You want that, I have it. I want this, you have it. That’s the most basic building block of an economy. Paper money and coins are just a way of measuring the wants and haves of society. Supply and demand.
Comic book collectors are very familiar with this concept. Trading comic books is quite common among collectors and in an economic dry spell the barter system can be a saving grace like none other. As a collector I like to know what fellow collectors enjoy. If I see a deal on some Savage Dragon books that my buddy loves, I might buy them even if I’m not a Savage Dragon fan. There are advantages to this. One of which is I get to read those books if I’m interested and then trade them in for more books I’m wanting to read. So really, you’re reading more books for the same money. Also, it’s advantageous to sometimes purchase books others like more than you in order to help them out with their collection and in turn, gain a measure of bartering leverage. If the latter part of the equation sounds kind of calculated and cold, that’s unfortunate. Because I’ve had nothing but good experiences trading books with others. Generally, everyone ends up happy. There are however, a few pitfalls to avoid and we’ll discuss them briefly.
#1: Be honest. You must have a reputation as a collector who stays true to his word and is not guilty of deceit. This is especially true on-line where trades are made via snail mail. It is difficult to trade this way because you have less information at your disposal. You can’t take the books in your hand and inspect them for instance. So it’s fair to ask what the condition of the book is and even ask for scans and it is equally fair to provide them if they are requested. Always make good on your word. If you say you’re sending books in the mail tomorrow, do it tomorrow. If you say the book is Near Mint, don’t send a 7.0.
#2: Consider shipping cost. If you are effectuating a trade with an on-line acquaintance, remember that there is a cost associated with shipping books. So basically, the cost of shipping those books becomes the cost of purchasing them. Not to mention that you are losing books as well. Sometimes it’s worth it, sometimes less so.
#3: Use your wish list. If you don’t keep track of your wish list, you will lose focus in your collecting. The tendency can be to hoard books for the sake of hoarding them. If you don’t already have a StashMyComics.com account, go register for free now. It’s easy to use and has an excellent wish list feature. You can consult this to keep your collection from getting out of hand or you can refer others to your wish list so they can quickly ascertain what you are hoping to gain from a trade.
#4: Trading is as much a social exercise as it is a bartering system. When trading, you are not simply gaining a product for a set fee. It is a negotiation between two individuals attempting to achieve a mutual satisfaction. You must practice good communication and social skills. Be courteous and congenial. This will go a long way in establishing your reputation as a comics collector and increasing the likelihood others will want to trade books with you.
Trading with friends can be a very satisfying endeavor. Both fas a collector and as a member of a community of hobbyists. To see someone enjoy books you traded with them and to be able to discuss them after the fact are a big part of the fun in trading. So, don’t be shy! Head over to our forum where we have a trading thread setup for collectors looking to connect with others to trade books. Feel free to look at my wish list and initiate a trade with me! You never know, I might have something you are looking for.