Monday, October 12, 2009

Comic Book Collectors - Which one are you?

Nice little video that outlines the four different types of comic book collectors. My opinion is that the four different types are a good start but there are several collectors that are parts of two or more types. Which one (or more) are you?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Time to eBay again....

Well, we really never left eBay at all but don't do nearly as much as we used to there. Why? The biggest deal was the huge increase in eBay store fees. The increase wouldn't have bothered us too much except that we opened an eBay store - and stocked it pretty full - after eBay went on a huge advertising campaign to get eBay sellers to get a store. Nag, Nag, Nag.... or at least that is how it seemed.

Then the huge fee increase - listing fees went from a penny to 5¢ (now they are 3¢ for items listed at $24.99 or less) and final value fees skyrocketed. eBay's response through all of this was something like "we are an auction site and most of our listings are not auctions so we had to make a motivational environment so that folks would list their items as auctions and not fixed priced items."....Or something like that. Auctions end quickly and final value fees are collected by eBay just as quickly - fixed price items can linger around for months or years before eBay gets a chance to collect final value fees. Sure, they collect the listing fees each month but they are a small fraction of what eBay collects for final value fees.

Well, we bit and built the store and then the fees skyrocket - obviously, we took down the store and decided to maintain a few fixed priced items and do the occasional auction - just to maintain a minimal eBay presence. There was some quote - and I don't know who said it - that was in regards to a company the person represented. It went along the lines of "We want to be the type of company that people want to stay in business". Well, after eBay put the old switcheroo by enticing sellers to GET A STORE NOW and then hiking fees, it is safe to say that many sellers - Walkin' Willie's Comix included - felt like eBay was NOT a business that we wanted to stay in business anymore.

Auctions are dicey these days as eBay traffic is down (in my opinion only...) and one can hardly get good value for items. The only things that do well are items in very high demand - for the comics category, that is high grade (CGC or ungraded) keys, low grade keys and newer items that are very rare (e.g. Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite slipcase edition which was only printed to initial orders). The run of the mill VG copy of any common, non-key Silver Age book is now very lucky to get 50% of guide, most often only fetching 30% of guide or so.

So why are we now listing on eBay? Good question...

We are now listing on eBay to do nothing more than create traffic for our other two websites - which is for trade paperbacks, graphic novels and CGC graded books and which is for heavily discounted comic books (hmmm.... you didn't know about that last one did you? More to come on that in a later post....).

We are thoroughly transparent in our motives - when you win and/or buy one of our items on eBay, you will get an e-mail asking if you want to sign up for our newsletter and promoting our other websites. However, you will only get ONE e-mail per transaction as we are NOT spammers.

And we're not puttin' up junk either - right now, our listings include many keys (minor ones that is...) and the first four JLA Crisis crossovers from the Silver Age. The whole idea is to get you comic lovin' folks to get over to our other two websites and spend all of your disposable income. Hey, we don't want to take food off your table - just the disposable income...

And it is getting better on eBay - for one, they have finally woken up and have starting kissing major eBay seller butt. HELLO!!!! After years of making we sellers out to be the major of all necessary evils, eBay in their infinite wisdom has figured out that the ticked off sellers were leaving in droves. After years of promoting the limp Powersellers program that really only awarded volume of sales with next to no regard in quality, they now have a Top Sellers program that rewards sellers for providing quality service. Gee, it seems like common sense but it took around five years for eBay to get it - and whose to say they really "got it"....

It isn't just eBay though, there are problems with other online venues that has caused Walkin' Willie's Comix to rethink our strategy. That will come in another post in the very near future.

Until then, take a look at what we have on eBay - there's a LOT more to come....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thank you Heroes-Con and Dragon*Con!

And that thanks goes out to both the convention organizers and volunteers as well as the attendees!

Heroes-Con is probably one of the most "pure" comic shows in the country - especially for a three day show. What I mean by "pure" is that 90% of the dealers are comic dealers. Oh there are a couple of video and t-shirt dealers out there but all in all, it is pure comics. This year was my second best Heroes-Con ever and again, we thank the customers. Hopefully, the dates for next year's Heroes-Con will be announced soon.

Dragon*Con is a whole different animal - it bills itself as the "largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the US." - and yes they are... They have well over 32 programming tracks and comics is only one of them.

Dragon*Con has expanded into four huge hotels now and - in my opinion - their biggest challenge is managing their growth. People that have gone to Dragon*Con for years now have kids that have grown up with it and they are telling their friends and... well, you get the idea.

Now as far as Walkin' Willie's Comix is concerned, this year's Dragon*Con was by far our best yet. We had a great setup as can be seen on the left and we have plans in place to improve it even more.

Right now, we are planning on four major shows for next year. Right now, Mega-Con, Heroes-Con and Dragon*Con are definites and we are looking for one more. Obviously, it will depend on the dates and how far it is from ol' Swannanoa, North Carolina.

More to come - we have a fairly huge announcement coming on January 4th, 2010!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

eCrater, eBay & Dragon*Con.....

This is probably the busiest August Walkin' Willie's Comix has had in a long while. Dragon*Con is only 21 days away (that's 23 days for attendees) and it has become our biggest show of the year. Obviously, a large amount of time will be spent preparing for that extravaganza - that show has really grown a ton over the last few years. There are not a whole lot of comic dealers there which is a shame. All the bigtime dealers used to come to Dragon*Con back in the late 1980's through the early 1990's. Now it has become more Sci-Fi and Fantasy oriented with only around seven or eight comic dealers there. Comic dealers that do well at Dragon*Con have merchandise with low price points - folks will buy bargain bin books, $10 (or less) Silver and Bronze age and discount trades. They will not buy $5000 CGC books.

Secondly, we are ratcheting up our inventory over at our eCrater store with literally hundreds of discount books loaded up in the past month. We will start putting up some old stuff this week - there is a little up there but not near enough. Basically, our Walkin' Willie's Comix eCrater store will have (and already has) a ton of single issues WAY below price guide prices. There are still some trades and hardcovers there but they will be moving to our own Walkin' Willie's Comix website website at

We are throwing a ton onto eBay as well. eBay is not the huge elephant in the room it once was but it still gets a ton of eyeballs and we are hoping we can move some of those eyeballs to our eCrater store and our own website. We have twenty auctions ending starting tonight and finishing tomorrow night and twenty more for next week (although that number will grow today). eBay used to be our main revenue stream but not anymore - too many other sales channels with better profit margins EVEN selling at steep discounts. eBay is now much, much better for BUYING than SELLING - you can really get some bargains there now.

Our long term strategy is to do shows for about five more years and then hopefully, we have developed the online relationships with customers to stay just online only after that. Maybe do a couple of shows with one table or booth once in awhile but mainly attend shows to BUY merchandise.

It's extremely busy around Walkin' Willie's Comix right now but that's a good thing....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

eCrater - the best eBay alternative....

Well, eCrater is the best in our opinion because a) it is FREE, b) it works and c) every Google search for eBay alternatives - as well as eCommerce articles - seem to put eCrater as one of the top two or three eBay alternatives. Let's face it, eBay fees have gone so sky high that one has to look where one can to cut costs. Pretty much we just use eBay to market our other selling channels - it is a minor player for us.

Another nice eCrater feature is that they host all the photos. That allows merchants to put up some really low-cost merchandise since they don't have to host the photo on their own server or on some other image hosting service. There are no limits on the number of products and the number of categories or sub-categories - that is nice. They give you your own subdomain, er... for example - so you can build your own store.

In fact, the only criticism we have is that there is no alphanumeric sort for products. Really.... that is the only criticism we have. Yeah, it would be nice to have an inventory download (they have a bulk upload but we haven't tried it yet) but we can live without it.

The admin interface is very, very clean. Google attributes are very easy to add which helps immensely in Google product search. If you have someone to scan books for you (Thanks Melissa!), it makes it even that much quicker.

How can it be free? Well eCrater makes a little on any sale using Google Checkout, they make some on premium product placement on their main eCrater site and then they use Google Adsense in certain places on their site but not in your store.

Well, as far as Walkin' Willie's Comix is concerned, we are loading up inventory on our eCrater store. We are adding hundreds of books per week so check us out - and if you have something to sell yourself, you can't go wrong with eCrater and the price SURE is right....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thanks to Adventure-Con and Heroes-Con!

Just want to pass my appreciation to the staffs at Adventure-Con in Knoxville, TN and Heroes-Con in Charlotte, NC - both were great shows.

Adventure-Con is a growing show and is a cross between comics and fantasy/science-fiction. The biggest thing those folks need to do is figure out their marketing and get more folks in the door. Scheduling is another concern as it was the same weekend as the Bonaroo Music Festival, just 167 miles away from Knoxville. Still, it was a nice show and hanging out in Knoxville was very nice and the staff at Adventure-Con was, again, top knotch.

Heroes-Con has been around for a looooong time and it is definitely one of the great pure comic book shows in the world. Tons of creators, fans and dealers attend and, listening to most dealers, everybody seemed to do well at this show. I know ol' Walkin' Willie's Comix had a fine show and looking forward to next year for sure. Shelton Drum and his staff know how to put a show together for sure.

Ol' Willie's has two more shows scheduled for the year - maybe one or two more in the fall. First up is the venerable Charlotte Comic-Con which is - in my opinion - just like they bill themselves: The best one day family friendly show in the country. Just comic dealers, creators and fans. It is coming quickly - Sunday, July 12th - so CHANGE your plans and come on down. This show has everything from the most expensive graded books down to the 3 for a dollar bins. We are somewhere in between - we will be bringing a decent Atomic Age collection, Silver and Bronze Age for sure and then - something new for us - 14 boxes of DEEP discount trades and hardcovers. Hopefully, we can draw some money off the floor - we'll see.... If not, then I'll walk around the room and see if their are any deals to be had. Doors open at 10:00 and it is only a six hour deal so plan accordingly.

Finally, Walkin' Willie's Comix is gearing up for Dragon*Con over Labor Day. This is turning out to be our best show of the year. I've said it again and again and again: If you have never been to Dragon*Con, you need to do it once in your life. It is one heck of a show....... more to come later

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Idiocy That Is South Carolina....

The announcement came out in yesterday's papers - the ACC is taking its baseball tournament out of Myrtle Beach, SC and moving it to Durham and Greensboro for the 2011 - 2013 editions. You can read it here or in The State - Columbia, SC newspaper.

The bottom line is that the tournament is being moved because the South Carolina Chapter of the NAACP didn't sign off on the tournament being held in Myrtle Beach. The NCAAP didn't sign off on the ACC baseball tournament - just as they haven't signed off on any pre-determined NCAA, SEC or ACC championship held in South Carolina - because the Confederate Flag is still flown on state capitol grounds.

If you can, try to forget that flying the symbol of a treasonist cause on state capitol grounds is wrong enough, just imagine all the tourist revenue South Carolina is missing out on by losing the ACC Baseball Tournament for three years. There were 39000+ fans that attended the 2009 tournament in Durham, NC. Now that most likely is not 39k different individuals but if you assume a moderate 8,000 middle-class fans with disposable income coming in to your town for five days or so over three years, that is a LOT of economic impact. That isn't counting the eight teams with their players, coaches, administrators, etc. needing hotel rooms, food and such - that's a bunch of moolah too...

Also figure that Durham, NC is not exactly a tourist hotspot and the prospects of higher attendance at tourist-mecca Myrtle Beach surely had the ACC head honchos salivating at the money they too would rake in for the event.

All the SC State Legislature needs to do is just take down the flag... do it quietly without fanfare and most likely, no one - or not many - will really even care or even notice. The fact that they won't do it is somewhere between idiocy and gutlessness. After all, it isn't like South Carolina is one of the more affluent states - they are perpetually at the bottom of nearly all economic and education statistical categories. By keeping the flag flying, what cause is the SC Legislature supporting? The right to do stupid - or thoughtless - things regardless of the consequences?

One definition of idiocy is continuing to do the same thing and expect a different result. Does the SC Legislature think that if they keep flying the flag, conference tournaments and NCAA championships will eventually tire of saying "NO" and come back running, arms extended, to South Carolina to hold their events? Not likely....

Read the articles linked above and better yet, read some of the comments posted at the bottom of each one and then make your own conclusions....

Will promise to write something comic book oriented next time... just had to get this off my chest.

Monday, April 27, 2009

2009 Orlando MegaCon 2009 - Our First Experience....

If any of you got the chance to see the photos from the post below, you will know that a LOT of folks had a LOT of fun at the 2009 Orlando MegaCon. My thoughts were if Heroes-Con and Dragon*Con got married and had a baby, it would be MegaCon.

You had the convention center environment and the large call for Golden Age, Silver Age and Bronze Age books that you get at Heroes-Con along with all the people dressed up and wierd stuff for sale that you see at Dragon*Con.

What really surprised me was the number of customers wanting the old stuff - I sort of went in thinking it was a more modern and anime/manga type show. Well, yes it is but if I had a "do over", I would have brought more old stuff than some of the dollar boxes I brought. We still did well and we are looking forward to next year's show - although....grrr... it is the same weekend as the ACC Basketball Tournament.

It was also my first time in Orlando... I know, I don't get out much... Really interesting city - sorta like "build it" and they will come. Since it is in the middle of Florida, there are no beaches but it comes off as a sun & fun type place. Convention center was huge - supposedly the second largest in the country. You are on the outside of the city proper so didn't get a real good look at downtown except for what we saw from the highway. Maybe one day I'll get to go to Disney World....

Anyway, we're starting to get a few shows on our schedule - HickoryCon in Hickory, North Carolina on May 9th, AdventureCon in Knoxville Tennessee on June 12-14, Heroes-Con in Charlotte North Carolina on June 19-21 and Dragon*Con in Atlanta on September 4-7 - will probably add a few more one day shows to the mix.

One of the shows we are looking hard at for next year is the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (or C2E2 for short) on April 16-18, 2010.

I'm in a writing mood so hang on - a lot of posts in the next few weeks....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Orlando MegaCon 2009 - Photo Gallery!

This was my first MegaCon and it certainly was well worth it. I'll write a blog entry in a couple of days with my observations. But until then, feast your eyes on Walkin' Willie's Orlando MegaCon Photo Gallery!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Walkin' Willie's Comix at Orlando MegaCon!

That's right! Walkin' Willie's Comix will be at The 2009 Orlando Megacon on February 27th through March 1st.

We are in booths 1124 and 1126 close to Artist Alley - click here to see a floor map - right click and click on "Zoom In" - we are on the right side.

This is the first time we have done this show and we are looking forward to it! Beat those winter blues and c'mon down to sunny Orlando, Florida!