  25. Scott VanderPloeg
    July 16, 2011

    Charlie, read our Retailer Q articles and you’ll know where Marc is from and get to read a lot more of him.

  26. Ed Dee
    July 18, 2011

    Interesting topic guys. Just my 2 cents:
    I have been collecting comics a good part of my life. I went on hiatus in the 90’s (thank God) and recently started enjoying new comics. The new comics in my opinion have better stories but the artwork is all computerized and doesn’t have the same look as the comics I remember in the 70’s.  Most of my collection is 60’s-mid 80’s. Anyway, the problem with selling your collection is that you are using a middleman, i.e. the comic book store. They have to make a profit so they will always lowball the price so that they can turn around and make a greater profit. Rarely do I buy an old comic in a comic book store, it’s overpriced for the quality that they are offering. Someone would be better off selling on Ebay or other venues straight to the consumer. My hope is that the vintage comics that I collected will raise in price over the next 30 years and I can either sell and retire with a little extra cash or hand it down to my kids or grandkids. Lastly, even the new comics should appreciate in price if they are kept in mint condition. A $2.99 comic that I read today and bag and hold in storage for the next 30 years should be worth at least $6.99 then. What if you have 10,000, 20,000 or 50,000 comics in your collection? It can add up. What do you guys think?

  27. Anthony Falcone
    July 19, 2011

    Interesting question about really large collections. The tricky part would be that even if your $2.99 comic book is worth $6.99 in 30 years you wouldn’t get $6.99 for it. The hope would be to get more than you paid for the original books, but the number of books kept in NM condition is far greater today than was 30-40 years ago. And if you were selling 10,000 or 20,000 comics I would suspect that any buyer (shop or individual customer) would try to get a bargain bulk deal off of you. Charlie, Marc, thoughts?

  28. July 19, 2011

    “Lastly, even the new comics should appreciate in price if they are kept in mint condition. A $2.99 comic that I read today and bag and hold in storage for the next 30 years should be worth at least $6.99 then.”
    Unless you have a storefront, there are almost no comics published in 1981 that you could sell today for $1.40 (cover price was about $0.60 in 1981). I would say less than 2%.
    In the end it will all come down to supply and demand, but there’s certainly no reason to think that you have a sure bet there.
     
     
     
     

  29. Charlie
    July 20, 2011

    Hey Ed Dee…
     
    Unless you’re a dealer with a reputation and many contacts, you’ll most likely have to use a “middle man” of some sort… whether that be eBay, a broker, or a retailer.
     
    The message that Anthony is trying to impress upon us is that retailers need to mark up for their operating costs as well as their own livelihood. It’s not an issue of “lowballing” but rather the natural order of the retail business. This is also the reason that back stock tends to be a bit more pricey in the stores… as Walter explained, the books that will sell have to compensate for the books that wont. So although your observations are correct, there is a legitimate business reason for this. 
     
    Online stores are not much different… Guys like Bob Storm need to replenish his stock, so he picks up books where ever he can and re-lists them on his web site highgradecomics.com. Online stores may not have to pay rent in the traditional sense but they do have operating expenses and fees, the biggest cost being advertising needed to drive people to their site.
     
    eBay also has expenses which is why they take a cut out of our sales, although the shear scale of their business is more than enough to cover their costs but corporate greed is a topic for another day.
     
    Don’t get me started on Craigslist! Craigslist is a jungle and you’re basically on your own when it comes to dealing with that bottom feeding comics community.
     
    How well you do investing in comics depends on what area you collect in. There’s a lot of discussion about digital being a threat to traditional comics but I think the real threat, to ALL comics is:
     
    1. Paper and printing cost more every year.
    2. Inflation… costs out pace earnings for the common man.
    3. Alternate forms of entertainment, ie; video games
    4. A trend toward less readership.
     
    But the biggest whammy is demographics!
     
    5. Cultural shift and behaviour. Things change.
    6.  Baby boomers!! Set to start retiring soon.
     
    You have to understand that there are tons of collectors in the US who are on the verge of retirement. Many of these collectors are very hardcore collectors who have entire runs of top key books in very high grade. Like you, they are thinking to cash out their comics when they retire. Once these guys start dumping their books… who’s gonna pick them up? There are less collectors behind the baby boomers which means, the market will be flooded with all these books…
     
    Okay.. it’s late, I gotta get to bed. This is a huge topic so maybe I can add more later but I’ll end this by simply saying that I don’t plan to be holding anything of real value beyond my planned 10 year time frame.
     
    I haven’t even touched on the current market correction that we’re in and how your $2.99 comic today maybe worth $6.99 tomorrow but that’s only because of inflation. Meaning, $6.99 tomorrow will most likely have the same value as $2.99 today. DO NOT BANK ON NEW BOOKS. No one is going to pay you $6.99 for a modern book, especially not for 10,000 books. Read them, collect them… for FUN only! Gotta get some shut eye…

  30. Charlie
    July 20, 2011

    I recommend reading Boom, Bust and Echo. Books like this look to past to try and anticipate where we’re all headed… but even with census data, the future is very hard to predict. Like the ocean, there are several currents at play… political, environmental, social… and there is no real meaningful way to predict how it’s all going to play out. I don’t necessarily agree with all the analysis but it does open your eyes to how demographics can determine certain outcomes.
     
    Ed Dee, 
     
    Dollar bins of today are the quarter bins of yesterday, and 30 years from now those same bins maybe called $5 bins. So even if you bought something for $1 today, and it turned to $5 in thirty years, the value would be more or less the same… only you’ll have missed out on thirty years of investment potential if you had put that cash else where. Food for though my friend!
     
    Here’s Rupert Murdock talking about his media empire. He struggles with digital media like the comic industry and the only thing that’s clear is that no one really knows where it’s all headed.

  31. dude
    December 5, 2012

    you really think a couple bux extra will make a difference in 30 years? lol

  32. Good Lord
    November 5, 2014

    Does Charlie have to comment on every single post? I’ve never seen a guy work so hard at accomplishing so little. Great website—even better if Charlie’s computer somehow stops working.

  33. April
    June 11, 2015
  34. Spencer
    July 30, 2015

    People keep talking about the time and effort put into selling books…..but they don’t talk about the time spent talking about this stuff online…..The time you spend selling the books can be as enjoyable as the time put into collecting them in the first place. Some people have time for that sort of thing and its an extension of the hobby….some people have very limited time. There are obviously countless types of collectors out there. Personally my methods are to buy complete collections, pick out what I want and sell the rest. Very few people have the time,space and disposable cash for that but for me the hobby is made up of buying, selling, reading all at the same time.

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