In response to David Welsh’s post on the subject, as well as the follow up thread at Comics Should Be Good, I thought I’d take a moment and talk about where and how I buy my comics. I’ll rip off David’s Welsh’s format:
At the Comics Shop: Shopping at comics specialty stores can be something of a frustrating experience for me. I only purchase good old-fashioned comic books at such establishments, and I follow just enough of those to justify a trip to one of two local stores every week or every two weeks. Because these stores focus primarily on mainstream comics, that’s what I buy there. I don’t have a pull-list, so I usually have to look elsewhere for the few alternative/art comics that are released in that format. Often, what I’ll do is just keep a list of these sorts of comics and pick them up when visiting either Quimby’s or Chicago Comics, which I do maybe twice a year or so (I live in Milwaukee). I’ve never really liked having a pull-list, for a couple of reasons: 1. I like to browse and choose my purchases on the spot, rather than months in advance, and 2. This may be silly, but there’s something in me that would rather spend money at a store that already allots shelf space to, say, Sammy Harkham’s Crickets, than one that doesn’t. Yeah, I’m a dick.
At the Bookstore: My buying habits are pretty atypical here, simply because I am an employee of a major chain bookstore. So, all of my graphic novels and collected editions, all of my manga, is purchased through work so that I can use my employee discount. Usually, I have to special order the books I want because they are not typically stocked at my store, which is easy enough to do. Also, a tip for you manga fans: If you want to get your books as soon as possible, your best bet is to preorder upcoming volumes from a bookstore. I usually get my copies earlier than they would have shown up on the shelves. I’m guessing this probably works the same way when ordering them online.
Online: I don’t do a whole heck of a lot of online shopping, although I’m certain I’d do more if not for my job. Sometimes I’ll buy back issues online (although I don’t buy many back issues at all), or I’ll order an alternative/art comic that I just can’t wait to get my hands on, or that I’m afraid may not be available by the time I make it to one of the Chicago shops.