We’re living in troubling and scary times we’ll likely remember for years to come. I myself am only 36 and can recall 9/11 and the Gulf War as periods in history where life seemed to be overturned and a new normal set in. With the situation surrounding the outbreak of coronavirus (or COVID-19) evolving every day, there are a few things we can do to reduce the spread and prevent ourselves and others from getting sick, such as washing our hands regularly. Social distancing is the biggest and easiest way to slow the spread right now and, with time, “flatten the curve” to prevent hospitals and health care workers from being inundated.
Unfortunately, more people isolating themselves will also mean fewer patrons at stores and restaurants. Fortunately, there are ways to help keep comic book shops afloat in the weeks ahead.
You may not know it but comic shops are the lifeblood of the comics industry. Sure, you can purchase comics on Comixology or Amazon, but the main source of sales continues to be your local shop. You can check out the numbers at Comichron, which is a reliable source that shows how much brick-and-mortar retailers are keeping the industry afloat. So while it might seem logical to shift all your spending to digital formats like Marvel Unlimited, Comixology, DC Unlimited or Amazon, there are ways to help keep comic shops running smoothly so they don’t close.
Here are a few things you can do right now to keep your favorite local comic shop running smoothly.
Turn to social media!
We’re all aware of how toxic platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be, but they’re also among the quickest ways comic shops can inform their customers. Information on individual shops’ cleaning policies, changes in hours or in-store event updates can usually be found on social media pages. Comic shop newsletters are also a great source of information. If you’re not already signed up, do so now.
Set up your pull-list now so you can pick up your books when things blow over!
Yes, it might be painful to stay in and know a stack of your comics is sitting at the comic shop, just waiting to be read. That said, keeping yourself safe and healthy–not to mention fellow customers and comic shop owners–is priority No. 1. As we go day-by-day during this trying time, we’ll get more information and understand how to react to things better.
Mail subscriptions may be available to you!
Retail Sales Coordinator AKA Morgan recently used Twitter to inform her followers of all the comic shops he was aware of that had mail subscription options. It’s handy (see below) but may not cover your local comic shop. Call or email them to find out more info and see if this is an option. For a few extra bucks, you can rest assured knowing your comics will keep coming and your contact with folks will stay limited.
Here is a list of comic shops world-wide that offer mail subscription services. I will be updating this thread regularly so if you are a comic shop & you offer this service HIT ME UP so I can add you!!
— AKA Morgan (@geauxta) March 13, 2020
And finally, don’t panic!
The comic book industry is currently riding a high. Likely, it will overcome and, given the February sales figures, we have some buffer to keep things going. All the research and experts have made it quite clear at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, the world will return to normal. We’re already seeing other countries getting the virus under control.
Like our favorite superheroes and protagonists in the comics we read every week, people have risen to meet whatever challenges have been thrown their way. It’s through our actions during these trying times where we see how strong we really are. And once we come through, it we’re all stronger because we worked together. If you’re a comic book fan like me, that means keeping your community, which includes your comic shop, running on the other side.