Chris Powell of Lone Star Comics, an eight store chain in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, reports in with his FCBD experience:
In its sixth year, 2007 saw another fantastic Free Comic Book Day in all eight of our Lone Star Comics locations! Thousands of readers visited our stores on Saturday, starting at 10AM, where they were greeted with decorations, snacks, friendly faces, and COMICS! One store even set up a hot dog stand and another made balloon animals and comic characters like Spider-Man. That attracted even more visitors as the balloons were carried around the shopping center, so we'll be doing custom balloons next year.
As part of our outreach efforts, we again offered to donate graphic novel collections to the four area libraries that sent the most children to our stores. That allowed us to hang posters and distribute flyers in over 300 area schools and libraries, and also gave us the opportunity to track where the students came from. One school even added a daily PA announcement that FCBD was coming up!
Our implementation of Microsoft's RMS system for our POS system also helped us track new vs. returning customers. This year, an average of 20% of the FCBD attendees were brand-new customers, and a third of all attendees were children under the age of 15! Luckily, we had plenty of books on hand, and everyone left the store happy. Particularly big hits this year were Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man: Swing Shift, IDW's Transformers: The Movie Prequel #1, Gemstone's Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, Archie Comics' Little Archie, Bongo Comics' Bongo's Free for All, DC's Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century and Justice League America # 0, Viper's Josh Howard Presents: The Sasquatch, and Topshelf's Owly and Korgi.
Sales for the day were strong, despite the usual annual events that battle for our customers' attention. With the Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo, Mayfest, and other celebrations, it's great to see FCBD hold its own and draw people into our stores, helping us create new readers and reinvigorate old fans. We're compiling some suggestions for the FCBD Committee to make next year's event even better, and look forward to getting an early start.
Our hats are off to the many creators, publishers, printers, and the team at Diamond Comics who help make this day possible. Thanks to you, we had a great mix of books for all ages and interests!
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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