Around this time each month I would normally post my lengthy two-part Previews-o-Rama, wherein I would hilite things of interest in the current Previews. Alas there will be no Previews-o-Rama this month because I do not have a copy of Previews.
You see, my Local Comic Shop (LCS) came under new management a few months ago--they're now part of a chain of some sort--and one of the many changes they've instituted in that they're no longer giving away Previews to customers.
This is just the latest in a number of unfortuante changes that the new management has made to the LCS. Others include:
Much less shelf space devoted to graphic novels. Formerly there were 8 ranges of manga, which has now been lowered to 3. Those 3 ranges of manga have taken the place of 3 ranges of the independent GNs, which are now down to 4 (from 7). Shelf space devoted to DC, Marvel, Image & Dark Horse GNs has also decreased.
Less shelf space devoted to independent comics, down from 4 racks to 3.
New comics each week are now racked all together (instead of interspersed with the rest of the comics) and shelved way in the back of the store, in a place with very little room to stand--basically causes a big traffic jam on Wednesday.
Elimination of the subscriber discount (as of February), from 20% to 0%.
No more female employees. The store has always had at least a couple of female employees; there is always a turnover rate at a store like this, but those that have left have been replaced with white males. This may be just a coincidence, and I have nothing against white males (being one myself), but it does make one wonder.
There has also been a general decrease in the level of customer service over the past few months. I might be able to live with some of the changes (after all, with the Internet, I don't need a free copy of Previews) but taken all together it's just too much. It seems that the new management is intent on de-emphasizing comics at the store--it's also a gaming store; they used to be big on manga and anime too, although that aspect of the business has curiously decreased down to almost nil at this point*. And instead of a diverse store that handled 'mainstream', manga and indy comics with equal emphasis, it's moving towards being one of those 'front-of-the-catalog' stores.
Fortunately for me, I saw the writing on the wall last month and decided to switch all of my comic buying over to DCBS, starting with comics scheduled to ship in February. It won't be the same as going to the shop every Wednesday for the new comics, but with weekly shipping from DCBS I'll get my comics on the following Monday or Tuesday anyway. Plus, the discount will be much greater. The downside is that I have to pre-order a couple of months in advance (and pay in advance as well).
(BTW, the only reason I know that the subscriber discount is going away is because I overheard another customer ask one of the employees about a rumor he had heard that the discount was going away, and I subsequently asked about it myself and it was confirmed--so far there has been no notification or announcement of any kind.)
I've been a loyal, weekly customer at LCS for over ten years, spending over $200 per month, but no longer. I was willing to support a local business that was dedicated to being a quality comic store, but now that they're part of a chain and seem to no longer want to be a good store they've lost me as a customer.
It's really all kind of sad.
(Oh, if you're looking for a good Previews round up, I'd suggest Tegan's Flipping Through Previews over at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog.)
* There is an entire store in town devoted to manga & anime though, as well as a B&N and 2 Borders with huge manga sections