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Brian Hibbs on the Scarcity of Shops in Small Town America
posted August 23, 2005

Brian Hibbs

"It can't be healthy for an industry that presumes an international audience for its offerings to leave large stretches of the country without reasonable access to even its most popular product. Is there anything that can be done about this? Is anyone else concerned?"

Me. I'm concerned, too.

I think if you point it out to most anyone involved in publishing comics, they'll be found to be concerned as well, but in a "save the whales!" kind of concern, not a "holy shit! We're chronically under-stored!" way.

Can anything be done? To a large extent, yes. One of ComicPRO's chief aims is to establish a thriving "mentoring" program where prospective retailers have a resource to draw upon, so that's something the retail community is going to try and step up to the plate to handle. But what's really needed is economic plans -- a cheap first cash register, a rack credit program like IADD used to have, strongly subsidized "Your First Inventory" packages, that kind of thing. We also kinda need a Direct Market specific POS system standard, available to every store for nothing or virtually so.

I think any real hope of any of that coming into fruition is probably 3-5 years though, if we can actually get our shit together.

I want to believe it, though. We've got a lot of genius-level brain power in comics, and it's clearly possible that we can harness it.