Now that the month of May has come to a close, it’s time to take a look at the income generated, the expenses incurred and the overall profitability of the Certified Comic Shop!
MAY 2017 INCOME
As I explained in my March/April financial update, the income I generated to use for building out my online comic book shop comes from comic book sales on eBay and Instagram along with money I earned doing a little marketing consulting for friends and family.
|April 2017 Balance||$145.84|
|Comic Book Sales Net Profit||$800.51|
Overall it was a good month for comic book sales. In some exciting news, I also sold my first comics directly through Instagram. When I started my Instagram account, I wasn’t really thinking about selling comics via the social network so it was nice to be able to generate some additional income that way.
ONLINE COMIC BOOK SALES
|Item||Order Total||Fees||Net Profit|
|Silver Surfer #1 Vol 2.||$4.98||-$3.57||$1.41|
|Deadpool #6 - #12 Dark Reign||$4.86||-$4.54||$0.32|
|G.I. Joe Order of Battle #1 - #4||$7.23||-$4.35||$2.88|
|X-Force #11 CGC 9.6||$60.00||-$11.65||$48.35|
|G.I. Joe #1 - #4 IDW||$7.98||-$7.94||$0.04|
|SPAWN #5 #6 #9 #10 #11 #12 #14||$10.11||-$5.21||$4.90|
|Cable #1 #2 Limited Series||$4.11||-$3.46||$0.65|
|Black Panther #1 - #6 Dark Reign||$19.11||-$6.38||$12.73|
|X-Men #1 - #4 Secret Invasion||$5.98||-$4.19||$1.79|
|Batman #497 CGC 9.8||$52.65||-$13.70||$38.95|
|Elektra & Secret Warriors Lot||$10.73||-$5.29||$5.44|
|War Machine #1 - #5 Dark Reign||$6.48||-$4.26||$2.22|
|SPAWN #5 #6 #9 #10 #12 #14||$14.49||-$5.29||$9.20|
|Superman #75 Black Bag Edition||$13.89||-$5.69||$8.20|
|Proof issues #10 - #20||$8.60||-$5.02||$3.58|
|House of Mystery Halloween Annual #1 CGC 9.4||$59.99||-$19.85||$40.14|
|Tales From Clerks II Signed By Kevin Smith||$13.74||-$5.67||$8.07|
|Final Crisis Rage of the Red Lanterns #1A||$3.63||-$3.40||$0.23|
|Fantastic Four #1 - #5 Dark Reign||$6.48||-$4.26||$2.22|
|Marvel Apes & Inhumans 8 Issue Lot||$9.98||-$5.20||$4.78|
|Spawn, Infinity Watch & She-Hulk 17 Issue Lot||$23.57||-$7.44||$16.13|
|Judege Dredd 12 issue lot (IG)||$20.00||-$3.62||$23.62|
|Detective Comics #359 CGC 4.5||$475||-$41.57||$433.43|
|New Mutants #100 CGC 9.6||$56.65||-$17.11||$39.54|
|Amazing Spider-Man #583 CGC 9.6 Obama Variant (IG)||$99||-$7.86||$91.14|
*total fees includes charges from eBay, PayPal and USPS shipping.
Like last month there were some definite wins, and a few losses (because I didn’t learn my lesson from last month!). Here are a few highlights for the sales I made in May.
The aspect of selling on eBay that I’m having a little trouble perfecting is the shipping cost. To start the month I was setting up my shipping rates as a flat rate. However because I didn’t want to scare people away with what might be perceived as a high shipping rate, I probably over corrected and set it too low which lead to some real thin margins on some of the comics I sold.
By mid month, I had changed my strategy to use calculated shipping based on the buyers location. I also started adding multiple shipping options to all of my listings so buyers could choose how they wanted their books shipped: USPS First Class (if applicable), USPS Media Mail or USPS Priority Mail.
#SpoilerAlert: everyone chose Media Mail when given the option proving in my mind that the lower cost of shipping seems to be more important to buyers than getting their comics faster.
Detective Comics #359 CGC 4.5
About half of the revenue I generated this month came from one sale. Detective Comics #359 CGC 4.5 – the first appearance of Bat Girl. Interestingly enough, I acquired this comic by participating in an Instagram Comic Book Raffle. I paid $10, claimed my spot, and much to my delight I ended up being the winner!
Amazing Spider-Man #583 CGC 9.6
This was the second sale I made via Instagram. During Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it would be fun to post some CGC comics on Instagram and try to generate a sale. Within 20 minutes of posting my comics, I had sold this awesome 1st printing of Amazing Spider-Man #583 Barack Obama Variant.
Fantastic Four #1 – #5 Dark Reign
I wanted to highlight this sale because the eBayer who bought these comics from me took the time to send me a message that totally made my day…
“I just received my order and was impressed with the personalized message you included. Plus, a bonus comic!? You made my day. This is by far the best eBay experience I have ever had. Good luck with opening your very own online comic shop. From here on, you can consider me a loyal customer.”
How awesome is that?! While the goal of opening my shop is to generate sustainable income, that doesn’t mean I can’t go out of my way to make my customers happy. And yes, everyone who buys comics from me (whether it’s a single issue or multiple issues) gets a free bonus comic in their package. And not a cheap fifty cent bin comic book either. I’m talking about a legit comic in near-mint condition and typically it’s related to the comic you originally purchased.
MAY 2017 EXPENSES
Dang I spent a lot of money this month. I retrospect, I’m second guessing how much I spent on acquiring additional inventory for the shop. Here are the details on where I spent my money this month.
|Comic Inventory||$437.05||Estate Sale Finds & CGC Candidates|
|IG Comic Raffles||$30||Black Panther #1, Detective Comics #359 & Avengers #13|
|Bubble Wrap||$20.00||A hidden expense when you sell a lot of comics|
|CloudFlare Plus||$14.95||Keeps this website running silky smooth|
|GoCollect Subscription||$5.99||1 month subscription|
|100 Shipping Boxes||$143.52||I get all my shipping boxes from Uline|
|CGC Membership||$142||Upgraded to Premium Membership|
|GPA for Comics||$10.95||1 month subscription|
|Comic Pressing||$49.70||First time having comics pressed|
Let’s take a look at a few of these expenses in greater detail. Maybe it will make me feel better about how much money dropped the past 31 days.
Stepping Up My Shipping Game
As I was getting my shop up and running, I was using boxes and packing material that I had saved over the past year to pack up comic book orders. However I was quickly running out of boxes to recycle, and I knew it was time to step up my shipping game.
When you’re entering the crowded space of online comic book retailing, there are only so many ways you can stand out from the crowd. One of those ways, in my opinion, is through your packaging. So even though it cost me over $140, I ordered some quality shippers from Uline:
S-15059 Kraft Literature Mailers – Measuring at 15 1⁄8 x 11 1⁄8 x 3″ these 200 lb. test, corrugated boxes are what I’m using to ship slabbed comics. There’s enough room in the box to accommodate copious amounts of bubble wrap while keeping the graded comic secure and in place.
S-16652 Kraft Literature Mailers – Measuring at 12 x 8 x 3″ these 200 lb. test, corrugated boxes are what I’m using to ship comic book orders consisting of four or more issues. This box can comfortably hold 20-25 bagged & boarded comics along with additional packing material.
From the feedback I’ve been getting on eBay regarding my comic book shipping boxes, I’m confident that I made the right choice in buying these comic book shipping boxes.
Comic Book Acquisitions
The bulk of my expenses this month had to do with acquiring comic books. For the most part, my goal is to find CGC worthy comics, and send them off to be graded with the hopes of being able to get a decent ROI.
I went to two estate sales in May and spent $225 picking up some Silver & Bronze age comics that I thought would be flippable. I also snagged some good deals via eBay for comics that I plan to have slabbed:
- Avenging Spider-Man #9 – 1st Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel
- 2001: A Space Odyssey #8 – 1st Machine Man
- X-Men Blue #1 – J Scott Campbell Variant Cover A & B
Comic Book Pressing
The second estate sale I went to happened to be on the same day that Motor City Comic Con was firing up. At the sale I ran into a cool dude named Jeff who was from New York and in town for the show. We were chatting about comics and the subject of comic book pressing came up, which is something that I was interested in doing, but didn’t know who to use. He recommended Josh Avery, proprietor of Avery Comic Pressing.
At the sale, I actually ended up picking up a couple of comics that I thought would benefit from a pressing and sent them to Josh for him to work his magic. I have to say I’m thrilled with how much better these comics look now and highly recommend Josh to anyone who’s interested in have a comic book pressed.
Overall I’m happy with how the month turned out even though I probably over-spent in the comic book acquisition area. I made some decent sales, got some great eBay feedback and sold my first comics directly through Instagram.
For June, I’m going to slow way down on buying comics and focus more attention on this website. I have 4 drafts of blog posts that I need to wrap up, and I have to finish setting up WooCommerce for WordPress so I can begin selling directly though the website.
At the end of the day I’m up $412.19 and am looking forward to a great month of June. If there’s anything you want to know more about, or have any comments at all, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Cheers!