Speculators sell comics directly to friends, in retail shops, at swap meets, flea markets, garage sales, conventions, and most especially online. The best resale market online for small operators is eBay. It has a “market cap of $28.81 billion, revenue of $2.8 billion and increased it’s dividend 14% for 2019 year-end results” (Source: eBay investor webpage). In addition, there are “168 million active buyers on eBay (Source: Infographic) and 6.7 billion sellers on eBay in 190 markets around the world.” Comic books are a niche in this larger market and obviously, Amazon is an alternative. One of my long-time friends also sells comics online. His results have been nothing short of extraordinary. He has about 131 items listed and owns a store on eBay. With all the macro-economic events, scary pandemic news there are doubts and rhetoric flowing everywhere. I thought it might be nice to review one owner’s small eBay store to find out if his business has dried up?
This comic book store sells his comic books online through eBay. Last year was a pretty “hum-drum” year for 2019. He made solid sales and moved an adequate amount of inventory to stay profitable. How do you think he did for the last month compared to the same time period a year ago? Has the market tumbled and are comic books that were once rare being used as toilet paper? Perhaps the larger online stores have closed up shop and are not selling anymore, could that be right? How about retail stores, they have definitely stopped selling books, right? These are great questions lets answer them in bullet point format so it is very clear on the results:
- Has the market tumbled and are comic books that were once rare being used as toilet paper?
- Not in this household or many others, since people have hoarded toilet paper, I suggest using junk mail (after it has been properly sanitized of course). The long and short, no one is jumping out of windows, we are all staying home, with…wait for it…our collections!
- Perhaps the larger online stores have closed up shop and are not selling anymore, could that be right?
- Several online stores that I use are still in business and running rapid-fire, with auctions, bids, straight-up purchases, “same ole same ole.”
- How about retail stores, they have definitely stopped selling books right?
- Yep, my local comic shop is very well stocked with inventory. Have they let closures stop them? Nope, they continue to operate online through several social media sites. Maybe they are desperate Norm? Nope, still the same high prices they had before.
- How do you think he did for the last month compared to the same time period a year ago?
- My friend who has a comic book online store has had a huge increase in sales this month. Despite the recent stock market decline, unemployment on the rise, and a killer pandemic with everyone staying indoors safely tucked away from the horrible virus; my friend with the eBay store has seen a +123% increase in sales in the last 31 days over last year. Yep, this is a perfect example of not following the hype, and continuing to be a good seller online. Bravo Zulu to my buddy!
Anecdotal evidence aside, what kinds of returns did he get on his books? The returns were average, not over the top and not selling them on the cheap. Simply doing business as he has always done, and meeting the need for comic books head-on with a smile on his face. Here is some pricing for these books compare to the last previous sale per GoCollect.
Actual recent sale price $48
GoCollect last sale $57.88
Actual recent sale price $122
GoCollect last sale $105
Actual recent sale price $135
GoCollect last sale $124
With an increase in sales of +123% the comic book market seems alive and well. Prices are stable and even a little up, based on previously sold comic books per GoCollect. In my mind, the comic book community is bored stiff at home watching Netflix with the family night after night. The urge to buy is building up. This anecdotal evidence covers the Silver Age, Bronze Age, and the early Modern Age of comic books. Think of this anecdotal info as a piece in the puzzle you put together to build your confidence in buying and selling comics. Get your head out of the sand, start buying and selling again online; every other speculator is. Stay safe everyone.