My goal in making the CBPF system available to comic stores is to increase the profitability of an industry which has struggled over the last several. There are several factors which this can be attributed to. One of which is a marked decrease in readership over the years and something needs to be done. The fewer readers there are, the more challenging it is for a retailer to remain profitable. As store numbers dwindle, it becomes harder for customers to find comic related stores. Customers will turn to the internet, mail order, digital comics, or just as likely they will spend their money elsewhere. This focuses the money into fewer hands, but without the local comic store, there will be a lack of new recruits entering into the fantastic voyage which is contained in comic books. This is a cycle which ends in disaster for the comic stores, Diamond, and the comic publishers.
What I am offering is only part of what can be done for the industry. My part is to increase the profitability of individual comic stores so that they remain in business. This raises the awareness of comic books as an industry and encourages local readership and new customers. More customers equals more stores equals a stronger industry. Any constriction along the chain between customer and publisher will flow down the chain. And what affects the customers will eventually affect the publisher also.
My promise to you is that any store who converts from a paper system (or a non-specialized computer system such as a spreadsheet or word processor) to CBPF will increase its profitability! This will be accomplished in the following areas-
- Time spent pulling ordered items for customers will be reduced.
- Fewer errors and omissions when pulling items for customers.
- Fewer errors and omissions when ordering items from Diamond.
- Time processing order forms and special orders from customers will be reduced.
- These areas (among others) will increase customer loyalty to your store.
The question becomes – Why don’t I give away the software? If I gave away the software, there would be no incentive for me to maintain it and add further enhancements to it. There would also be no technical support available on the telephone or internet. Because I assume there will be some fantastic ideas coming from retailers on how to make the program even more useful, I will need to be able to financially justify not spending my time elsewhere (including running my own store).
The method of supporting the program which is discussed in the frequently asked questions will ask for just a few dollars each month from each retailer. This avoids large expenditures from retailers who may not be able to afford it and helps spread the cost to many stores. This keeps me supporting the program and web site and provides the stores with a method of increased profitability without the technical knowledge and high cost of writing custom software.
This system also eliminates the endless cycle taken by most software publishers of offering upgrades each year at an additional price. I would prefer everyone had access to the latest version so that all can benefit from the great ideas from the rest of the industry.
The latest version will always be available on the web site for CBPF subscribers as soon as it is tested.
Obviously the more stores who use CBPF, the lower the cost per store to maintain the program becomes. Also, any publishers who have a similar vision as mine (to increase readership and support the comic stores), would be welcome to support CBPF in return for support notices on the program and the web site. This also will help to keep the cost to the retailer down.
Another outlet to help keep the cost down to retailers is for CBPF users who are members of CBIA (Comic Book Industry Alliance) to use their forum to “evangelize”. The CBPF users forum is a great place to discuss CBPF. But so is the CBIA forum. If CBIA users ask about CBPF or other pull list questions, make sure you give input about CBPF. This will give the CBIA user an unbiased opinion (which I presume he wants). Continuing to keep CBPF in front of those using the CBIA forum would be a great way to get new users of CBPF. More users equals more input. This will make the program better, and keep the cost down for all users of the program. CBPF – Designed by retailers for retailers.