Thursday, June 11, 2009

A change will do you good

I've expounded at length on Twitter and elsewhere about my woes with my comics pull list. I won't go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say, I wasn't a happy customer. But the options in the DC metro area are surprisingly limited. Some places require a minimum number of books before you can have a pull list; at that point I wasn't certain I was buying enough to manage that minimum.

So I started checking the options online. Having books shipped directly to my door sounded like a win-win combination to me, even if my credit card is having severe doubts.

I went with Discount Comic Book Service. I had heard good things about their service from other customers and I had a good experience with their sister site Instocktrades. The process was mostly painless. I filled out their massive Excel spreadsheet, uploaded it, and voila! My order appears up on the screen – as long as you marked the right space, you should get the right issue, no questions on whether it's the right title or if it's spelled correctly.

Now it's not without human error. I filled out my lovely spreadsheet for my first month only to discover after the fact I'd left off a title. No problem, I emailed their customer service and it was promptly added to my shipment. For future shipments, I have been much more careful to double and triple check things "Did I miss anything?" Of course I always do forget something.

Those Excel spreadsheets are extremely deadly. They contain everything off the Previews catalog, including all the variants, trades/hardcovers, manga, merchandise – you name it. They're also very nicely discounted, so you can afford that extra trade sometimes. I really had to reign myself in a few times in the follow-up months, which have gotten progressively more expensive. Even with discounts, you have to know your limits. Do I really need that Absolute? Can I live without that mini series? Oh, that's finally out in trade, should I get it? It's a vicious circle.

Customers have a couple of shipping options – weekly, biweekly or monthly. I went monthly, so my books go out after the last book ships. That means I see my comics after everyone, but I'm fairly used to that idea. You can also see which books shipped and which didn't on your account, which is reassuring.

My first batch arrived a few weeks ago. Only two books didn't ship because of delays. Both were expected, so I'm not too worried. They also included a batch of Free Comic Book Day titles in my shipment, so I could read the Wolverine, Avengers, and Shonen Jump offerings.

The following months will tell the tale of tape to see whether the change is worth it, but so far, so good. At least I can look forward to getting comics again... even if they're not on Wednesday.

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