Ye Olde Comic Book Shoppe – The Fall of Print Publishing

The ABC Book & Comic Emporium – GO VISIT THEM BEFORE THEY CLOSE! EVERYTHING IS ON SALE! You have until the 31st of November.

I was going down to Broadway for lunch with my mom, and she had to leave early. So I decided to go visit the comic book store on Broadway and Granville. When I got there, my heart sunk. Emblazoned on its store front was “Sale- Going out of business”. I cannot say I have been a regular customer at this comic book store, but I have been there every once in a while. It all started around two years ago when my friends and I came back from a movie and decided to venture into the store. Inside we found cheap comic books, as well as a huge variety of other books, magazines, DVDs and some novelty items. It was mostly a second hand book store, but they have a section of new comic books too. I have always thought that it was a nice place and would visit now and then on my way home from UBC.

I actually felt like crying when I walked in, realizing that these walls of books and boxes of comics were to be moved, sold or god knows what else is going to happen to them. I talked to the owner, an older fellow (maybe in his early sixties?), who I have seen every time I visited them. He was always the one who was by the cash register, ready to answer any questions on their selection, or general questions such as what a “variant edition” of a comic book meant. He told me he will try to find someone to buy the store (I am assuming their name and their inventory), and he assumes that if someone does buy it, they will move it to a cheaper location. Rent was around $9000 a month, which made me wonder if they even raked in $9000 in revenue a month. They probably relied on the small sector of ever-diminishing regular customers that they have built up over the years.

For me, I have always loved reading comics. It probably started with my mom borrowing Garfield comics for me at the local library when I was young, then moving into an Archie and Friends phase. More recently, I have been quite into Marvel and have looked into DC. That is why I visited them today. However, it is really sad that the ABC Comic Emporium is closing.

It is not just comics. They have old issues of magazines, really neat looking old novels, as well as new stuff too. You can easily find a second hand hardcover copy of Brisingr by Christopher Paolini on sale for $15. I also saw in their glass cabinet a Game of Thrones, first edition, first print version selling for $80 ish, but now reduced to half. This place was special and had character. You look over to Chapters across the street from them and you can already guess what you will find inside the two storey, glass enclosed building. However, walking into ABC, you have no idea what you will discover!

It is such a shame that print comics and books are being replaced in the modern world. There will always be people who insist that the feel of holding a good, physical book is much better than an e-reader. I am one of those people. However, that did not stop me from turning to my iPad. It is very handy having a bunch of books stored in this simple and small tablet. I used to bring 3-4 books with me on vacations. Now, I can carry a small collection with me, without taking up half my suitcase.

If you have never been, or have not been for a while, I highly suggest giving the ABC Book & Comic Emporium a visit before they close down. You just may end up buying something you never knew you wanted! Say hello to the owner for me! Let him know there is people out there who will miss him and his store. 🙂

– Karen


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