Geek On A Budget: January 2011
Jan 7, 2011 by     7 Comments    Posted In: Columns, Geek On A Budget

Geek logoLet’s face it. There’s not a lot of money going around these days. But fun still needs to be had. For 2011 offers you this monthly column as a means of helping you find ways of pursuing the hobby of collecting comic books without having to sell your vital organs on the black market. Geek On A Budget will give you ideas on how to save a dollar or ten while enjoying the fun hobby of comic book collecting. In this first installment of the column we discuss online options of frugality.

Your local brick and mortar comic book shop  is a trooper in terms of retail business. Consider that most comic books are non-returnable as opposed to magazines and books sold at non-specialty book stores. This means that the comic book retailer must attempt to predict how many of each book will sell and order approximately that amount. Any books not sold become part of the inventory. Add to that the fact that the customer pool is relatively small and that overhead costs are significantly high – rent, maintenance, heating lights and so forth. I have much respect and admiration for comic book shop owners and managers. They overcome great business challenges! Online comic book dealers have their own set of challenges but they avoid overhead costs. For this reason they can afford to offer discounts on the product.

Many comic book collectors are making the switch to purchasing books and related comic book paraphernalia exclusively online. There are pros and cons to shopping online.


  • Discounted prices. Some online stores offer huge discounts on comic books. Sometimes up to 75% off! Additionally, many stores offer reduced or free shipping when ordering more than a predetermined amount. And generally the average regular price of online stores is lower than the average regular price of brick and mortar shops.
  • Convenience. You can shop right from your living room at online stores and the product is delivered right to your door.


  • Shipping delays. In order to benefit from the best online store discounts it is usually judicious to wait until you can order “in bulk”. Plus you have to wait until the books have physically been shipped to your home. If you like your weekly routine of going to the shop and getting your books as they are released, this may mean you will have to adjust your reading habits. For many, the money saved by shopping this way is well worth the wait.
  • Alternative social interaction. Part of what makes the hobby fun is the sense of community that exists among collectors and readers. The cultural hub of the hobby is no doubt the local comic shop. There are online alternatives for discussing the hobby and interacting with fellow collectors. has a message board where users of the site’s service can go and talk about comic books. Click here to go to the message board. There are many other websites one can find where fans of comic books can interact with each other.

Here is a short list of some online stores that offer great discounts.

A popular one is Discount Comic Book Service – more commonly known as : Check them out here – They offer giant discounts! However, if you live outside the US, shipping is much more expensive.

A Canadian alternative to is They are essentially the equivalent to DCBS but of course cater specifically to Canadian consumers.

UK collectors have a few options available to them. Comicdomain and ComicGuru are two popular stores.

Finally, if you prefer reading your comics in collected format check out the reputable a sister site to They specialize in collected editions, trade paperbacks and hardcovers.

Some comic book shops are branching out online and making their stock available for online purchase at discounted prices. Ask your local comic shop if they do this. I personally do not use online comic book shops. They do not quite fit my needs. I have found other ways of enjoying the hobby while saving money. Next month I will be focusing on this subject. It is a 100% free no catch no gimmick online collection cataloging and database service.
If you haven’t already, setup an account by going to the home page and clicking “sign up”.

Jason Newcomb is a frugal Canadian geek. He can be found at his local comic book shop diving in dollar bins and playing other people’s board games. He would like it if you shared this article on facebook or twitter.


7 Comments Add Comment

  • Daniel Clouda January 8, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Hi Jason!

    I just wanted to say thank you for the post “Geek on a Budget” and the kudos to brick and mortar comic book shops.

    I have collected comics since I was 8 years old (now am 31) and in 2008 I decided to open up a comic/hobby shop in my town because there was no comic shop here and I was getting the shakes from withdrawl of comicbooks. I also paired it up with an organic coffee bar too….i love my mochas…

    You are SO right with how tough it is to predict what to order and put on the shelves…my inventory has grown so much just from over ordering in the first couple of years of testing out the market, and now even though I have a good idea of what my customers like, there is always books going into my inventory boxes.

    The overhead is extremely high and after 2 and a half years, we are FINALLY starting to turn it around for the better.

    Going through the experience I have had, I would definitely not reccommend opening your own comic shop to just anyone..there is a lot more to it than meets the eye…but if it really is something you want to do, by all means it is so rewarding being able to find those special issues for yuor customers that just make them smile.

    My name is Daniel Clouda and I own a shop called C4 Clouda’s Cards Comics Coffee and More in Chilliwack BC AND I APPROVE OF YOUR POST!

  • nisav January 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    When i was younger there was a comic shop i used to patron and as any good patron i got to know the owner, great guy. I think every true comic book collector at some point in their lives dreams of owning or running a shop, yep that thought crossed my mind a couple of times, that is until i as set straight.

    The owner of that shop would tell me what it takes to run the shop and all the difficulties that come with it, everything from having to deal with the building owner, to the comic distributors, and we can’t forget the customers. That dream of owning a shop all of a sudden didn’t seem all that great anymore and over time dwindled away.

    At one point his lease was up, and the building owner being a greedy ******* doubled this guys rent, well knowing he couldn’t afford it. I asked the guy why the building owner would do that and the answer was he was looking to rent the space out to a hair salon (there were only 3 other salons within 5 blocks of this place, obviously one more was needed urgently) but he couldn’t just kick him out, so increasing the rent did that for him. So the shop closed.

    During the everything must go phase i asked him what he was going to do now that he had to close the shop. Obviously he wasn’t reopening the shop somewhere else, basically due to the frustrations and difficulties that come with running a comic shop. He said some friends were trying to get him work at a various places they worked, so he wasn’t sure yet.

    Ran into the guy a few months later while making a deposit at a bank. He was now a bank teller. I asked him what he though of his new career and he said he was actually happy, didn’t have to put up with the frustrations of the shop anymore.

    I love visiting my local shops and browsing the inventory, you never know what you will come across or who you will come across. The social aspect of a shop can’t be beaten by anything online. But if i cant find something i want at the local shop, i do hit the intertubes and order it online. Living in the US most of the time the availability and prices online just can’t be passed up.

  • Jason Newcomb January 8, 2011 at 9:36 pm


    Great insider insight! Stay tuned for next month’s article where I’ll be highlighting some advantages of shopping at brick and mortar stores.

    Thank you for reading!


    I’m with you. I love going to the local shop. Especially that they have tables that we can use play board games!

    And that story about the shop owner, just brutal! I’m glad it turned out ok in the end though.

  • Hardy January 9, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Speaking of being on a budget, with gas prices starting to creep back up, it may be wise to make a trip to the shop every other week rather than weekly, which is easier said than done when you’ve got the hots for a certain title (Namely, me).

  • Jason Newcomb January 9, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Hey Hardy, thanks for reading!

    I live downtown in a small city so I’m close to everything. I can just jump on a bus and I’m at the shop in two minutes so I would not have anticipated the cost of gas. Less frequent trips to the shop is a great way to trim the corners, so to speak. Thanks for the comment!

  • Gavin February 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Great article. I recently got back into the comic collecting hobbie and foudn a comic store around the corner from me. They also do a lot online which I really enjoy as I now have a pull list setup with them. I also like to go in just to browse the inventory and see what else I find. Thanks for the canadian online mention. I have some back issues I am looking for that I will ask around. Everything seems to be in the US.

  • Jason February 10, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Hey thanks for reading Gavin and welcome back to comics!