Collecting and reading comics, like any other hobby, requires a fair bit of a monetary investment. However, the great thing about comics is that you can spend as much as you’re willing to, and there isn’t really an initial start up cost, like there is with something like video games (cost for system, TV, games, etc.) It can add up quickly, though. Here are some tips to help get more bang (and pow! and thud!) for your buck.
One of the easiest ways do save money is to not mind a little use on your comics. Are you looking to collect comics in mint condition? Then you’ll pay new price. But if you’re looking for comics to just read, you can save a great deal by buying used. Something you’ll need to decide when you first start collecting.
I will always first and foremost be in favor of supporting your local comic book store (LCS). Without them, the hobby wouldn’t exist. They provide the media, a community to be part of, and someone to help guide you through your comic experience and make recommendations. That said, a comic store should be worthy of your time and money. They should have a good stock of comics, and get most of the new releases each week. Also, any store worth it’s salt will have a subscription service, where you can tell them what titles you want, and they will automatically hold a copy of each issue in that comic for you, and usually give you a discount. My LCS, Galactic Greg’s, give a 10% discount on any subscription comics, and the discount goes up the more you subscribe to. Ten percent may not seem like much, but when you’re going every Wednesday like I do, it adds up fast. Remember, more money equals more comics.
Sales. Watch for sales. Subscribe to your LCS’s newsletter, facebook, twitter, etc. Find out when the sales are and take advantage of ’em. Seems like common knowledge, but this is one people forget. If there’s something specific you’re looking for, go early. You can get a great deal of fantastic one dollar and twenty-five cent comics that way. Case in point: I’ve been looking to build up my stock of X-Men monthlies, but had a bunch of gaps in the 300 range. I knew Greg’s was having a sale, so I wrote down the ones I was looking for and got most of them for a dollar a piece. The store made money, and I got a great deal and a fuller collection.
Talk to people. Talk to the clerk, or the store owner. Talk to the other people there. See if you can work out a deal. Maybe buy in bulk. Get to know ’em. Get creative. Also, friends. I’ve gotten quite a few good deals from friends who were looking to liquidate their collections. Used book stores are also great. You never know what you’ll find, or the condition it’ll be in, but the price will be fantastic. I’m a fan of Half Priced Books (located in Indianapolis, and other places). Like their name suggests, all books are (at least) half off the cover price. If you don’t mind things not being new, used book stores are fantastic. Also, conventions. Amazing sales to be found at conventions. Some merchants only deal in cash, though. So come prepared.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at your local comic book store, then it’s time to head online. The first place I suggest should be fairly obvious: Amazon. A lot of my collection has come from Amazon. Between the store itself and the other people selling stuff, you will find a bargain nine times out of ten, and because everything is sorted by ISBN, you can be assured that the book you’re looking at is the one you’ll receive. Amazon support is fantastic. In the rare case something doesn’t arrive, they will do what it takes to retain you as a customer. In my years of ordering, it has happened once to me. I contacted Amazon support, and within two days I had a full refund for my item, (and this was a book sold from another seller, not Amazon itself). Couple things worth noting: Amazon usually has new hardcovers at about half price. Super saver shipping can be a great deal if you don’t need your books tomorrow. Watch out for Library Copies, they’ll usually be cheap but covered in stickers. Try to stay with ‘good’ or higher. ‘Acceptable’ can be alright if you’re desperate, but not recommended.
A few other sites: My Comic Shop, Midtown Comics, In Stock Trades. All great sites with great prices, and some fantastic deals. Shop around. Do some comparisons. Google Shopping is also useful. And lastly, there’s ebay. Between these sites, you should be able to find what you’re looking for at a price you want. Just don’t forget that it all adds up, and there is shipping.
So now you have it, my friends. A few ways to save money, all while reading all the comics you want. Now you tell me, what are your tips for saving money while buying comics?