Crazy Bargains!

By | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 1 comment
I was putzing around in my LCS today, and feeling a bit off. In the entirety of new books this week, across all publishers and genres, I could only find three that I wanted. Now, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that that's about 1/3 of what I usually pick up in any given week.

I looked through the back issues for the upteenth time without any luck. Still nothing new in the action figure department. I flipped through the "bargain collections" (where the owner's packaged multiple issues together for a complete story at a somewhat-lower-than-if-you-bought-them-on-your-own-price) and didn't see much. But then I got to the third long box of those collections and had to move a few TPBs sitting on top. And I happened to notice the top one had a blue Post-It with "$6 for each TPB - 2 for $10" hand-written with a highlighter attached to it.

There were actually four small piles of books there, and I scanned the first one. Mostly older, slightly damaged Marvel stuff that I already had. The next pile was also mostly Marvel stuff that I already had, but they were newer books in decent condition. The third pile was fairly recent Superman stuff -- I didn't have those, but I've never been a big fan of the character. The last pile, however, was still mostly newer DC stuff... but hardcovers still in the shrinkwrap. The shrinkwrap was a bit damaged, but it didn't see to affect even the dust jackets, much less the actual books.

"The six dollar thing doesn't include the hardcovers, does it?" I asked.

"Sure does! Any one for 6, any two for 10!" was the response.

"Even the hardcovers?" I was in disbelief.

"Even the hardcovers."

So, I'm now the proud owner of Green Lantern: No Fear and Catwoman: When In Rome, both in hardcover, both at less than a quarter of MSRP.

When I was paying for everything, I asked him why he has them tagged so cheaply.

"Because I can. I just got a really good deal on those."


My initial thought was that, even if he did get a great deal on those books, he could easily get away with charging, say, half of the cover price. He'd make twice as much money off those books, and they'd almost certainly sell fairly quickly. It struck me as a really odd approach.

But then I recalled that Post-It. He wasn't really advertising the books at all. I think they may have actually sat there for a few weeks before I actively looked at them. The regulars are going to come in every week, pick up the new books off the wall, pay for them and leave. Unless something drastic changes in the store's layout, they're not likely to notice a small stack of books off to the side. Ah, but a new customer will be looking around more closely! They'll be trying to sort out where everything is, and poke their heads into deeper corners of the store. They're going to be more attentive, and they're going to be more likely to find these bargains. And that is going to please them to no end, making it more likely for them to come back!

I might be reading much more into that than was intended but, even so, it would still wind up an excellent marketing angle and something a savvy store owner should consider.
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Anonymous said...

Too many collectors miss out on what I consider some of the MOST fun of collecting...the hunt or better the 'cheap' thrill of unexpected bargains!! For instance a few weeks back I went into one of the area comic/card/hobby shops (Franklin, TN)and found that the owner had taken a recent inventory and was selling some older books (Silver and Bronze age stuff) for $1 each. To my delight I found runs of 70's Peter Parker, Superman, Superboy!! WOW!! Ecstacy!! Point is lots of great stuff is out there and DON'T feel like a cheapskate for pilfering the 'bargain boxes,' there's GOLD in there!!

A. Dale
Spring Hill, TN