GameStop has been diversifying in the last few years. One of the largest game retailers in the country, GameStop somewhat has struggled in recent years as the market slowly but surely shifts to digital. In 2015 ThinkGeek became a part of GameStop stores, and now the gaming chain is testing out another new revenue stream- comic books.
Reportedly, James Parker is the man leading this new initiative. Parker is formerly of Hastings, the now defunct retail chain, where he was behind the very successful venture of the company into direct market comic book sales. Hastings was too far gone to be saved, so now James is trying to work his magic for GameStop.
Parker tells Bleeding Cool:
We are indeed getting into comics, as a retail test forum. Comics are often a part of our promotional entertainment industry environment, including video games – we can learn from this tribal knowledge. We have indeed partnered with Diamond to carry a small selection of comics in 40 stores utilizing their new spinner rack. The comics are mostly from Marvel and DC with a focus on key series and titles. This is just a small launch to bring comics to some of our collectibles stores as they fit with the current trend of Collectibles that are performing in the market. Should this prove successful, we may consider rolling out to additional stores in the future but plan to keep it limited to the spinner rack for the foreseeable future. Of course, you can expect to see some exclusive variants from us in the future.
There are a few key things in that statement to keep in mind. Partnering with Diamond is a no brainer, they are the largest comic book distributor in the world and there is no better place to get everything they need. Parker mentions the spinner rack a couple different times, which means that any comic readers hoping for GameStops to all of a sudden have every book they want, will be disappointed. This seems like they will have some core titles that are most recognizable and most likely to sell, nothing crazy but still something.
Hardcore comic readers/collectors won’t really care too much for this, they support their local comic book shops and shun mainstream attention. I think this will be a good thing for many people who want to read comics, but don’t have a local shop to go to, or someone on the fence who only needed the comics to be right in front of them to give them a chance. GameStop isn’t exactly beloved by the gaming community, but this move could be a boon for the comics community.
Decades of video games and comic books have molded me into the nerd with a heart of gold that I am today. I can go full fanboy one second, and then gleefully play devil’s advocate the next- life is just more fun that way.