How to Open a Comic Book Store

Starting a comic book store needs the following: a great background and an even greater passion for comic books; deciding on what kind of store you would like to open, whether it is web-based or not; deciding on what exactly do you wish to sell in your comic book shop; approaching publishing houses and order comic books by the bulk; and finally, keeping up a network of contacts, of like-minded entrepreneurs.

For the unlearned in the ways of caped crusaders and masked villains, starting a comic book business may be a childish endeavor.

Nevertheless, starting a comic book store business is a great way of making money, especially if you have a passion for collecting these magazine-type narratives. This is hardly a childish endeavor, and serious-minded entrepreneurs that sell comic books can be rightfully compared to book dealers of any caliber.

When opening a comic book shop, you must seriously love comics. Nothing can be worse than going to a comic book store that carries nothing that is remotely attractive to customers, or a store proprietor who doesn’t know a thing about the comic collection. Needless to say, comic book enthusiasts and earnest collectors belong to a breed of their own, with their own usable jargon and their own fancies. Great background and an even greater passion for comic books is, therefore, a must.

Perhaps, after careful consultation with your business finances, you may want to decide what kind of store you would like to open. The Internet is a great way of selling online books reaching a global market, especially since comic book enthusiasts range far and wide. Still, if you are intent on setting up a brick-and-mortar store, you need to find a suitable place that can accommodate your overhead business expenses. As a rule, a comic book store is a very low maintenance, with your utility bills at a minimum. Certainly, you won’t need a lot of glitzy lights and movable window displays to attract your potential customers. Also, foot traffic won’t be a huge concern because your potential customers are bound to find you even if you have a store deep in the Himalayas.

Your next agenda is to think of what exactly do you wish to sell. There are many types of comic books, and selling new editions of popular titles is always the very foundation of your money gig. However, more specialized stores are selling collector item pieces, and these are certainly worth much more than selling one or two pieces of the most popular titles. There are also comic book stores that sell every conceivable paraphernalia for the protection and care of rare comic books, so if you have big enough of a workspace, you may want to include that in your list of saleable items.

Once you have decided as to what exactly you wish to sell, you now have to approach publishing houses and order comic books by the bulk. Usually, when you get comic books direct from the publishing houses, you are entitled to great discounts. You can also sort out business if you can find reliable web-based comic book suppliers. If, however, some titles have to go through middlemen, (for example, importing comic books from different parts of the world like Japan, the UK, and Italy, etc.) you can expect your starting prices to be higher than the norm. Keeping your business afloat means you know exactly what the current trends are, and what the most competitive prices you can offer without going broke yourself. Try to keep a wide range and variety of comic books, keeping one or two pieces of comic graphic novels, spiderman comic, superman comic, wolverine comic or an x man comic is of no work, customers need a huge catalog.

Try to keep up a network of contacts: like-minded entrepreneurs selling the same things as you. These contacts are invaluable because they can point you in the right direction especially when it comes to comic book conventions or upcoming sales of rare and out of print comic books.


  • randy said on August 31, 2009
    hello, i'm doing an online comic store and would like to know what licenses or what not that i need. thanks
  • Josh said on September 7, 2009
    do you have to have a college degree to start a comic store?
  • Adam said on September 16, 2009
    Randy - You want to check with your state licensing office to determine what licenses you will need to sell items online. Typically because you are not actually doing anything with the merchandise, none is necessary but you will need to register a trade name with the state if you wish to sell items online and set up a state tax acct at minimum.

    Josh - You do not need a degree of any kind to start a comic book store however if you are looking to get a loan from a bank a degree in business can go a long way.
  • michael said on March 7, 2010
    I'm wanting to open a comic book/ rpg shop for ever. I found many different place in clare, mi. I just dont know where to go from here. I know I have to have a plan for the banks for loans. If i just get pointed in the right direction would be great thanks
  • craig said on April 28, 2010
    Where do you purchase comic book memorabilia for your store? Figures, original art etc.
  • Fran Romano said on May 24, 2010
    please help me in starting a comic book store in Seaford, NY, 11783
  • Rane said on July 19, 2010
    Actually there are very few publishers that sell directly to stores. All the major publishers such as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Image have exclusive distribution contracts through Diamond Comics Distribution Inc. and offer their books and wares strictly through them. After the Comic industry crash of the 90's the distribution chain collapsed leaving only Diamond as a premiere distributor.
  • Nathan said on September 4, 2010
    Hey guys, What is the typical start up cost of a shop? I.E. accounts with distributors, materials (Bags, back boards etc.)As far as permits and licenses, is it just resellers? Or is there something more? Also are here a variety of distributors or is there just one? Thanks!
  • Todd said on December 14, 2010
    As a fairly new comic shop owner, this article just highlights the concept. The biggest nightmare and many sleepless nights is in ordering inventory. You are pretty much stuck with Diamond as the distributor. All the major players (DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, etc) are only available through Diamond. Some of the smaller companies will allow you to order direct (Zenescope, Top Shelf). Start-up costs are hard to say as it may vary by your locale and rent costs. I would suggest no less than $75K to be able to make an impact. This might be able to be less depending on facility, displays, etc. Anyway, good luck all! Follow my store on Facebook - Heroes Landing in Clermont, FL
  • Rich said on December 16, 2010
    My question is this: what is the average cost per book to the retailer - if it costs $2.99 for the consumer, how much does it cost the retailer to get from Diamond? I was trying to get an idea from the website, but it's very general
  • James said on January 5, 2011
    On average, the retailer buys the comic at 50% of the cover price from Diamond. There are minimum orders and the overall discount can depend on how much you do spend and how frequently you order. You have the option of picking up the orders yourself or getting them shipped to you via UPS. Obviously, that option depends on how close you are to a pick up location.
  • Declan said on January 6, 2011
    Hi, i was thinking of opening up a comic book store online, I'm from Ireland and was wondering if you guys have any advice or any hook-ups i could make to get cheaper stock in America rather than buy from Europe. thanks.
  • kris said on January 9, 2011
    On the major line of content
    1.Average cost to open a brick & mortar store
    A.Strip mall $60,000 -$125,000 (first 6 months)
    B.Stand alone $45,000 -$140,000(first 6 months)
    C Mall Store $75,000 - $250,000(first 6 months)
    2.Special Permits :
    A .Business permit (city /county)
    B.Name of business registered with State & federal tax agencies 3.Special training :Examples are,
    A.retail sales( 2 -15 years)
    B.College level business classes in bookkeeping/retail management
    4.Cost of inventory :New versus old ?
    A.New inventory sold to dealers has a variable discount
    structure the more you buy the cheaper per item it costs The lowest discount commonly offered is %15 ,the highest on a very few orders can be %65 (be warned to get that high discount you might be spending $500,000 per Year for product from one vendor B.Old stock,sources exist but for every good deal on 10,000 comics bought for $1,800 ,you might still spend $1,000 on shipping. In simple terms cost of comics 10,000 @ $.18 per comic at time of sale ,Sold at $1.00 each the profit was .82 cents per comic ,... After shipping is added the numbers are as follows:
    10,000 comics @ $.28 per issue ,sold at $1.00 each the profit is now $.72 per issue.
    The Cost of sales most dealers forget is 1 out of 20 back issues sell on average in 1 week,the other 19 may be in stock for 1 to 10 years even at $1.00..
    So to wind it up there might be 500 salable issues out of 10,000 comics ,those 500 might net you $360.00 in profit
  • David said on February 2, 2011
    Hi I am thinking of starting a comic book store as I have always been interested in comics. I live in the uk and was hoping that someone would be able to give me some advice.
  • James said on March 7, 2011
    My question is simple. If you have an average mark-up of 2x how are you able to stay in business? You would need your total store inventory to turn at an incredible rate. Here are the stats as I see them. Say you stock 250 titles per month. You buy at a minimum of 12 of each issue so you are bringing in a total of 3,000 books and the wholesale cost is 1.50 for each book. That's a cost of $4,500 per month and a gross profit of 9,000 IF you sold every book, but lets just say you sell 66% (8 of 12 books) now you've only made $6,000 gross.


    Inventory $4,500 per month
    Rent $800 per month
    Utilities 500 per month.
    (no help you can't afford it)

    a total of $5,800 in expenses your first month and you're netting $200.00 whole dollars. So the next month you buy less, say 8 books per title and you spend less, but you still are never going to sell 100% of your inventory. The math just seems way off. Not nearly enough room for the shops to make money. I need to go give my local comic book dealer a hug. He is stressed and I can see why.
  • James expert adviser said on March 8, 2011
    @James, i am sorry if i misunderstood you. You need a one time investment $4500 and every month earning is $6000. You have expenses as $800(Rent) + $500(maintenance) + $3000(to refill the inventory) = $4300. You will gain $1700 every month from your one time investment of $4500(buying comics) + $10,000(store setup cost).

    Jestin James
    Startup Biz Hub - Senior Advisor (Staff)

  • JA Lukban said on March 13, 2011
    I'm from the Philippines. Planning on opening up a comic shop and would you be able to tell me what are the distributors of comics so that I could bring them in? Who is the distributor of marvel? DC? and independent?
  • Doug beginner adviser said on March 28, 2011
    I went through a business plan, crunched the numbers, dug up demographics for the area, went to a bank for a loan, went for a small business loan, grants, go. And like many have pointed out here, opening up a comic shop, especially in these economic times, is financial suicide. I'm sorry, but it's true. You not only have to have that love for comics, but you also have to have DEEP DEEP POCKETS! Opening a comic shop nowadays is a fruitless venture. If you're still undeterred... good luck!
  • brian said on March 31, 2011
    Hey I want to open a comic store and was wondering what the average price for comics and other graphic novels was from a publisher.
  • Jason Sharp said on May 9, 2011
    i love comic books and toys i just dont know how to start a shop and were to get the licenses
  • Sara said on September 7, 2011
    Its one of my dreams to open up a comic book store of my own, since I am overly obsessed with comics, but after hearing all of the negative things would a cart full of comics at the mall or a boardwalk be a good idea?
  • Craig Thomas said on September 23, 2011
    Hi I'm based in the uk and what I'm looking into, and this is the very early stage, is a web based subscription only store. I would appreciate any pointers any one could give me. As i said it's early days and I'm just starting to do some research so any help would be great.
  • Jason Price said on October 21, 2011
    I've been obsessed with comics since I was a little boy. I'm also handicapped with Cerebral Palsy and my dad says owning a comic shop is a stupid dream and I need to make something of myself and get a degree because i'm handicapped I've enrolled in college but have 0 interest in it. Is this a good idea for me?
  • Bruce Bramley said on February 14, 2012
    I am in St clair shores Michigan and I have already started working on opening my comic book shop. It's all getting started on the weekends at a flea market. The rent is 60 a weekend, and my only other expense is inventory. I ordered 582.44 in comics to start me off. I also have a large board game collection that I will mix in with these comics in order to give a "REAL STORE" look. This will be my very first weekend and man am I nervous. Its only Tuesday and I get my first delivery tomorrow afternoon, but cant start selling until Friday, sat and Sunday. I have also ordered a few boxes of topps baseball that arrived last week to mix in. Wish me luck
  • Nicolas Duncan said on February 18, 2012
    Bruce, that's an interesting way to start. Please, post how you are doing.
  • leen 009 said on February 26, 2012
    help me , i want get the licenses manga from japan company , To translate and sell in my country. What is the site that brings me to the Japanese company to take the statement??
  • alexis lopez said on March 3, 2012
    hey guys, (gals if any), i'm 30, live in the deep down south of texas, and i plan to start a shop. i have tons of comics, and around 50 to 80 trade paper backs, a huge selection of magic cards, pokemon, and yu-gi-oh cards and a room full of action figures. there are 2 shops 20 miles east of me, and 2 shops 25 miles west of me. i want to open a shop right in the middle. i got 6,000 more or less to start. Right now in the area, magic is taking off big time. i started a league and is growing rather popular. the city i live in is also a college town. Everybody is saying to do it, but after seeing those numbers, that really just scared the *&%$ out of me.
  • michael crunchead said on April 25, 2012
    great yarmouth norfolk uk. i'm looking at starting my own stall and eventually opening a shop but am finding it hard to find suppliers for stock that i can sell and make a small profit any help would go down a treat
  • AbbyCat Comics said on April 26, 2012
    Was reading through all the comments... I own a brick and mortar in Riverside, Ca and can say that if I'd have to do it again...I'd punch myself in the face for even thinking about it. Opening a shop is easy, the hard part is bringing in customers. I've been open since July of last year and my clientele is growing, but very slowly. We focus exclusively on back issues of comics and TPB's so selection is not the problem (I have over 10,000 on display). There just isn't enough purchases to offset the costs to keep the store open.

    We have diversified what we do to bring in more capital. We offer classes/tutoring in PhotoShop as well as getting into running Magic the Gathering and probably other forms of gaming. We also sell higher end books online through ebay (this is where the real money is, compared to effort put in) and Craigslist. Including gaming/events seems to be a must as a way to keep customers in the store and revenue coming in on top of comic sales. Selling new books would of course generate a regular set of clients...but it also ties you into Diamond which has minimum orders. It's easy to get upside down on your comic orders if sales drop off more than you expected. So I guess the long and short of it in my opinion cannot focus your store solely on comic books. There must be several revenue streams if you want to keep the doors open.
  • FarGalaxyK said on May 4, 2012
    I was wondering what the retailer discount is for some of the pricier volumes such as omnibuses and absolute editions. For example, the Marvel omnibuses are now often at a MSRP of $99.99 or $125. Even at a 50% retailer discount, it comes out to $50-$60 per book. That doesn't seem to leave much room for profit when competing against the big name resellers. Is there a special pricing model for these books that is different from the single issues?
  • Juan Delgado said on May 7, 2012
    Hi from Colombia Latin America, I am thinking of starting a comic book store Here in Colombia , I have tried to contact any seller of Diamond, I also have been looking for more distributors in the United States. I'm new about industry of comics books. please I'm interested as to talk to any distributor to know requirements and costs for starting my store in Colombia Latin America . thanks for your help
  • Scott said on May 7, 2012
    I am looking to startup in Collinsville, IL. *thats right outside St. Louis* Comics are becoming very popular in the area and I love them as well. My knowledge background is primarily DC and Marvel and a little bit of image. I know that I need to familiarize myself with a wide variety of comics so that i have a good base knowledge to give good recommendations and/or have credible discussions with my patrons. I also intend to delve into the gaming world and learn a few things like Magic and Heroclix so that it would be feasible to host tournaments or a weekly gathering for these games without TOO much outside guidance and advice due to lack of knowledge of the games. my plan is to open up about 5 years out... i am in no hurry here... want to do things right. there is a lot of good information on this page and these comments. in the area there are several comic book shops in neighboring towns. there is one in my town but they focus almost completely on the gaming aspect, the store is always a complete mess, and it is just not a very welcoming environment...

    I had an idea that i was wondering if anyone had any input as to how they think it would work. There is a shop in one of the neighboring towns that expanded to 2 shops and then bought out another one. I was thinking of going to this owner and proposing that i open a shop of my own under his name and banner... so, basically, i would own, operate and run this individual shop, but my shop would be affiliated with his and we would include each other in store events, etc. This would also give me someone that has a vested interest in my success that would help me get rolling and give me advice along the way. Does this seem like an unrealistic idea? How should I approach the owner with this idea? Should I have an entire business plan and already be approved for the loan? Should i just run the idea by him to make sure that he is open to it and let him know that it is a few years out and that i wanted to gauge his interest? Or is this a crazy idea and i should just move forward on my own? Scott Mans, 25 years old, Collinsville, IL
  • Joe Field beginner adviser said on July 6, 2012
    Tried posting this earlier, but I'll try again. My primary piece of advice is "Don't start vast projects with half-vast ideas."

    Other advice:
    1) If you are going to go into the comics business as a retailer, look to areas that are un-served or under-served when it comes to comic specialty stores.
    2) Make your operation something special, unique and a service to your community.
    3) Be sure to have some money behind your operation and some money put into the opening and stocking of your new store.
    4) Have a plan!
    For those interested in more, the retailer trade association ComicsPRO (.org) has a Mentoring Forum just for new and "pre-retailers" planning to open physical storefronts. It'll be the best investment you can make in getting your new store of the ground. || Comic Book Store Consultant

  • Carr D'Angelo said on July 7, 2012
    Sherman Oaks, CA: @Scott: what you are proposing is essentially a Franchise arrangement. The benefit to the existing business owner is that you would be paying a regular fee for the benefits you would get from his expertise and existing brand name value.

    @AbbyCat: It seems like you are limiting your potential revenue by having what seems like a fairly static inventory. New comics bring in customers every week.

    @FarGalaxyK: no special pricing on Omnibuses. As a fellow ComicsPRO board member, I echo Joe's suggestion to look into joining our mentoring program.
  • Alfie Kilsby said on August 24, 2012
    Hey everyone, I live in England in the UK. I have always wanted to start my own comic business as i am an avid collector myself. Would anyone recommend any particular sites to go through for the comic ordering. Also does anyone have any recommendations for any other specializations? I was thinking of figures, cards and certain accessories. Any answers will be greatly appreciated :)
  • kieron cassidy said on January 24, 2013
    hi i am 22 and have always wanted to start a comic book store but as i live in the uk the fan base is not as huge as it is in other places. i'm new to starting up a new business and would like any ideas, tips or help. to any people who reply or email me i would be most thankful.
  • Dave said on February 16, 2013
    I live in Kentucky. I sell comics online (mostly). My main question is not in opening a shop, I'd like to find someone that sells comic back-issues wholesale. I know that there are plenty of dealers and others out there that probably have warehouses of stuff that haven't seen the light of day in years. I'm not looking for High Grade Key issues, I'm just talking about normal stock. Some bronze, copper, and modern age stuff. There has to be someone out there that' has this kind of stuff that's just sitting around and would want $30 to $50 per long box.
  • Amr Khalifa said on April 19, 2013
    Quick question to anybody who has taken the initiative to start up their own brick-mortar store, I am putting together investors to open a comic book store in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I was wondering if anyone knows DC, Marvel, Dark Horse suppliers other than Diamond Comics, or are they the only ones that deal with international retailers? Also I would love to get in contact with anyone who has any experiences or advice to share. Thanks Amr Khalifa +971503455143
  • jason said on June 3, 2013
    Hello all! I was thinking of starting a card and comic shop focused more on the cards and live gaming sessions with the comics as alternate revenue. I was thinking of making it a little more modern with video game tournaments and table top events. Does this sound doable or does any think that it has a potential for profit?
  • Vince Rodriguez said on July 11, 2013
    Hi, I'm a recently discharged combat veteran with a full V.A pension and service connected disability. One of the things I qualify for is a small business loan. In order to get one, I need to pitch them the entire plan( startup cost,fees,loan amounts). I plan on opening a comic store in central n.j.What would my startup fees and necessities be? Thanks!
  • Kevin said on August 31, 2013
    Hi folks. I opened a comic shop in Grande Prairie, AB just over two years ago and have been loving every minute of it since.
    @Jason: You have the right idea. It's pretty hard to survive on comics/books alone and gaming (ie Magic) is HUGE right now. MTG (and Yugioh, pokemon) represents maybe 35% of our store revenue. Comics/books 40%. Board games, anime videos, apparel, and toys (ie action figures, statues) the other 30%. Stay away from video games the margins are horrible (like 10% horrible as opposed to normal store margins of 40%).
  • Alex said on September 10, 2013
    Hello, I'm thinking about starting a home based comic book subscription service what would my monthly orders from diamond be? Roughly? Thanks Alex
  • Andy said on September 27, 2013
    Palmdale, CA. Hi I'm trying to open a comic book shop, but I'm just really trying to see if it's a good idea. How much does it cost to purchase comics from suppliers? How much will I have to borrow from the bank?
  • Will said on December 5, 2013
    I'm opening a table top gaming shop and I have a love of comic books, but I wouldn't call myself an expert. I've looked in to diamond comics and I know the minimum order price. Do you think it would be a good idea to carry a small selection of new release comics along time my other products?

    @Andy the minimum purchase from Diamond Comics is $425 a month. This price is calculated at the MSRP, so the price you actually pay will be less than that for the wholesale discount. The loan you will need really depends on your own ambitions, location, and all the red tape and furniture that comes with running a retail store.
  • Alex said on August 16, 2014
    hello, i am thinking of starting a mail order comic book subscription company what would my start up capital be? since i will not have any overhead because it is a home based business, and what licenses would i need to run the business from my home would greatly appreciate any advice i may receive. Thank You
  • Santos said on September 24, 2014
    I want to start an online comic book store But I'm unsure as to how much I need to start up With and what's the way to get inventory to start moving forward ?
  • mad max said on December 21, 2014
    Your all clueless fools for thinking about this business. Enjoy miserably failing and going broke ruining your lives while doing so. Ignoramus idiots.
  • Bailyn said on January 30, 2015
    My biggest question is where to buy bulk if older comics for decent price for a new store.
  • Bailyn said on January 30, 2015
    Where do I buy bulk old comics for my store.
  • Joe Field beginner adviser said on February 3, 2015
    Many current retailers would likely be happy to sell you a quantity of older comics. In this case, "older" means non-current comics. There really isn't a wholesale spot for Golden, Silver and Bronze Age comics, but you might try the bulk deals found on or on eBay.

    It might also be a good idea not to worry about having a stock of older comics when you open because once you do open, you will be offered collections of comics from private parties. One other suggestion to plan for opening your store: Join ComicsPRO (at That will put you in touch with many retailers all over North America. You'll learn a lot, you'll also likely have access to buying bulk from other long-time retailers. I hope this helps! || Comic Book Store Consultant

  • Ryan said on March 10, 2015
    Dear, We have a comic shop Brisbane Australia. We want to buy bulk DC books and figures and MAREL books. I try to call DC service centre , however they only do retail .Now my question is where can I buy bulk DC books and MAREL books. and then sale them on my shop .So I want to get a wholesale price from you . I just wonder how to buy from your company . Please call (0061415885123) or email to me .
  • Emerson smith said on March 23, 2015
    What's the best way to stay current, when ordering how do you know how much to get without going over a budget, is it better to market just marvel and dc or have more of a variety
  • Mhathung said on May 26, 2015
    I wanted to open a marvel comic shop in my home town India, Dimapur Nagaland.. Please help me with the details of the cost to open the shop and ever details of it ASAP.. Thank you... Please email me ASAP..
  • Gravitymore said on June 20, 2016
    I wanted to open small comic book store in my city Delhi, India. There fans of Dc and marvel asking the same question on the net that where to find latest comic books in india. As India does not have single proper comic book store. That's why I want to take the first step to open the first proper comic book store in india. Help me by telling me what should I do. #innovation
  • Jerry T. said on November 4, 2016
    One thing I am noticing is that everyone is focused solely on the comic books. When I shop for comics my average ticket is $45. Some weeks more others less. It is not all comics. I also buy a pack or two of trading cards and occasionally pick up some sleeves or bags & boards. Before you even start you must know what your break even will be each month (the money you will need to cover your expenses). You need to estimate how much merchandise you will need to sell to cover those expenses. For Example:
    Rent: $800
    Utilities: $385
    Insurance: $185
    That comes to $1,370 per month in expenses.
    Your Average Margin for all products is 43.8%.
    This means you will need to sell $3,127.85 worth of merchandise to cover your expenses for the month. ($1,370 divided by 43.8%)
    How many transactions will that require?
    The average item count for comic shop purchases is 6. The average retail per item is $2.84. That gives us an average ticket of $17.04. When you divide our break even goal of $3,127.85 by $17.04 you get 183.56 transactions. That is the magic number to break even for the month. Every transaction after 184 builds your net profit.
    Keep in mind that these numbers are for a sole proprietorship. If you hire employees your expenses will go up as will your break even goal.
  • Joe said on April 23, 2019
    So my question is....
    If I'm to open a comic shop that also supports local business what are my obstacles? I want a shop in a small dead town that is filled with a lot of troubled kids and young adults. I want to bring in local businesses to support each other: like the coffee shop down the road bringing their coffee and fresh pastries to my shop to sell, we both make money and both get the foot traffic. Also, the deli making sandwiches for game night or special events. Plus we shut down the town every year for things like the Hartley's chip drop, we have town day, kids connection day, three fairs within a 10-mile radius. Would bringing in the local business help my foot traffic? We also have the Happy Valley PSU college tow only 20 minutes away, they only have 1 shop that only sells modern comics. To me that's my only competition, other comic shops are 45 minutes away in either direction. So if i'm to open a shop what is my biggest threat other than the foot traffic?


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