So last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, and for the second year in a row All New Comics participated, despite the Brick and Mortar based “Free Comic Book Day” Committee’s desire to keep online retailers like us from doing so.
At midnight on May 5th we posted our ten selections, and within minutes people were ordering comics. I went to bed around 1am with about eight orders placed. I woke up around 8:00am to see about 50 orders placed. I did some quick math, and realized that we’d probably run out of free comics around 5:00 if things progressed.
The orders kept coming, and as a testament to the new changes we’ve made to the system, the site ran smoothly despite doing more than 20x the usual volume of traffic and around 50x the usual volume of orders.
Around 11 Char, Kaylin and I went out to check out some of the local stores. We dropped by LA Mood’s here in London where I said hi to my old boss Gord and his wife Carol. We picked up a TPB (because I like to support the locals), and I took an Owly FCBD issue for Kaylin since she loves the little dude.
We went for some lunch at the market, and then headed back home to check on stuff. The orders were still flying in, though they had slowed significantly. I went through and canceled a bunch of orders for multiple comics, or several orders to single addresses, and any U.S. orders.
Which brings me to a mini-rant. I love giving away comics. We give them away for Halloween, we give them away to any kids we see at the summer con, and I’ll gladly give bundles of them away when we are at the Cottage Con in August.
HOWEVER, when we give comics away on FCBD, we have to pay for shipping. 1 comic is about $1.00 to ship. 2 comics is about $2.99 to ship. 5 or more comics is about $6-10.00 to ship (depending on a person’s location). So we offer 1 free comic to anyone. We said this year that if you want more than one, buy something. Spend $3.00, pay for shipping for the $3.00 book (so maybe another $3.50), and we’ll send you 5 free comics. Even at that price we would still not make anything off the transaction, and we’d likely lose a few cents, but I could handle that.
For some reason though, a few people decided that they’d just order a ton of comics and let us sort it out. It was a tiny percentage, but I found it kind of rude of those people. Here we were offering up free comics (which we paid the freight on), and those people wanted more. I guarantee that we’ll never hear from those people again until next free comic book day too.
Other than that though, the day was a tremendous success. By 10pm I had to shut down the Free Comics because we only had a handful left and I really wanted to go to bed.
We’ll still do it again next year, because it was a huge success, and it’s a lot of fun hearing from people who are new to us.
Update – later Sunday night
I neglected to mention that we did HUGE sales on May 5th, and the sales spilled over into May 6th and 7th, both of which saw marked bumps in orders placed and traffic, which is all good news.
In the time since Free Comic Book Day, we’ve signed up four new subscribers (which is quite good since we usually do about one new subscriber a week), and we’re still getting a nice little trickle of new orders from folks who heard about us through Free Comic Book Day.