It’s a Wednesday, and your local comic book store is prepared.
Barring holidays, each Wednesday marks the release of new comic books. Curious readers will gather en masse to nosey at the new offerings, and then pick up their favourite titles (they may even try something new). To be ready for this onslaught of geek buying, stores work to a rigid schedule – one that you may not already be aware of.
Mondays & Tuesdays
A massive operation begins, as a raft of deliveries arrive to store, from a number of different publishers and distributors. Inside the sent boxes is an avalanche of comics, never in alphabetical order, as well as a bundle of new graphic novels. These need checking, and entering onto the stock system. Only once this task is completed can they be sorted, alphabetically this time, stickered and made ready for the shop floor.
It still isn’t their time to shine, however. Stores can’t sell new titles until the Wednesday morning, but they can make space. Last Wednesday’s comic books are taken down, and absorbed into the main run of titles. Some locations will do this whilst the store is still open to customers, others will wait until the doors are closed and everybody else is gone. Regardless, space on the new release shelves has been made. We’re ago! The new releases can be displayed in all their glory. Anticipated high sellers are given prime locations, and maybe some advertising/signage. We’re ready; so it’s a shame the store is closed, and the books will sit there overnight, unread.
(Well… maybe read once, if the sneaky, eager store worker gets their way)
Before the doors open, it’s the turn of the graphic novel new releases. Books will be unboxed. The area will be updated. It will look perfect (for a matter of minutes).
Doors open, and customers arrive.
All day long, the new release sections are visited, and stock picked up/put back down. It can start to look messy pretty quickly, so store workers will battle to rearrange items and make them look nice again. This will happen many times across Wednesday, and even into Thursday. It’s a pretty thankless task. Despite this, they’ll still be happy to talk to you by the way, about any of the books you pick up. Just remember, they can’t have read all 9-zillion comics released that week. They’re not an expert of everything! (Don’t be fooled by anybody pretending to be)
In the UK, this is typically the day new magazines and part-works are released. Unlike comics and graphic novels, however, they don’t always arrive a day ahead. They are put out and shelved as soon as they have been delivered, and entered onto the stock system. If it’s Thursday and they’re missing – it’s probably not the store’s fault!
(Yes, that’s why your Doctor Who Complete History issue zz – due out today – won’t be on our shelves until tomorrow. Sorry about that. No, really. We all want to read it too)
Always a sad day, as old comic books (i.e. anything older than 8-10 weeks) are pulled off the main run, to face a life in the sales bin. In some stores, this means they are put inside discounted ‘grab bags’ – which contain four unknown and unrelated comics. Other places will add the pulled books to their back issues sections, but in the age of the graphic novel this is becoming less and less common, as shops want more of their space dedicated to selling and reselling Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns and the urk.
The shop is busy!
The shop is a mess.
This is the last big burst of buying on this week’s new releases; but the books will ‘hang in there’. Over the next 8 weeks each will sell at a steady rate. Some may even sell out, and warrant further printings! But, that is the nature of a comic book shop and its weekly schedule is one of constant renewal. Which brings us nicely-
-Full circle, as the week begins again!
So enjoy today. Visit your nearest comic book store, and see what they have to offer. Just remember to appreciate the hard work that went into bringing it all together.