Buddy Saunders of Lone Star Comics in Arlington and the greater Dallas Metroplex saw the comments by Torsten Adair of Barnes & Noble (see 'Torsten Adair of Barnes and Noble on Marvel Comics in Bookstores') and David Craig of My Underground Lair ('David Craig of My Underground Lair on Comic Retailing') and sent us his thoughts on mass market competition with specialty stores:


David Craig and Torsten Adair together describe the positive relationship that should always exist between direct market retailers and their mass market counterparts.


Marvel, as with any publisher or manufacturer, has not only the right but the obligation to market to as many outlets as possible.  The question is not one of loyalty; Marvel is not betraying us by cultivating other markets.  A vendor will and should go where the money is.  We direct market retailers, by the way, do the same.


As both David and Torsten make clear, the best way for direct market retailers to grow their share of the market is to employ good business practices.  One of those essential practices is to strive in every way to reach the widest audience.  Attracting more customers ALWAYS translates into better sales.


Successful direct market retailers are doing the very things David and Torsten suggest.  The mass market and the direct market each enjoy advantages distinct to their profiles.  Retailers know their product inside out and likewise their customers.  Mass market retailers have volume buying and immediate access to the general public.  Smart retailers exploit their advantages.  Bad or lazy ones don't.


To be the retail golden boys of any industry, one has to sell product.  Complaining and suggesting that a publisher is unfair or disloyal accomplishes nothing.  But a smart battle to win market share earns the attention it deserves.


Lone Star Comics sees the mass market as a kind of retail partner.  Sure, there are times when the mass market gets the edge.  But there are also times when we hold more of the cards (sometimes literally).  What really matters, though, is that the mass market makes millions of casual customers in a way the direct market can't.  Those that develop a deeper interest in comics will sooner or later discover a direct market store and, if that store is ready, it'll be the beginning of a long, and for the retailer, prosperous relationship.


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.