302 Main St, Huntington NY
Escape Pod Comics got in touch with us via twitter, keen to spread the good word: Free Comic Book Day, like all comics on all days, should be there for anybody who’s interested. They sounded like our kind of people, so we asked them about their FCBD.
Introduce your shop to our readers! How would you like to be thought of?
We like to think of ourselves as a book store, that happens to stock only comics. it’s pretty rare for people to say things like “Oh, a book store isn’t for me.” the way they so many do about comic shops. With that in mind, we focus more on Trade Collections and graphic novels than the new monthly floppy comics, especially when it comes to what we display. We also have an entire dedicated Kid’s section, with the latest stuff aimed directly at kids and classics like Popeye and Bone and loads else.
The big thing I envisioned when I opened the shop was a place where people could wander in off the street and learn about comics without any kind of judgement or preconceived notions on either side. I like to think we’ve done a decent job of it, from the numerous people each week (either for the first time or on a return trip) who I spend time with, showing them different books and discussing the diversity of the medium. In fact, while I was writing this I helped a woman buy a birthday gift for her “future grandson-in-law.” She had no idea what to get him, and was going to go with a gift card. After we talked a bit she left with Joe Sacco’s The Great War and the reprint of the first two issues of Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein Alive Alive!
How long have you been doing FCBD?
This will be my second. We only opened a few months before FCBD last year, so this one is going to be very different, now that we’ve got a full year of being around under our belts.
What does it represent for you?
FCBD is sort of like the corporate version of what we try to do here, to me- there’s a little something for all sorts of readers and there’s no risk of buying something you won’t like. For me, the word “free” is a great one, because it helps get people into the shop. Once they’re in, they look around and see we’re nothing like the store they see on The Big Bang Theory or Comic Book Men and that’s half the battle for a return visit already won!
Do you build a larger event around it?
Well, last year we had no idea what to do, so we just stocked heavily on the books. This year, we are actually having not only our FIRST singing ever, but our 2nd as well. You see, we’re closed on Saturdays, so our FCBD is actually on MAY 4TH, Sunday, not the 3rd, so I was able to get some people who were already committed for the day before. We’re going to have Jimmy Gownley, (part of his new YA autobiography The Dumbest Idea Ever is the FCBD offering from Scholastic) of the wonderful Amelia Rules! series here and Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder signing Rocket Girl books. We’ve also got some local artists coming in, including one who made an exclusive print for the event that I really think captures what our store is all about (attached) also, of course, a store-wide sale.
Does FCBD result in a same day sales bump or new customers?
Well, we’ve only had one so far, and it did both of those things. Last year’s FCBD was one of our three or four biggest days of business and more than one of my semi-regular browsers discovered us on that day itself!
Do you try to make your shop particularly welcoming on FCBD? How?
My shop is ALWAYS welcoming. It’s kind of what we’re all about, in a way. We have lots of open space and bright lighting, chairs to sit in and books of pretty much every kind on display, year round. The adjustments we’ve made have more to do with space, as we expect to be quite crowded. so we moved some tables and tried to arrange things for an easy flow of movement for the customers.
What do you hope for from future FCBDs? What could they do to make it more special/effective?
I’d like more small press companies and publishers to be able to put out FCBD books- I know Diamond isn’t going to help them, but I would gladly pay the same price I pay for the Viz Media manga offering to Terry Moore for a Rachel Rising FCBD book. But the “levels” of sponsorship that Diamond requires pretty much makes it impossible for tiny companies or self-publishers like Moore to play the game.