Tips for a First Time Seller at a Small Show
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18 posts in this topic

Hi all!

There is a regular show near me which has tables available for cheap, and I'm considered setting up a little table of wares.  My concern is that most of what I'd have to offer are slabs and wall books, and then about 1 or 2 short boxes worth of mid-range books in the $10-$50 each range.  From my reading, it sounds like most dealers do really well on the lower priced bulk items, however I really have nothing like this that I'd be willing to part with.

Could any more experienced dealers share their thoughts on what tends to do well at shows?  Is it worth setting up if I only have say 30-50 wall books and a short box or two? I'm not necessarily concerned about not selling much or even not being able to recoup the table cost, but I'd like to go in as prepared as possible.

Also - any recommendations for picking up lots of $1-$3 books?

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It really depends on the show and the clientele. In my area wall books don't sell at all, but there is a steady stream of people who thumb through boxes looking to fill out their runs. In larger cities close by the sellers typically sell a lot of big books. I would ask someone who has done the show before to see what sells and then go from there. 

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Buyers at shows include pure collectors, speculators, smaller local/regional collector/sellers, and larger full-time dealers.  The price of your wares will not limit your sales.  However, price relative to fair market value (FMV) will.  There's a good chance you'll have 100% sell through if you price your goods at a fraction of FMV.  Even Silver Age Lois Lane will sell quickly at the right price.  Don't believe me?  See for yourself(thumbsu

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On 4/6/2022 at 5:55 PM, Skunkboy said:

Hi all!

There is a regular show near me which has tables available for cheap, and I'm considered setting up a little table of wares.  My concern is that most of what I'd have to offer are slabs and wall books, and then about 1 or 2 short boxes worth of mid-range books in the $10-$50 each range.  From my reading, it sounds like most dealers do really well on the lower priced bulk items, however I really have nothing like this that I'd be willing to part with.

Could any more experienced dealers share their thoughts on what tends to do well at shows?  Is it worth setting up if I only have say 30-50 wall books and a short box or two? I'm not necessarily concerned about not selling much or even not being able to recoup the table cost, but I'd like to go in as prepared as possible.

Also - any recommendations for picking up lots of $1-$3 books?

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've heard of dealers who have bought a table and filled said table with books they picked up at other dealers during set up time.  They wondered around offering up bulk discount offers and then doubled the prices and they made decent cash by the end of the con.  One mans junk is anothers treasure.  Don't expect many slabs to sell if you are wanting GPA (or close to it) but it should be a learning experience if nothing else.  Let us know how it goes.

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On 4/6/2022 at 4:29 PM, zzutak said:

Buyers at shows include pure collectors, speculators, smaller local/regional collector/sellers, and larger full-time dealers.  The price of your wares will not limit your sales.  However, price relative to fair market value (FMV) will.  There's a good chance you'll have 100% sell through if you price your goods at a fraction of FMV.  Even Silver Age Lois Lane will sell quickly at the right price.  Don't believe me?  See for yourself(thumbsu

True Dat! Literally anything sells at the right price. I have tons of stuff I picked up over the years at flea markets, garage and estate sales ect.  Lots of GA-BA. Paid very little for most of it. I get guys with the paper want lists come up and buy large stacks of everything from Metamorpho to Dell Westerns. I price it so cheap that they just can’t leave it and it all goes.

I do supplement these with better books and wall books that I don’t discount much. I can always sell those but just can’t replace them anymore.

I bring a lot of boxes. Most of my sales come from the cheap stuff. It really adds up and I don’t have to take it home.

Good luck with the show. Have fun and let us know how it goes. 

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Please put a price sticker /asking price on all your comics unless you have a box of $1 bulk blow out comics. If your slabs are for high rollers, put a price sticker on the back to avoid initial sticker shock depending on FMV in your area. Good luck. :peace:

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Thank you for all of the great advice.  It's funny, most slabs I see at local shows are priced well above GPA, so I figured if I were to price them at or slightly below GPA I'd have a shot at some sales.  Love the tip about buying some bulk $1 stuff prior to the show.  I'll also definitely mark prices clearly.

Any tips for making a quick wall rack?  Preferably something which could be broken down afterwards?

Also any other things that I should be mindful of?  I'll bring a bit of cash for change, some drinks and snacks.  Maybe some bags too.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 4/7/2022 at 1:29 PM, Skunkboy said:

Thank you for all of the great advice.  It's funny, most slabs I see at local shows are priced well above GPA, so I figured if I were to price them at or slightly below GPA I'd have a shot at some sales.  Love the tip about buying some bulk $1 stuff prior to the show.  I'll also definitely mark prices clearly.

Any tips for making a quick wall rack?  Preferably something which could be broken down afterwards?

Also any other things that I should be mindful of?  I'll bring a bit of cash for change, some drinks and snacks.  Maybe some bags too.

 

 

 

 

 

I have done 2 shows and with the books you describe you MUST have a wall display. You will do okay without one probably but a wall attracts people. I won't do another show without one.

tell us where you're setting up, I will come by and lowball you maybe

Edited by Bird
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On 4/7/2022 at 1:44 PM, MattTheDuck said:

From what I've read, I think you'd be smart to take along a friend who won't interact with customers but will simply watch to make sure none of your stock just walks away while you're distracted.

Great point, thanks

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On 4/7/2022 at 1:34 PM, Bird said:

I have done 2 shows and with the books you describe you MUST have a wall display. You will do okay without one probably but a wall attracts people. I won't do another show without one.

tell us where you're setting up, I will come by and lowball you maybe

lol! I appreciate the tips on the wall.  So I was hoping to get into the Old Bridge show, but the next one is booked up.  Going to go to the Clifton one on Sunday and see about getting on the list for future shows.

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Sales to some degree will depend on the location of the show and the local economy.  But as a new seller with fresh to market inventory you'll get a lot of attention.  Some dealers bring the same old inventory that hasn't sold for years and wonder why sales aren't good; you don't have that problem.

A wall rack is nice because it gives you additional real estate to display books but it isn't essential, especially if you don't have enough inventory to fill your table.  Interesting books, including slabs, will sell much quicker flat on the table rather than in a box, especially to younger collectors.  We could fill our booth 10 times over with boxes of books but dedicate about 50% of the table space to flat books.

Take extra folding tables.  Any space that you don't need to stand/sit or operate your booth should be filled with folding tables to display books, flat on the table.

If you're taking slabs and reasonably valuable books consider signing up for Square or planning to take paypal payments or email transfer payments.  Make sure your phone is fully charged.

While it would be nice to have some boxes of cheap books or dollar books just to get some of those cheap sales I wouldn't worry too much about it.  Selling better books is a lot easier than hauling 50 pound boxes of $1 books.  If you decide you'd like to keep setting up at shows it isn't hard to find boxes of $1 books to sell.  Walk around and talk to other dealers to judge how they are doing and when you find dealers who're struggling - usually smaller guys who haven't refreshed their inventory - you can often pick up inventory cheap.  At a show last week I bought out a small dealer for $500 or about $30 a short.  It wasn't a huge win but I picked up about $1500 in sellable $40 to $5 books and another 15 shorts of good CA to MA $1 books.  The deal clincher for me was that they were newly bagged and boarded and that saves me a ton of time and money when I start adding them to inventory.  There's tons of bulk books out there and you'll find them if you look.

If you're taking quality slabs/keys don't underprice them.  It's a rare buyer who doesn't try to get a better price than sticker even if your prices are below market.  Most dealers price higher for that reason.  At a minimum price at GPA, you'll likely still have the cheapest slabs at the show.

Edited by thehumantorch
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On 4/7/2022 at 1:34 PM, Bird said:

I have done 2 shows and with the books you describe you MUST have a wall display. You will do okay without one probably but a wall attracts people. I won't do another show without one.

tell us where you're setting up, I will come by and lowball you maybe

He's not kidding, either. The offers he made for my copies of Secret Defenders and Sleepwalker #1 were downright insulting

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On 4/8/2022 at 8:11 PM, Skunkboy said:

lol! I appreciate the tips on the wall.  So I was hoping to get into the Old Bridge show, but the next one is booked up.  Going to go to the Clifton one on Sunday and see about getting on the list for future shows.

Clifton is my local con and I try to get there every 2 or 3 months. I've heard that each month is a bit different in terms of what sells. Some months, $1 books are what move. Other months, wall books in the 50-100 range go well. There's usually a few dealers with some monster books but it feels like a mid-level show in terms of money/value. I typically arrive at the show in the afternoon and feel like most dealers have already made their money by the time I get there. Let us know when you setup and if you're not sold out by the time I get there, I'll say hi! 

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