Thursday, October 04, 2007

Following the money

The only bookstores I go to any more are the local mystery store and Half Price Books. I buy the majority of new books on the web.

I mention this because I don't have any first hand information for contrast to what I'm about to say. Maybe some of you can help me.

I hit one of the local comic book stores a couple times a month. Mostly I go to pick up comics for my six year old grandson PJ. He's crazy about them. For myself I usually pick up some of those huge Best of volumes that DC and Marvel have been publishing over the past few years. So far the Superman vol. 1 and the Jonah Hex are my favorites. (I can actually dimly remember a few 1946 Superman stories. God help me.)

The last time I was there I stood sixth in a line of young guys who looked to be in their Twenties. Some looked white collar, some blue.

What startled me was how much money each of these guys spent. $30, $40, $45. Maybe this is happening all the time in bokkstores, too, twenty-something men and women laying out this kind of cash.

But I wonder if it is. I wonder if there's as much general excitement about books as there is now about graphic novels and comic books. Maybe it's all the big blockbuster summer movies driving a share of this enthusiam. I don't know. But I do know I was surprised to see that amount of cash slapped down by everybody in line. In case you;'e curious. I spent $43.56. Mama Mastercard did the deed for me.


Upstate Crippler said...

In the early 80's through the early 90's it would not be unusual for me to drop $100/week at the comic store. With marriage and fatherhood that had to end. These days I just occasionally buy collected volumes of things like Ex-Machina, Fables, and the new Jonah Hex. Like Ed I also like the telephone book sized Showcase Presents volumes. My favorites being Phantom Stranger, House of Mystery and Jonah Hex. I see that they are not sticking with just older characters or issues now either- Mike Barr's Batman & The Outsiders is to be released soon, and so is Suicide Squad. The strange thing is that although I own many if not all of the individual issues in these collections I still like reading them again in the huge reprint volumes.

Dennis McGough

Anonymous said...

I go to my local comics shop every Wednesday, and there are always guys in white shirts and ties buying stacks of comics, dropping some serious cash. I probably average somewhere around $12 a week, which is expensive enough. But like Dennis above, I spent much more in the late 80s and 90s on comics than I do now. My reason isn't family and other responsibilities, it's just that the majority of comics these days is crap.

Yes, Ed, wouldn't it be great if the same amount of people spent that much on books each week? Maybe somewhere in an alternate universe...

Jeff P.

Anonymous said...

Ed - As you can imagine, I spend that $40 - $75 a week for comics and reprints and, until recently, probably averaged the same for fiction books, mainly hardbacks. Since I had none of the major family responsibilities (Sandi and I were DINKS - Double Income, No KidS)it was not hard. But as we began to think about retirement, I sold the core of my collection (about 19,000 volumes) and have cut many other things back. The comics are still there. Far too many.

Anonymous said...

Given that mass market paperpbacks are coming pretty damned close to $10 a pop, and how many items are issued in trade paperback along with or more often instead of mm, it isn't too hard to drop $30 at a bookstore these days...that's two tps, or a tp and massively discounted bestselling hardcover (or, in my case frequently, that's four-five fiction magazines of various sorts...the Penny Press titles, F&SF, THE STRAND, littles such as BOULEVARD or TIN HOUSE or ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW...or magazines about fiction such as LOCUS and MYSTERY SCENE, or VIDEO WATCHDOG).

If I'm not dropping at least that kind of cash, I have to wonder if it was cost-effective to come to that store that day...