The Comics Reporter has a list of “If I Were The Emperor of Comics: Two Dozen Things I’d Decree To Make Comics Better,” none of which we’d disagree with outright, few of which any responsible comics observer could disagree with, although some of the business suggestions would get a fight. As we head into the Cormac McCarthy model of a world economy, making cave drawings to amuse ourselves may be the only thing we have, so all this may be moot; however, we’d add another one:

#26: Make POS systems of some kind universal in comics shops.
I vividly remember walking into LA’s Meltdown Comics for the first time in many years or so and being amazed at its size and vibrancy, as owner Gaston Dominguez-Letelier ran us through the wide variety of items that sold well in his store. I asked about what he thought of using a point-of-sales system to track sales and he just smiled. “I’ve had POS for 10 years,” he said. Accurate sales information, via computerized inventory tracking, as Brian Hibbs has been telling us, is not only a way to save money but to gauge what readers like buying, not based on prior prejudices of the seller but actual sales numbers. Many retailers have told us that after installing POS systems, they made unexpected discoveries about what kinds of items had the highest turnover in the store. Hint: They were not published by Marvel and DC. Diamond’s POS has been slowly rolling out as it is tweaked, but there are already good systems available, such as MOBY, which Hibbs uses. While some people rail against the direct sales market as an outmoded superhero delivery system, as many people in the book industry would attest, having a dedicated nationwide base of thousands of specialty stores is something most publishers would kill for.

We’ll have more, maybe, after today’s deadline crunch, but in the meantime, read Tom’s piece and ponder.

1 COMMENT

  1. As a customer of both Meltdown and Comix Experience I have noticed how great a POS system for a store it is. It makes things infinitely easy for retailer and customer alike.

  2. As a customer of both Meltdown and Comix Experience I have noticed how great a POS system for a store is. It makes things infinitely easy for retailer and customer alike.

  3. My third quarter was up nearly 15% from 2007, a thing that I primarily attribute to POS helping me order better.

    Chris Arrant: the Marvel cash register program was in the 80s, and it really was a “starter” register of middling quality… you need a little better than bottom of the line for POS, IMO… plus the software, ongoing support, an internet connection in the store, and so on and so forth. I doubt it could be done for under $1800-ish for a store. That’s a bit different than a $200-ish cash register.

    (Marvel also didn’t give them away, but rather bought in bulk at wholesale and passed them on at- or near-cost)

    On the other hand, I’m pretty sure that I recovered my capital outlay for the new POS system within the first 8 months, which is way better than I actually expected…

    -B

  4. While Diamond is careful to roll out their Comics Suite system (they want to offer excellent service), they do have a monthly payment plan, and even give a nice discount if you purchase it in cash. (I don’t have my Diamond Summit notes handy, or else I could give a better idea.)

    A generic 15-department cash register will run about $100.

    I’ve been spoiled by Barnes & Noble’s POS system. It made reordering so much easier, it allowed me to track expiremental titles to see if they sold or not, it allowed me to track the effectiveness of displays… It made everything easier.

    How many stores already have an internet connection? Only one register?

    Brian, what improvements would you like to see for your POS system?

  5. I’ve been going to Meltdown since it’s inception: and it is one fantastic store -and they must be doing something right because it keeps getting grander. I love that store!

  6. Chris Arrant —

    My husband has adopted Moby as his platform. This is a very simple breakdown of his costs:

    iMac (refurb) — $950
    Moby — $700
    New receipt printer, cash drawer, barcode scanner, wireless router, etc — $300

    It’s much less time consuming than to do it all by hand the old way, and, as with Brian, it’s made tracking and adjusting inventory much easier, but he intial cost is about $1800-2200 get up and running.