A diamond news release reports a post Free Comic Book Day retailer survey indicates new customers and increased sales — apparently this free sampling thing works.

Comic book specialty retailers who participated in Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) 2006 experienced increases in sales and the amount of new customers generated by the event, according to the results of a post-event survey of participating retailers.

“Even before the survey results were tabulated, retailers who participated in FCBD were sharing their success stories with us,” said Free Comic Book Day spokesperson Elissa Lynch. “These results dramatically support those stories, and reflect how the time and hard work that went into planning the big day paid off for all involved.”

Of the retailers who responded to the survey, which asked them to compare performance in their store this year against last year’s FCBD, approximately 57% experienced higher sales on that day, while 35% experienced significantly increased sales one month after the event.

Additionally, approximately 55% of the respondents said that store traffic for FCBD 2006 was higher compared to last year’s event. (Some stores reported that as many as 90% of their customers on that day were new customers.) Furthermore, 76% of the respondents said that they gained customers in the month following FCBD 2006.

“These statistics illustrate how successfully FCBD accomplished one of its key mission,” said Lynch. “To introduce readers with limited exposure to comics to the wide range of subject matter the medium has to offer — and to encourage those newcomers to return to comic shops on a regular basis.

“Once again, we’d like to thank all of the retailers who participated in this year’s FCBD event,” added Lynch. “We hope these positive results will encourage retailers who have yet to participate in FCBD to come on board for next year’s event on Saturday, May 5, 2007.”

For additional results of the FCBD 2006 Survey, visit http://www.freecomicbookday.com/Fx_Chg-Bdd_Ree_23dosdl34556.pdf.