Friday, July 18, 2008

Fiduciary Friday: Nickel and dimed

OK, this isn't really going to become a regular feature, but it is a topic I'll probably come back to once in a while because, just as it does with everything else, money makes the comic book world go 'round.

A few months ago I asked the question, "How is the slipping U.S. economy affecting the way you buy comics?" Most of the respondents (as I remember it — I know I saved it, but for the life of me I can't find my copy of the poll results) said that, so far at least, the economy hadn't had any affect on the amount of money they regularly spent on comics.

When the final results were in, I was a little surprised until I realized my buying habits hadn't really changed either. Sure, I was more aware of how much money I was spending, and there were occasions when I would cut a comic from my weekly pile, but for the most part I tended to spend the same amount of money week after week. Things were just beginning to look shaky on the national economic front, but it wasn't enough to have any real, personal daily impact.

That, as they say, was then. Luckily for my wife and I, our lifestyle hasn't changed dramatically, but it has changed a bit. And if we were aware of expenditures before, brother you better believe we're really aware of them now. Aware enough that I found myself wondering last week, "Hm ... does it make sense to spend this money every week when I could save a little cash by buying trades of the stuff I really, really want instead? Am I just wasting my money?" (You'll notice I didn't consider not buying comics at all — what are you, crazy?) I also know I drop titles that I'm iffy about more quickly now, and I've also cut titles to make room for new ones I'm interested in so I can stay within my spending range.

Like of lot of the poll respondents I've got a weekly budget, and at $15 to $20 I think mine is fairly modest (especially compared to some of the buy-lists I've seen on other blogs that regularly have a couple of dozen books listed, as well as trades, hardcover collections and omnibuses). I also know that if the cover price of a comic was to rise in any significant way (which I think could be a distinct possibility), it would definitely mean less comics would be coming home with me.

And that brings me to my question: How much money do you spend on comics every week? How would a price increase your buying habits? And I'd also like to know how you'd answer a familiar question — has the worsening U.S. economy affected how you buy your comics?

There is a caveat (ain't there always?): I know many of you work in comic book shops or subscribe to a pull, so I'd like to know how much you spend with and without the discount because even a small cut in price can make the difference between picking up a particular comic or not. There will be a couple of polls over on the right, and I'd really like to hear your opinions in the comments.

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