Comic Culture Dec 14th

This week’s show has hosts Chris Owen and Walter Durajlija discuss Amazon’s attack on brick and mortar shops, Amazing Fantasy #15 possibly being a bad investment, the passing of Jerry Robinson, great Spider-Man writers of the past, the whole J. Michael Straczynski fiasco and a quiz on the most published characters in comic book history. Chris and Walt also open up the Comic Culture mailbag so please kick back, relax and enjoy  Comic Culture, the radio show full of possibilities.

Comic Culture is produced by Anthony Falcone and is engineered by Andrew Roebuck.

Enjoy Comic Culture December 14th 2011 Edition

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1689


  1. It’s not a knock against Amazon that a customer would go into a comic shop, browse, and then scan the book and buy it online.

    The store has failed to convert that customer.

  2. My point was that encouraging the use of the App at a competitor’s brick and mortar shop then saying “do that and we’ll throw and extra 5% off” seems a aggressive and a bit predatory.

    “Go in to their store, experience the hold, feel and content of this product, a service we cannot provide for you, then refrain from buying it there at the place that has invested in the infrastructure for you to have that experience. Do this and we’ll reward you”.

  3. That’s not Amazon’s problem, it’s the customer. If the customer is doing that then there’s no relationship between them and the store.

    When you run a radio ad you’re promoting people shop at your store and not at a competitors. Last I checked retailers are there to make money.

    If I see a graphic novel at a store that I want should I pick it up right there OR go to my local comic shop, the one I regularly frequent, and buy it from them?

  4. I would say that the customer who actually does that would be acting against human nature. Once you have the product in hand, most would buy it then and there. Is it worth it to scan, fill out an order online and then wait days to weeks for the books to ship to you? Or would you just pay the extra 5% to buy it at the store. I know I couldn’t be bothered for such a miniscule discount. Seems silly on Amazon’s part. Also, although it would be a bit of a dick move, but the customer could always say, would you give me a 5% discount if I buy it from you know instead of ordering the book from Amazon? 5% is not unreasonable.

  5. Stores sometimes will match advertised prices, or even promise to beat them. But it seems contrary to common sense to tell customers to go to another business to look at a product, hold it in their hands, and then abandon that copy to go online and initiate a transaction process that will take time and perhaps additional shipping costs to buy. 25% or more I could undersand, but 5% seems piddly. Plus, once the customer is in the retail environment, the bookseller has the opportunity to win the customer over with other product they may not be able to get at Amazon.

  6. Amazon usually offers larger discounts than brick and mortar shops. As you say Kevin human nature allows those who are willing to set up shop with all the costs associated to get by because people do like to purchase on the spot.

    Amazon knows this. Amazon is saying “we know you’re there at Chapters or at the Snail and we know you’ll probably pick up that book there even though you know you’re paying more than if you went home, ordered online and waited for the product to get to you via mail”. Amazon knows this and they know that the “book in hand” is an experience they cannot provide.

    With the incentive Amazon is actually attempting to use brick and mortar shops as their tire kicking showroom.

    Never in our ads have we told potential customers to go into a competitors shop, produce some sort of electronic proof that they were there then come to our shop to be rewarded for not purchasing from them. I just can’t see any good will there.

    People can buy anything anywhere they want and businesses can advertise their strengths. These are not the issues.

    I was trying to explore if there is an ethics issue with this “go and wear out their carpet, ding and damage their product, take their time to learn about the product, then walk out and come and buy from us, we’ll reward you if you do”.

    Scott, obviously you see no problem with this ethically.

  7. Walt, I think certain people do this regardless of the reward… in my case 5% is not worth the effort and the reverse is also true. Generally, I try not to buy on impulse and where comics are concerned, I may go to Chapters and read a good chunk before committing to buy the trade at my comic store.

    Amazon may be cheaper over all but stores in Toronto have blow out sales 2-4 times a year. 20% to 40% off trades, including HCs and sometimes 60% off back issues. The only caveat is the book you’ve been eyeing may get picked up by someone before you but this has never been a problem for me so far. In fact, the only books that I pay retail for are ones that I feel may be difficult to find later.

    I rarely ever by from Amazon or Chapters online. The few times I did, I received books that were overly handled or it’s sent to me in an over sized box with a square sheet of bubble wrap that isn’t even around the book. During transit, it gets tossed around and arrives with the corners all blunted. Majority of the people may not care about this but I was raised with a reverence for paper ^_^

    I actually have no idea who buys comics from Chapters… No body I know. I mean, why would you? They only carry popular titles for a fast turn over, a lot of it looks beat up from over handling and if price is the draw, informed collectors know when and where to go hunting. During boxing day, they’ll have a 30% discount on HCs and an extra 10% if you have an iRewards card. I may buy some books for my kids during this time but usually not comics.

    Of course there is no true discount cause some where along the line, some one has to eat the difference… unusually some wage worker sweating away… but I digress.

    I think the real challenge here is that you’re dealing in commodities. And it because of this that comics don’t have the respect that novels do but I digress again.

    Between the years 2009 to 2010, I counted 6 comic stores that closed it’s doors in the GTA… I feel bad for these retailers but having spoke to them… many of them refused to accept the change, or if they did, they did very little about it.

  8. Let me state this for the third time: the problem lies with the customer doing this and not a retailer offering a discount to lure new customers.

    Yes it’s predatory but Amazon is king of book sales and they got there by bringing in sales no matter what. If someone has the book in hand and they don’t buy then there’s a disconnect between the retailer and the customer.

    If I wanted to get the best price I would only buy from Amazon, since no brick and mortar store can match their discounts. I do all my book shopping at my local comic shop.

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