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Old July 9th, 2008   gyoung345 is offline   #1
gyoung345
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joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 31

Default Mail Order Comic Review

Recently I changed from the LCS to mail order comics. I initially did this study when I picked Sci-Fi Genre, but again recently decided to do a more thorough comparison against some of their competitors.

Using my pull list I found that DBCS was barely the cheapest (though if you have to pay for bags and boards that is not the case), next would be Badger, followed by Sci-Fi Genre. This is based on a monthly pull list of roughly 70 books (51 books are monthly titles, the others are mini-series or limited runs). I like to have my books shipped to me every couple of weeks.

Below is the Advantages/Disadvantages of each service.

Sci-Fi Genre (www.scifigenre.com)
Advantages
Free bags and boards. Many shipping options. Monthly comics qualify towards their discount quota. If your pull list contains comics they consider regular series you qualify for higher discounts. Their discount tier is in 5% increments starting at 5% discount for 1-4 titles and topping out at 35% for 51 or more titles. You order by title. It is organized by publisher then you pick which titles you want. You keep getting them until you cancel them. No need to update your order every month if you get regular titles. No deadlines to meet other than when the books are scheduled to ship. You can also browse their back issue store and have the items shipped with your subscription. (Tip! when a book ends it's run, it may stay on your sub list for a couple of months, which counts towards your discount quota, until it finally falls off). Since I have used Sci-Fi I can actually comment on their service. I have subscribed through them since April and have no problems. A couple of times a book has been backordered, but I always received it in my following shipment.

Disadvantages
Discounts are fixed based on what subscription tier you are in. If you subscribe to a low volume of books then Sci-Fi Genre probably won't give you the best deal.

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 35% discount, shipping bi-weekly, bags and boards included, total cost including shipping is $165.15 per month. $73.70 savings off cover price. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $58 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

DCBS (http://www.dcbservice.com)
Advantages
Flat shipping rate of $5.95 regardless of quantity. Good discounts. Most all books are 40% off from major publishers (DC, Marvel). Other publishers seem to be 35% off. However, they offer steeper discounts on individual issues. Nova for September was 50% off as was Batman and the Outsiders. Looks like you have to use previews and create your order every month, which allows you to stay on top of new issues.

Disadvantages
Shipping options are limited for the flat rate. For the standard rate of $5.95 you only get shipments once a month. Going to a weekly or bi-weekly shipping schedule costs more (additional $5.95 and $11.95 per month respectively). You have to stay on top of you pull list because if you don't add items for the next month you get nothing. Must create the order. No bags and boards (that I could tell from the website).

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 40% average discount, ship monthly, total cost including shipping is $156.91 per month. $81.94 savings off cover price. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $66 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

Badger Comics (www.badgercomics.com)
Advantages
Flat shipping rates of $5.95 ($3.95 for orders > $40). Shipping options are available for weekly, bi-monthly, and monthly at no additional cost other than the flat shipping rate. Standard 40% discounts on most titles. Looks like you have to use previews and create your order every month, which allows you to stay on top of new issues. Has a feature called autofill that will build your new subscription order for you based on past orders. You can purchase bags and boards for $0.10 per book.

Disadvantages
Monthly you have to enter your order. But they do have the autofill feature that will cut down on the time you need to spend building your order.

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 40% discount, ship bi-monthly, total cost including shipping and $0.10 bags/boards per book is $158.71 per month. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $65 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

Conclusion
Below I rank them on different factors and give an average overall score. I would recommend you do the same for your preferences for each of these categories to see which one would fit your preferences.

Shipping
Badger = 3 (Flat shipping of $5.95, $3.95 if $40 or more, different shipping frequencies [monthly, bi-monthly, weekly], save money by shipping monthly)
SciFi Genre = 2 (Flat shipping of $5.95, different shipping frequencies [monthly, bi-weekly, weekly], save money by shipping monthly)
DCBS = 1 (Flat shippng of $5.95 for monhtly shipping [monthly charges additional for bi-monthly and weekly]).

Bags & Boards
SciFi Genre = 3 (included)
Badger = 2 ($0.10 per book)
DCBS = 1 (website does not specify)

Ordering System
SciFi Genre = 3 (Comic Book Title driven subscription model, continuous subscription, set it and forget it)
Badger = 2 (Previews driven, but also ability to browse by titles, autofill feature helps fill out next months order, orders must be placed every month)
DCBS = 1 (Previews driven, but also ability to browse by titles, orders must be placed every month)

Comics Prices
Badger = 3 (most discounts per book are 40%)
DCBS = 2 (Discounts of 40% off most books, also has special discounts on a month to month basis)
SciFi Genre = 1 (depends on subscription level, tiered discount to a max of 35% for 51 books or more)

Average Score
Badger = 2.50
SciFi Genre = 2.25
DCBS = 1.25

Based on these scores for how they all rank on these categories you can see that Badger beats out SciFi Genre.

So why am I still with SciFi Genre? My decision is entirely based on their ordering system. It's perpetual ordering lets me not miss an issue of some of the titles that I always collect. I only need to drop stuff I don't want or add new stuff I want. If I leave it alone, my titles will keep coming as long as a series isn't cancelled. In other words, the approximately $6.50 savings from Badger is not enough for me to change. However, if my volume drops below the 50+ titles needed for the 35% discount at SciFi Genre, I will probably reconsider. I'm not sure what the cost savings needs to be to get me to switch.

DCBS looks to be the least favorable because of the monthly shipping option limitation (extra cost for weekly or biweekly shipping on top of the flat rate) and ordering systems lack of autofill or continuous ordering by comic book series.

If I had a low number of books and wanted to get them on a monthly basis then I believe that only then would DCBS be an option.

In the end it depends on what you want out of the cost vs. service and what is important to you. Use the rankings to determine which service is best for you.
 
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