I've sold comics in every manner imaginable over the years and have found that the internet is the best system ever. No need to drag heavy boxes to conventions, pay hotel expenses, and sit in smoke filled rooms all day. I don't sit around for long hours either , like many retailers waiting for customers to drift into a store. Instead I sit in the comfort of my home and watch the orders pour in from around the world. I can handle sales at my convenience and work as much or as little as I wish. In the end I'm selling ten times the merchandise in a fraction of the time using any other system.
In fact, I'm in the process of selling my retail site since I don't need it anymore! I've closed it down completely. The over-head and risk of operating a retail site is quite great. I'm now earning five times more with only half the work of operating a store. Technology is taking over and the internet is the efficient way to sell comic books.
Can anyone do this?
Nope. You must be a good manager of time and money just like any business. Not everyone has the ability to manage a business. However anyone who takes the time to understand the business of comics and has a good business sense could do it. Computer knowledge can be learned as you go along too. I didn't own a computer, nor knew anything about it in 1997 when I made the decision to set up a site. I hired a web master for a few hundred dollars, bought a computer and managed the site myself after about six months.
I really thought the whole thing would be a waste of time, but being a business person, I felt it was a method that should be explored...just in case. After a few months, it became apparent that this was a great system that was overshadowing the traditional systems that I had used for over two decades. Eighteen months later, I've found myself discontinuing all other systems. A smart business man always follows the money.
Do I need specialized knowledge?
No. You don't need to read the comics to sell them. Your only real concern is that you stock the comics collectors want and are a good salesperson. You don't need to type fast. You should have a pleasant manner on the phone and be able to write a E-mail response to customer questions and inquiries.
Why should I sell old comics
and not new comics?
Small shops handle these and big outlets like Mediaplay and Walmart sell this common merchandise everyday. Internet companies are actually comic shops that discount in order to sell comics on the internet. Discounting washes away the potential for any real profits. With all this competition for easily available items, most newcomers would find themselves lost in the crowd. Initial investment to get involved in new comics is much more. Ordering boxes of 200 of a single issue (minimum allowed when ordering direct from major publishers in most instances) is beyond the scope of a new enterprise.
Why sell old comics?
Lots of reasons come to mind. Prices on old comics generally go up, so anyone sitting on inventory is going to watch the investment of that inventory go up. There should be no rush to sell back issues, whereas new comics must be sold in a month or so otherwise the retailer is siting on unsold out-of-date merchandise that must be marked down!
The inventory is unique. Collectors only care about one thing and that is, "Do you have the comics I want?" If you have what they want, and no one else has it, they must buy from you. There is no going down to Walmart or the local comic shop.Walmart cannot order it (unless they give you a call) and the local comic shop generally won't have it either.
It's a world-wide specialized market such that the collectors will seek you out no matter where you may operate. They don't care if you operate a shop or are operating out of your basement. You have the product and they want it. Give them a system to make a purchase, like offering credit card sales, E-Mail invoices, one day delivery, etc. and sales will be made regularly.
Where can I get old comics
that collectors really want?
Buy them here. Back Issue Comix has a very large inventory and sells to dealers and collectors everyday. If you don't know what your customers want (since you haven't started yet) begin with our starter packages of best selling comics, and order more as you learn more about the business. It's likely that the larger your inventory the larger your business will become. Place a weekly or monthly order to replace your sold inventory and even advertise comics not in your inventory. Advertise comics from Back Issue Comix inventory and then order wholesale to fill your orders.
2003 revised info: Purchase large collections at bulk prices and sell one at a time. You can find collections at eBay and on the internet. Plan to pay 10-20 cents per comic for most collections. Silver or golden age would be much more, however 70's and 80's comics at the 10 cent price is a good place to start. You'll gain experience and move on from there.
What about condition
of the comic books?
I advise you stick to Near Mint comic books since grading for a beginner is difficult and can result in disputes with customers. Sell only the highest grade (NM) since everyone knows what a new comic looks like. Collectors expect comics from 1976 to 1996 to be mint and are willing to pay higher prices for the better product.
What about determining
the prices of the comic books?
Prices are easy to determine with an annual edition of the Overstreet
Price Guide and the monthly Wizard magazine. Prices are always up-to-date
at Back Issue Comix too. Use our site to check on prices free. Most 1976-1996
comics sell for around $2-$5. Key issues often sell for $20-$100.
Average order is for 10-20 comics totaling around $50.
2003 update: Plan to price your comics at around 40-50% of Overstreet as few customers pay Overstreet prices.
How much money will I make?
That depends mostly on the effort you put into your business and your management skills. Run a tight ship and you'll make more money. It will go slowly at the beginning and improve as you attract repeat customers who like your services. Expect to make several sales a week at the beginning and pull in a few hundred dollars and work to make it improve over time.
do I advertise and
how much will that cost?
Expect most advertising to be free. Only in a rare instance would you want to pay for advertising. Detailed information will be given to you when you place your first order. We'll show you where to get free advertising that works. Lots of free advertising is available right on the internet. We'll show you where to list up to 1,000 ads on bulletin boards and internet shopping marts in one click!
2003 updated answer: Consider your auctions at eBay to be advertising. Round up customers there and provide an internet store where they can shop. Send a weekly bulletin etc.
about a business
license and local ordinances?
It's likely that you will not need any permission to operate out of your
home if you sell on the internet. Read "
How To Think Small For Big Profits" to answer many business questions
about a home based business. You will register your business at city hall
(usually $10 fee) so that you can get a free business checking account
at a bank and handle credit cards. Credit card sales can be handled from
any home based business. We'll help you if you need help finding a bank
that has a credit card service.
Again, many banking services are available on the internet. Expect an investment of $300 to get a charge card verifone setup in your home that operates on your present phone line. Don't worry about this as anyone can learn to operate it in five minutes. Just punch in the numbers of the credit card, the amount of the sale and the verifone automatically dials a number to a major bank that sends you a authorization number that guarantees payment to your bank within 48 hours. You merely look over your deposits once a month when you receive your monthly statement in order to make sure the money was transferred directly to your business checking account.
What office equipment will I need?
1. Computer and copier hooked up to the internet.
3. Charge card verifone or similar device.
Can I get rich doing this?
You could, however it would take quite a while. Consider that it takes little time and effort to take the orders and send out the comics to your customers. You'll find it a pleasant way to provide an extra income for yourself. You'll make money with the first sale. Consider it to be extra money. In time of course , it could be the springboard for your plans for wealth.
How much is the average sale?
Most orders seem to be around $50 for about a dozen comics. Some customers like to spend $100 or $200 and save on shipping costs. A comic shop averages much less than this as many of the comics are purchased on impulse with pocket change. The mail order internet customer spends a lot of time planning orders and spends much more than walk-in customers in a retail store. You'll have fewer customers than a retail store, however the customers will be spending more per sale at your site.
Can I invest in comix like you did in the How I Made $2,000,000 Investing in Comix article?
You certainly could, and it's likely (not a certainty) you would end up
making quite a bit like I did.
Your best bet would be to buy the older NM X-Men, Spiderman, and Star Wars and simply sit on them for 5 or 10 years. If you had more to invest, place some money into the silver-age comics listed at this site at 30% discounts. Actually, you will be an investor from your first day as the comics that aren't sold right away will have investor value. You'll be happy to see prices rising!
Is this a risky business?
Not in my opinion. Old comic books are almost like money in an interest drawing savings account in a safe bank. The comics sell fairly quickly and the values are accepted by all collectors. If you want to quit, simply sell out your inventory. Keep the overhead low by stocking the inventory in your residence. Get free advertising and get a low price on your internet connection. Operate the site yourself at no cost. It's probably one of the safest businesses available to a small business person. Few businesses require this little bit of inventory, time, and have such low over-head.
How do I get started?
You can do anything you want, however here is a plan that can get you started. Buy a wholesale run of comic books ( more info and prices below) . If you choose the highly popular X-Men, for example, you would then list this on your web site and advertise that you have X-Men comics for sale. Collectors who are looking for X-Men will contact you and buy the comics. You'll soon discover that your customers collect other titles, and soon you'll be adding other runs to your inventory. You don't need to stock dozens of titles on your first day of business. However if you stocked three or more titles, you will be rewarded with more sales from day one. Buying two or three identical sets, makes it easier for you to run the site as you will not need to delete the sold items every time you make a sale.
I don't have a lot of money.
What should I do?
You are not alone. Forty-five percent of all businesses are launched with credit cards. Don't get in over your head, however a small bit of borrowing might be in order to get started. Obtain a low interest introductory rate and "roll it over" to another card when the introductory rate expires. A few months later, the first credit card company will offer you another introductory rate such that you can pay low rates indefinitely by switching back and forth between two or more cards.
You may also list comics at your site that you do not have on stock. List pages from BIC (Back Issue Comix) web site and take the orders. You can drop ship if you wish. Discount is less, however you'll be making money as a sales agent selling comics you never owned. Inquire first, if you plan to do this.
2003 updated answer: Advice above is still good. Several former customers are now acting as sales agents for RJ and earning a few hundred a month selling BIC comics at eBay and on their own sites. Inquire if you want to sell BIC items on a no risk basis.
Plan to work with small collections that you purchase. Buy a small collection and work on selling much of it before making more purchases. If you have $500 to work with, don't try to buy a $5000 collection.
2006 update : Earn Money with Comics
The internet has changed many of the techniques since the information was posted. Here are the basic new approaches to earning profits.
1. Buy out bankrupt stock and warehouse collections and re-sell on the internet.
2. Work from your home and warehouse. There is no reason to open a store.
3. Prices are dropping dramatically because of the easy communication among buyers and sellers that did not exist until now. Remember that you will be selling at these new low prices, so your buy-out of collections should be at very low prices. Ten cents ( and less) on the dollar is not an insult to anyone selling a large collection. $10 for a box of comics is not uncommon.
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