Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 13, 2006

ComicsPRO Gets $5K From DC Comics

imageA couple of people e-mailed me a link to this press release reprinted at The Pulse announcing DC Comics' mid-four-figure support of Comics Professional Retail Organization (ComicsPRO). I'm all for the big companies supporting industry institutions, and I'm all for the basic aims of ComicsPRO as they've been described to me by various core members, all folks whom I like and admire.

That being said, the most interesting part of the release to me is the fact that the organization has at the approximate one-year point "more than 80 member retailers comprising nearly 120 storefront locations." That seems kind of low to me, especially given the unique status of the organization. Is it the mentoring program that keeps people away? I know that a lot of retailers anecdotally describe mentoring less as a chance to get a store in Silver City, New Mexico where there hasn't been one in ten years and more of a way that ex-employees end up with comic shops down the street. Is it the $300 per year dues? Do people think they'll join later when the organization is bigger and more effective in a kind of monkey's-paw logic? Are comics shop owners just not joiners? Or is it something deeper, perhaps a mistrust that a single unified voice is going to do some stores as much good as others?

I'd love to hear from anybody who has ideas about this, either on or off the record. Why wouldn't a store want to join up?

And if that's not a low number, and I'll happily take angry or not-angry letters to that effect as well, doesn't a slow build or one with a ceiling speak directly to the viability of ComicsPRO's first stated goal, as a basis for "retailers to speak with a single, strong voice on important industry issues"?

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Christopher Butcher, Manager of The Beguiling in Toronto, Canada:

The last time that I was approached for membership, in a non-specific "hey you should join up!" sort of way, there seemed to be no benefit for non-American retailers. The focus going forward was on developing benefits very specifically for American retailers as well, and aside from providing a seemingly worthwhile organisation with operating capital I couldn't figure out what I as a Canadian retailer would get with my membership dues. For U.S Retailers though the financial benefits definitely seemed to be there, so I'm kind of puzzled as to why their membership is only at 80 retailers.

posted 2:16 am PST | Permalink

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