Stephen Holland, Page45, Nottingham
Eisner nominated for good reason, Page 45 is a revelation for many of its visitors. Stylish, welcoming, mature — and that’s just the furniture. People travel internationally to visit Page 45, and I don’t blame them. Big name signings, chances taken on independent creators, regular reviews of graphic releases of all genres on their website… when I was there for a Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley signing in 2012, the queue was down the street and round the corner, and it was COLD. Stephen and his staff are ready at a moment’s notice to direct customers and browsers to the book they want, the book they need, or the train station they’ve lost track of. Run, don’t walk! To Page 45.
How long have you been doing FCBD?
Page 45 has never done FCBD as it is officially perceived. We do At Cost Comicbook Month and are very particular about what we buy in.
What does it represent for you?
A sweet and enormously well intentioned idea which has sadly been hijacked by those whose comics, on the whole, would make the Real Mainstream run a mile and so put them off comics for life.
Do you build a larger event around it?
I would build a barbed wire fence around it, if I could.
Does FCBD result in a same day sales bump or new customers?
Slightly, yes, even though we don’t play by the rules. I would say because we don’t play by the rules.
Do you try to make your shop particularly welcoming on FCBD? How?
Page 45 is always welcoming. Always. Except to Tory MPs.
What do you hope for from future FCBDs? What could they do to make it more special/effective?
Any other comments?
1) Page 45’s approach is to take the spirit in which the event is intended (to convert new readers to comics) and improve upon its pitfalls by selecting the best books on offer and converting them into At Cost Comicbook Month, while reducing other comics we have paid full whack for but which we love to the same minimal price. We charge only what we ourselves are charged, but charging a token 20 pence means those comics are more likely to be read rather than being snaffled up for free then thrown in the recycling bin. Our approach works.
a) We gave away 200 copies of FREE CEREBUS and garnered one solitary sale of a collected edition
b) We sold 600 copies of CEREBUS ZERO at £1-25, saw a five-hour queue outside our old store during the CEREBUS UK TOUR ’93 when Dave Sim and Gerhard came signing, sold approximately 300 collected editions and quadrupled the title’s monthly sales.
2) The public are horrified when they realise that retailers have to pay for the comics themselves. I could record those gasps of shock and send them to you, if you like.
3) That which is endorsed by Stan Lee is rarely good for the medium.