Comic Book Investing, Associated Risk and How to Minimize It
Comic book risk is no different from any form of investment. No person should buy anything that puts them in financial straits. I am including a piece from my about page to make sure it is stated again.
No doubt much of this page will have information which seems obvious. I need to remind myself often enough that I am compelled to include it here for you. As well, these concepts are talked about and expanded upon through the site. Let this page be a starting guidepost.
Comic Books in Your Financial Future
Firstly, I need to state that there are no certainties in life. That definitely holds true for comic books. This space is fickle and a book will gain or lose value so rapidly your head could spin. I look for books that have a slower burn.
Expanding on that, no one knows anything certainly about the future of comic books. Including me and certainly random voices in the wires. Do not fall victim to the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). That is an exceptionally powerful force and at times we all succumb to the lure. Why? Becasue it is a fool’s errand and you will likely never have every book.
Comic Book Fools
This notion that if we do not buy a certain comic book we will be left wanting. No matter the price. It is a sure deal and we do not want to be on the sidelines. I’m here to tell you to stand pat on the sidelines. Yes, you will absolutely miss out on books. I miss regularly on books. That is okay. I also hit on numerous books.
Missing on a book you do not buy is better than missing on one you did buy.
The secret no one talks about is there are always new comic books releasing. Yup! Every Wednesday. Let that sink in. I am suggesting this to you. When you next are visiting your Local Comic Shop (LCS), really take in the Wednesday Wall. Clearly not every title is a winner, yet look at the number of options. This is happening pretty much 52 weeks a year. You can always find new spec but not every week is there new spec.
Missing on a book is not missing out. You just do not have that issue. That is okay.
Study Comic Books Before You Buy
Paying attention is the simplest skill to reduce your comic book risk. Most people are spending more time deciding what they are going to be watching on Netflix than what they are spending on with hard earned dollars. This research is provided by the firm of Tongue & Cheek. That said, it is not far off truth. We hear Issue X is going to be big! The next huge deal! You won’t want to miss this! We spend. I’ve done it and I’m willing to bet you have too.
What did we buy? Someone else’s proclamation about a book or character we know nothing about. Yes, these definitely can hit. However, more regularly it is a very short window to recover any capital. Often times this is referred to as “pump and dump” implying the items is hyped and moved for profit. Frequently people already have stacks that they want to capitalize upon by selling to you. This happens in a few ways.
How to Get Tricked
One way could be a short print run is bought out ahead of time, demanding you to hit eBay or other group sites to buy at a premium. Another is local speculators buy up shop inventory forcing other local customers to, again, head to those online outlets. Ultimately, this drives you into the traps of the Pump and Dump crowd. You often find yourself losing your money in the long run while they profit. Do not fall for that ploy.
If you were wondering, there is money to be made flipping books but it is a serious time commitment. I do not focus on this style of playing the comic book market. If you want to do this, you will find better ideas on other sites.
The biggest driver for the Pump and Dump crowd is FOMO. It adds risk to comic books. But here’s the deal, not everyone reads the same sites you do. Further, not everyone belongs to the same groups / pages / etc. you do. The people who do is often times your selling targets. Once they have their copies, they are not looking to buy yours. In the end you have no one to sell to. It’s a very incestuous space.
Yes, books will hit occasionally and the heat will bring boil. That is not often given the number of books being hyped every week. Following all the suggestions will leave you with stacks of books you do not care about. Most importantly other people will not either. Please do not do that with your hard earned capital. Put it into something you like or believe in to reduce your comic book risk.
Comic Books Are Not Sedentary
The industry is always changing and values are on the move. Hot today. Cold tomorrow. Make sure you are understanding what you are buying, and at the very least be okay with every purchase potentially being zero value. Harkening back to the start, do not buy anything that puts you into a bad financial situation. It is never worth it.
Placing money into comics requires tending the garden. Staying vigilant will lead to a maturing and blossoming collection. You would not throw seeds on the ground and walk away expecting to be a gardener, right? Instead you are regularly pulling weeds and harvesting when things ripen. Comics require work to reap rewards.
Know Your Comic Book Roles
Lastly, you need to decide if you are a collector, investor, or reader for every book you buy. It is possible to be all three. However each role has a different approach outlined below.
Collector: You might buy a book to complete a run or set for a title or specific character. Collectors typically are not as worried about condition, it’s more about having the title in the collection in your long boxes.
Investor: Normally you are looking at a book like a stock. Expectations on it, for whatever reason, are to behave positively over time. Condition / rarity / entry price are highly important. Meticulous care and protection are offered to every book.
Reader: Condition doesn’t matter, and you can store them however you want. From this position, I am suggesting you discover Trade Paperbacks (TPB) as a means for you to obtain a better bang for your buck. Bonus, they normally have better resale value than the individual issues would (Broad stroke there).
Are Comic Books Right for You
If you read this far, you might have a sense of your answer. No one really knows. However, getting a sense of what you are doing to reduce will help you reduce your comic book risk. Learning how to find better titles and develop a collection that is tailored to you will yield a less risky collection. The whole endeavor becomes far more rewarding. While none of these suggestions are promised to work and no single title can definitely be a winner, it is possible for you to certainly improve your odds. It is important to always remember your goals and eliminate risk.