FCBDFree Comic Book Day. I’m not sure if it’s a success or not. If we measure success by “We spent lots of money and didn’t get see any obvious returns, but people got free stuff”, then it was an overwhelming success.

If we measure success by sales, it was about as unsuccessful as anything could be.

If we measure success by introducing our brand to new people…it was a minor success.

Frankly, Free Comic Book Day might be an idea who’s time has come and gone.

The one thing I noticed from the stats was the proliferation of “deals” sites. Everyone loves a good deal, but I really wish people would realize that All New Comics isn’t Wal Mart, there’s folks on the other end of the screen who actually watch the dollars disappear when they add twelve free comics to their cart (and then ignore the various warnings that are placed across the site saying that any order for more than ONE free comic will be canceled).

This was the standard boilerplate that I had to send out to more than two dozen people yesterday.

Hi there;

Free Comic Book Day at All New Comics is intended to give everyone who can’t get to a comic store a chance to get a free comic. As a result (and because shipping more than one comic for free is very expensive), we’ve limited our offer to one free comic per order.

Because you have placed an order for multiple free comics, we have canceled that order. This was the quickest way that we could make stock available to those who are interested in free comics.

Please re-visit www.allnewcomics and make a selection for one free comic and we’ll be happy to process your order.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

What I really wanted to send out was “Why are you trying to take advantage of a nice gesture? Are you really that selfish?”

The biggest referrals yesterday came from redflagdeals.com, canadianfreestuff.com, forum.smartcanucks.ca, and pricenetwork.ca. In most cases I kind of doubt we’ll ever see the people who came from these sites ever again.

See to me Free Comic Book Day is a transaction. I give you something (a free comic), and you give me something…like maybe a purchase, either now, or in the future. If you’re not interested in ever buying a comic, why take one for free?

When we give stuff away to a hospital or a charity, I feel good about it.  When we give stuff away to regular people I just feel used.

Every free comic book costs me on average 20-40 cents. If I order 200 “free” comics, it costs me about $60.00.

Every free comic costs me about $1.00 to ship. It also costs another 5 or so cents for an envelope and the various labels etc. So we’re looking at around 1.35 per free comic. Multiply that by 200, and that’s about $270.00.

So to break even on Free Comic Book Day, we need to sell about $600.00 in “non-free” comics, either on the day of, or over time. If we do, it’s a success. If we don’t, then it’s not.

Time will tell if that $270 was well invested, or if I should have just put that $300.00 into a big ad on a site like Comic Book Resources.