Monday, April 18, 2005

Comics Per Square Foot and Other Stuff

Okay, since my last post a few people — okay, a couple...alright, one — have asked me how I came up with my "number of comic books needed to pay my rent" computation. Allow me to explain, but before I do, let me state flat out that this is a back of the envelope type of computation that really bears only a passing resemblance to reality.

First, I assumed that each comic book I sold would cost $3.00. Most books range from $2.00 to $3.00, but I figured if I factored in trade paperback sales, I would not be totally out of my gourd to suggest that the average cover price of each book is around $3.00.

Next, I assumed that I would get a 50% discount on each book when I bought it from Diamond (the main (only) comic book distributor). This percentage is probably a bit high for the amount of volume I will be moving at the beginning, but it was a good round number to work with.

Therefor, if I sold each comic for $3.00, I would have to use $1.50 of each sale to cover the cost of the product, and I could then use the other $1.50 to pay expenses. Hence, I took the rent of each example and divided it by $1.50 to give me the number of books I would need to sell to pay for my lease.

Of course, there are many other expenses associated with this enterprise — utilities, taxes, insurance, etc. However, there are also additional revenue streams — games, toys, T-shirts, etc. — that would also be thrown in to the computational mix. With the proper level of promotion and luck, one would hope that I could make ends meet.

New Stuff...

I’ve been kicking around on eBay lately trying to get a feel for the costs associated with a point of sale system. As you’d expect, the prices vary wildly depending on what exactly I want to buy (and from whom).

The actual software to run the system looks like it might be relatively inexpensive, about $25 or so. This was actually a lot less expensive than I had thought it would be and the programs would give me more functionality than I could likely ever use. Which is a good thing.

Prices start going up, though, when you try to figure out what exactly you want in terms of the cash register/bar code scanner/credit card machine. I’m inclined to buy everything in a single bundle rather than try to mesh the pieces together on my own. I know this is actually going to cost me more, but if I know going in that on the day I open the store all of the sales hardware and software are actually going to talk to one another, then I look at the extra cost as a piece of mind tax. Of course, if we are talking about a difference in price of over $1,000, then I have to ask myself exactly how much my piece of mind is worth....

On the flip side, I have a computer guru friend who is showing some interest in helping me put all of the pieces together, so that may influence my decisions as well.

I’m pretty sure that regardless of which way I go I will be looking at a PC attached to all of the peripherals as opposed to a more traditional cash register. Since I’m a small store, I just think this will make more sense because I’m not looking for multiple registers feeding information into a central hub. Most likely I’ll have a single computer handling all of the transactions (and transmitting the information to...somewhere keep me from losing all of my data in case someone breaks in and steals the thing).

Furthermore, this would maintain a unified look with the second computer I would have on the sales counter. This computer would have Internet access and be on at all times so that I can show customers important and cool websites that might help to drive up their excitement for a new and existing product. Upcoming movie trailers, websites and forums for particular books and games, comic book news sites are just some of the kinds of information I’d like to be able to show to customers.

Anything you can do to demonstrate to a niche market consumer that they are not the only person enjoying their particular hobby will heighten their own excitement and may very well translate to increased sales.


At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would read your weblog much more frequently if it were called

"Giant Monkey"

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Scipio said...

Jack, quite a few blogs (such as the eminent PostModernBarney) are maintained by comic book store owners. Link to their sites, then write to them. I believe it could generate a world of useful advice.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume that since you seem pretty net-savvy, that you have already heard about and got in touch with ComicsPRO?

just a thought

John from NZ

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