Over at Newsarama, Vaneta Rogers talks to retailers about POS systems:

“Making the transition from cigar box to cash register was not only expensive, but actually took longer to ring up customers. Yet, it was essential,” said John Robinson, co-owner of Graham Crackers Comics Ltd. in Naperville, Ill. “It’s ridiculous and laughable when you come across comic stores that don’t have cash registers to ring up their customers. The same is going to be true for the frightened few that don’t make the transition to POS system in the next few years.”

It’s not just Diamond’s POS system that is being adapted, but other systems such as Moby. We suspect this will continue to be a huge story in 2008, although not in a way that is obvious. It will be more evolutionary and slow as retailers discover the difference between what they think they sell and what they actually sell.


  1. POS is expensive, and the data entry can become tedious. Bookstores have been computerized since the early 1990s.
    The revolution of graphic novels in bookstores and libraries is a direct result of being able to track sales and circulation by title.
    At my Barnes & Noble, I know which Showcase titles sell and which do not. I know that customers will spend three more dollars for a hardcover edition of Asterix, and that the 3in1 Tintin books do not effect sales of the single volumes.
    What epiphanies will comics retailers uncover, and how will it effect Marvel and DC?

  2. “POS is expensive, and the data entry can become tedious.”

    The data entry need not be any big deal, really — MOBY, for example, comes with a pre-populated database going back 7-ish years, that you wouldn’t really NEED to edit significantly.

    Diamond’s system, if I recall correctly, comes with your last 6 months of orders built in.

    NEW items don’t need to be “entered” at all — you simply import the monthly order form, and records are automatically created for all new items, with all of the fields populated. Same thing with your weekly invoices.

    (A smart person RECHECKS that data, of course – but you don’t have to do it from scratch)


  3. “What epiphanies will comics retailers uncover, and how will it effect Marvel and DC?”

    I guess you won’t find out, if you’re not going to try.

  4. I’m sorry this whole excuse from a select group of retailers that it actually ‘takes longer to ring up people” is hogwash. We’ve been using Comtrac with a scanner since 1996 in our stores and have had zero problems with customers complaining about the wait. Now sure some of the independent companies that didn’t have barcodes, we have to look them up by title, but with Comtrac that’s a snap to do as you can do a search on the title and there it is. This is not a knock on Moby or any of the other systems, it’s just the one we use. Customers are used to stores with scanners (Best Buy or your local grocery store) and POS systems. Really with POS systems, no matter which one you use, WILL help you inventory the store better and faster.

  5. “I’m sorry this whole excuse from a select group of retailers that it actually ‘takes longer to ring up people” is hogwash. ”

    I wasn’t one of the people who mentioned that as an issue, but it is clearly the case that typing “7” “x” “299” “category” into a cash register is much faster than individually scanning seven different bar codes…


  6. We have had a POS system (Comtrac) since day one. While there are always little glitches and both human and bar code errors, it is an essential part of our store. I don’t know how retailers function without it. We can see how things are selling, we can keep track of customer subscriptions and special orders, we can check to see if we ordered something and how many. There are just so many important things that would be so time consuming to do by hand, and would probably lead to even more errors.

    We actually had several customers switch to shopping at our store vs another in town because we had a computer and a POS system and the other place didn’t. People just felt that we’d be more accurate with their orders and able to do a better job of stocking comics than a store without those tools.

  7. I don’t think any of the stores I regularly shop in have POS systems.

    I always found that a comics shop has enough ‘down time’ during the week to do all of the paperwork that a POS system would simplify. This, admittedly, is based on anecdotal evidence of stores not in major metropolitan cities or parts of large chains.

  8. Speaking as someone who’s been a retailer in the regular ol’ books world (as opposed to the magical comicbookland) for the last eleven years, it amazes me the “POS is weird” news story continues to have legs. POS systems aren’t that expensive, and pretty much every retail store in America has them except discount shops in Chinatown that sell weird candies and sundry unidentifiable goods, and, for some reason, comic book shops.

    Sorry, doing business in this day and age without a POS system is just dumb. It’s all PRO. The CON arguments basically boil down to laziness, stupidity and inertia.