This is a series of brief comments on Free Comic Book Day, reprinted by permission of the authors from the CBIA discussion boards on Delphi.
Lee Hester of Lee's Comic Shop, Mountain View, California
It's been a great day here so far. This event has been covered by many newspapers, TV stations, and radio stations. It started to rain a little in the morning, but stopped by 10:30. Then it didn't rain until after 4:00--lots of sunny skies to help get the folks off the couches. I'm here in a huge parking lot, by a Costco, Krispy Kream, Petco, Office Max, etc. This year I put the comics out front, so people walking by could easily get them without fighting the crowds inside.
All day long, families have been strolling up getting their free comics. Mick Gray, inker of Promethea, came by to help hand out free comics. He also had his great artwork on display. He provided a great extra attraction. We also have a big sale going on inside.
A cameraman for Channel 2 News came by. We will be on the news tonight at 6 or 10.
A great day for comics. Kudos to my buddy Joltin' Joe Field! Spread the love!
PS. My manager just stuck his head back here into my office to let me know that we just hit our sales goal for the day. And we still have 4 more hours!
John Tinkess of Another Dimension, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
We had a great turnout here, especially considering the freak weather system we're dealing with so it was snowing on and off all day. There were plugs on the local news last night and this morning and I would guess at least half the people we saw were new faces. Not as many kids as last year but a greater number of women this time around. With a 2500 square foot space, it's exciting and just a little scary to look around and see that the store is FULL. The place was hopping all day long.
The increased selection of indy titles was a big hit as well, as we ran out of Peanutbutter & Jeremy about halfway through the day followed by Christa's Manual and most of the others. We still have some of the Gold level books left over but ordered heavier on those for other use throughout the year.
Sales ended up about $2000 higher than last FCBD and more than double a normal Saturday. Going into last weekend, I really didn't know what the response would be like and was just hoping that we could come close to last year, so to see an even bigger response for FCBD 2 was very gratifying. It gives me hope that we can keep this going as an annual event that will continue to grow.
Thanks, Joe! I'm tired.
Brian Hibbs of Comix Experience in San Francisco, California
We were up about a third for the day, from a 'typical' Saturday -- which is pretty astonishing, really, because there wasn't much for comics this week, and what there was, we sold through fast (Red Son, Hush HC, Orbiter), plus the racks were looking a little bare post-WonderCon and our party and all.
I didn't particularly promote FCBD -- just the window cling in the window was all, never put it in the newsletter, never talked it up especially... and we still had about 30 new faces who mentioned FCBD on their own, which I thought was pretty damn good. The real surprise was the Slave Labor book -- I coulda had 5x the number I had of them, and I still probably would have run out; but I really got the sense it was pretty much for Dorkin. Many people mentioned 'the Dorkin book' rather than SLG.
What I love is the 2-3 (separate) guys who hung around the store for a half-hour or more, browsing around yadda, and as they leave I say something like 'Hey, you didn't grab any of the Free Comic Day comics? Please, help yourself...' -- they looked at me with a look as though I casually suggest I go out back and anally rape their moms.
Mm, and we had THE stereotypical 'bored girlfriend' so I tried to engage her, pointing out the free comics, and she fixed me with the icy stare of death, snarling 'I DON'T read COMICS'... Ohhhhhhh-kay. Good luck with that relationship, then.
We let kids take anything they wanted (well, 'cept the SLG, Robocop and Alternative books), while we asked adults to 'try to keep themselves to 3-4, but if there's more you *really want*, it's cool'
Most surprising leftover (no, not the 25 of 25 Future books): Donald Duck. We only gave away like 8 or 9....
Ward Batty of Batty's Best Comics and Games in Atlanta, Georgia
I'll probably be closing up soon. We had a very good day, about double a good Saturday, maybe 3X normal. Not a record day, maybe #3 or #4 best so far. Hard to estimate numbers but I'll say 300+ customers and we gave away 500 or so comics. Shoulda handed out more and not limited them as I would have been happy to have gone through all 1,500 I ordered, but I was worried about running out as we did 70% of our day's business by 2 or so.
Still, I'm very pleased. We had strong sales in other areas as well, puzzles and chess sets doing well for some strange reason. This was definitely was our best comics day, although I'm surprised as I check to see that comics were still only 40% of our business today. Wacky.
Heard from lots of folks who were here for the first time. No idea if they'll come back, but it can't be anything other than good. Pleased, but tired.
Paul Stock of Librairie Astro in Montreal, Quebec
Not being a big fan of crowds I stayed away from the store just like last year. I'm having a great day.
Oh. FCBD at the store.
The guys at the store are exhausted. Their guesstimate is 'over half' the people coming in were new faces. Selling TPBs like crazy. Sales at about 150% of a customary Saturday.
There was a bit of a lineup waiting this morning, and we've given away virtually everything except Leave it to Chance and some Batman (had LOTS of Bats). X-Men was the first to disappear.
Vignette- Seems a woman came in (book reader) and said 'Free comics? Are there any for gays by any chance?' As it happens, I'd ordered some liquidated Jane's World for the event. Apparently she was astounded. And thrilled. The local gay bookstore doesn't carry them, she'd never seen it before.
My guys guess there have been about 700 people in the store today.