Due to the recent outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, the pandemic emerged from a city located in China named Wuhan. A massive surge in the worldwide cases of this disease started appearing from different parts of the world and started increasing day by day. Within a week, there were thousands of infected people worldwide. This massive surge in the COVID-19 cases made different countries go into a state of lockdown to mitigate the outbreak of this deadly disease.
A global lockdown soon took place with many cons such as halted economic growth for most countries creating chaos in their densely populated cities. The negative impact on the communities was massive especially in countries already struggling economically. More demands than local industries can supply in both the general and medical fields. The halting of ongoing classes for students causing delays to their graduating date. Businesses closing down temporarily and in most cases permanently and having to lay off a majority of their workers. Unemployment skyrockets, as well as the stress and anxiety of the people involved as the death toll slowly, rise in highly populated areas. This lockdown pushed businesses to adapt or be consumed which created a boom in the e-commerce industry. People are still afraid to travel or go outside their homes because of this deadly pandemic, this will be the norm until a vaccine can be safely created and distributed.
E-commerce and Panic buying:
E-commerce is referred to as buying and selling goods using the internet. Due to the pandemic, almost everyone had to shift their business to online mediums to ensure their survival. Many people had to work remotely through online mediums, According to surveys, many e-commerce, and selling hubs such as Amazon nearly doubled its profits and stacked up a massive surge in its shares worldwide. There are a lot of possibilities as to why this happened, such as people began to sell their products from online channels rather than selling onsite. Another reason is that many people tend to shop online from their houses because of the pandemic.
Panic buying also plays an important role in the increasing stocks of the e-commerce business. Panic buying is basically the human instinct that people tend to consume and shop a large number of products when they are dealing with a crisis such as a pandemic or a disaster. As people heard about the pandemic, people rushed to the store and bought a load of different items such as toilet paper and other accessories. Fun Fact: there was even a toilet paper crisis in the United States during the initial stages of the pandemic. Many stores in the entire world had empty shelves because of this panic buying and the halt in the manufacture and supply of new stocks.
Since many stores rapidly showed empty shelves people began to shop online. E-commerce provided a safe environment for people to shop with safety and not risk contracting the virus by visiting a physical store. Online shopping can single-handedly be the main contributor to the massive surge in the e-commerce business.
Prices in a Pandemic:
When the news of the pandemic was released and the government announced the lockdowns, everyone rushed into the stores and started buying stuff. Hence, inflation happened. As limited stocks were available and everyone was buying stuff in large quantities, quantities they don’t even need, in order to overcome this phenomenon and gain good profits, the prices of almost everything including basic necessities went up. The stores started selling pretty much everything at a higher price. Every store, even E-commerce stores such as Amazon and eBay, started selling products at inflated prices. According to our survey, the prices of sanitary products such as hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, rubbing alcohol and toilet papers, etc. took a price escalation nearing 480 percent on items that were enlisted in the “Sold by Amazon” category. Whereas the items such as face masks took a price rise nearing 1000 percent in the products listed as “Sold by Amazon”. While a price escalation ranging from 200 percent to 1500 percent was observed in physical stores.
COVID-19 and Entertainment:
As this deadly pandemic halted life, everything from educational institutions to the food industry and even arts and entertainment took a huge blow. One of the most affected media genres is the comic book industry. Across the whole wide world, comic book sales have come to a sudden pause. The government of almost every country had to lock down almost everything. Even film production houses were on a halt because many actors were infected with the coronavirus. Upcoming movie dates were pushed to 2021, while many still have to announce a new release date. Media houses to publication departments have all stopped working. Hence, no new comic books are being published, which made a huge impact on almost every person related to this industry.
Almost everyone has heard the Masked Vigilante (Batman) or the Webslinger (Spider-Man). Everyone loves superheroes. These superpowered humans are currently the most grossing industry worldwide starting from their merchandise to their movies and of course, their comics. As the consumers always need something to consume, movies are on a halt and merch doesn’t help to kill time, which leaves the comic books. Fans love comics. Comics use a pictorial representation that is usually combined with a text (dialogue). These books contain a series of images to portray a story. The comic book industry is one of the most booming industries with over 1 billion fans worldwide. Fans love comic books. According to a survey, there are more than 50 million manga comic book fans worldwide. Manga comics are graphic novels that originate from Japan. Whereas DC and Marvel have a fan base far greater than any other franchise combined. From young kids to senior citizens, everyone loves comics. There are a lot of die-hard fans around the world who are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a single book.
When the lockdown was announced by the governments, a lot of comic book conventions were postponed along with many new comic book issues to prevent the outbreak of this viral disease. However, many comic conventions shifted to online mediums rather than physical conventions.
In August, the Little Giant announced a physical comic book show. Despite the outbreak of the viral coronavirus, a huge number of comic book fans attended the convention. The entire 20,000 sq. ft convention hall was fully packed to the brim.
Comics and COVID-19:
To many people, these comics are entertainment and for some, it is a source of income. Diamond Comics is the biggest distributor in the comic book industry in the entire world. In early March, Diamond Comics announced a total halt in the dispersal of all the products including the distribution of all the major comic book publishers including DC Comics, Image, Dark Horse Publications, and even Marvel. The 25th of March marked the last day of which comic book retailers received any new comics to sell. In order to save small comic book stores and retailers, Diamond Comics also announced to pause all digital sales and in-mail or direct comic book orders until they resume distribution. Every comic book that was scheduled to release in April was all postponed before they went live including the digital channels.
DC Comics is one of the biggest comic book publications alongside Marvel. DC Comics announced in mid-April that they will resume publishing a limited number of comic book titles by the end of the month. They also announced that they will cancel all the comic book orders placed through Diamond. Instead of Diamond comics, they will start dealing directly with DCBS and Midtown Comics as they are the two largest mail-order comic book retailers in the industry. As these two comic retailers ship comics directly to the customers — it will be extremely difficult for small comic book vendors to order new comics from DC. They would have to place their orders directly from DCBS or Midtown at a retail price, which will make it extremely difficult for these small vendors to generate profit selling DC Comics.
Sending comics by mail creates an immense blow to the comic book stores but it will be convenient for consumers as they will receive orders by mail or on digital platforms. Pretty convenient, isn’t it?
The survival of the comic book retailers:
As many comic book publication industries alongside DC Comics are shipping their comics directly to the consumers, the only chance of survival for these comic book retailers is by dealing with old comics. In order to fill their shops and get some stock to sell, the small comic book vendors are now dealing with old comic books. Comic books are the only way these small comic book shops can survive because of fixed costs comparatively like many other tangible businesses
Selling old comics:
As people from all walks of life are being forced to stay indoors. Many are jobless, some are having a hard time stabilizing their business as they are shifting to online channels and e-commerce. Many people are selling their stuff for survival. Because of this mutual interest from both the sellers and the retailers, comic book vendors are eager to buy some books. Many comic book enthusiasts are now selling their old comic books in exchange for newer ones or to simply survive in this crisis. Many people are looking forward to purchasing more and more comic books because they need something to entertain themselves and kill time as they are stuck in their homes. Many people now have the time to resurrect their old comic book enthusiasm. Hence, their demand is increasing despite the limited available stocks. So, if you think you have a good collection of comic books in your hand, now might be a good time to sell this asset and gain a good profit.
There are a lot of ways from where you can send your old comics. Some are even much more convenient than you can possibly imagine.
Selling comic books on Amazon or eBay:
All you need to do is just snap some pictures of your old comic book and post it on any online platform such as Amazon or eBay, along with your book details and your contact information.
On social media:
Social media groups are now more popular than ever. There are a lot of Facebook groups that only serve the purpose of buying and selling vintage comic books. All you need to do is to post your comic book advertisement and wait for buyers to contact you.
Via physical mediums:
You can also visit a comic book retailer with your vintage comic and get a deal as well. Many comic book retailers are now purchasing vintage comics at a price higher than ever as they want to fill their stocks to meet the demand.
Will new comic books survive the coronavirus?
The answer to this question is much more complex than it seems. Mainly because no new publications are being announced. Many comic-book stores, retailers, and even small-scale distributors are now on the brink of running out of stocks and closing their shops forever. But I don’t think the pandemic will kill the entire comic book industry. Because there is no building anything without comics. A hit comic book leads its way to a blockbuster movie, eventually a hit video game, and of course merchandise. But one thing is for sure, it all starts with comics. Despite everything, there is one thing that stands true, people still love and crave comics. Their prices are now soaring and they are higher than ever. People are willing to pay top dollar for comics.
Future of Comics:
Without a doubt, comic books will survive the pandemic but at the cost of losing their physical shape. As technology is evolving more and more, people are starting to ditch papers and are now shifting their documents to digital mediums. Kindles, tablets, and ebook readers are now reforming books into a digital medium. Comics are also evolving into digital mediums now even though comic book enthusiasts and collectors still prefer their books in physical mediums. Many comic book agencies, even DC comics, are now selling their comic books in digital mediums alongside the printed comics. Even still, most of the comic book enthusiasts and comic book lovers, still prefer print mediums. This is mainly because the printed medium has its own texture and feel to it, even smell. Whereas digital medium lasts longer as compared to print mediums and demands less care. Digital comics cost less for the publication media and are much environment friendly. Another reason why people prefer print media is that they can sell their vintage comic book issues and buy newer ones instead.
As companies have halted their new publications due to the novel coronavirus, digital media is still available for consumers. Many companies are only selling their new comic book issues via digital mediums only, and eventually, this digital medium will become the new normal however printed mediums will only increase in value during this new era.