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Beyond Free Comic Book Day: Here’s How to Support Your Local Comic Book Store

A woman flipping through through the pages of a comic book.

Free Comic Book Day has been indefinitely postponed. But even if you can’t pop into your local shop, that doesn’t mean you can’t support it from afar.

There’s nothing quite like stepping into your local comic shop to browse the shelves. And there’s no better day to do so than Free Comic Book Day, when you get a free, limited-edition comic book.

Since 2002, Free Comic Book Day has enticed both new readers and existing fans to step into their local comic shops. It’s a win-win event: readers get a free special-edition comic, while stores get new customers who’ll remember them fondly and come back for more.

However, this year, COVID-19 forced comic stores around the world to shut down temporarily. This year’s Free Comic Book Day would have been Saturday, May 2. Instead, it’s been responsibly postponed to a still-to-be-decided date later this summer.

Even though you can’t stop in, there are several ways you can still support your local comic shop.

Order Delivery or Pickup

Some comic stores allow you to order and have books delivered straight to your door. By ordering your comics directly from your local shop, you’ll help them stay in business through the crisis. Some shops also sell through third-party sites, like eBay.

Even stores that don’t offer online ordering might have curbside pickup right now. Check the website or the shop’s social media pages to see if this is an option.

If curbside pickup is available, you might be able to pay over the phone, and then pick up at the location (while observing safe social-distancing practices, of course).

Start a Pullbox

Rows of comic books in a rack at a small town comic book shop.
Sunshine Seeds/Shutterstock

If you’re just getting into comic books, you might be unfamiliar with pullboxes, which are customizable comic book subscription boxes. These combine the convenience of a subscription service with the ability to support your local comic store.

You subscribe to the comics you want to read. The store then collects the latest issue of each series to which you subscribe in a box that you can pick up whenever you’re ready. This ensures you never miss an issue.

Some pullboxes offer discounts, depending on how many series you follow. Many local shops offer pullboxes—you can call or email to subscribe.

For more on pullboxes and the pandemic, check out this adorable comic strip from Image Comics.

Buy a Gift Card

The coronavirus has also disrupted comic distribution. The major comic book distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors, has temporarily stopped shipping new comics. So, if you’re reading an ongoing series, you might not be able to get your hands on the newest issue for a while.

However, your local store might still have a gift card you can buy. This way, you can help support the shop now, and redeem your gift card for the latest releases once they’re shipping again.

Donate to Binc

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) supports booksellers that are struggling financially. Right now, the organization is offering specific COVID-19 assistance to help comic book stores and other booksellers survive.

If you have the funds to make a charitable donation, consider donating to Binc on the website.

Donate to Shops Directly

Your local comic shop might also have a GoFundMe or similar link posted on its social media pages. If so, you can donate directly to your local shop and its employees.

Show Support Online

If you don’t have the funds to shop or donate, you can still support comic shops online. Share posts from your favorite store’s social sites to spread the word to others who might want to shop there.

You can also hop on Yelp, Facebook, or Google and leave a glowing review of the store you love.

You can buy anything on the internet, but browsing comics online will never be quite the same as flipping through them at a store.

So, in honor of Free Comic Book Day, support your local shop by reaching out and seeing how you can help keep its doors open. Armed with a pullbox and a gift card or two, when the doors do open again, you’ll have plenty of comics to collect.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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