Mail Order Comic Review

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gyoung345
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:38 pm

Mail Order Comic Review

Post by gyoung345 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:14 pm

Recently I changed from the LCS to mail order comics. I initially did this study when I picked Sci-Fi Genre, but again recently decided to do a more thorough comparison against some of their competitors.

Using my pull list I found that DBCS was barely the cheapest (though if you have to pay for bags and boards that is not the case), next would be Badger, followed by Sci-Fi Genre. This is based on a monthly pull list of roughly 70 books (51 books are monthly titles, the others are mini-series or limited runs). I like to have my books shipped to me every couple of weeks.

Below is the Advantages/Disadvantages of each service.

Sci-Fi Genre (http://www.scifigenre.com)
Advantages
Free bags and boards. Many shipping options. Monthly comics qualify towards their discount quota. If your pull list contains comics they consider regular series you qualify for higher discounts. Their discount tier is in 5% increments starting at 5% discount for 1-4 titles and topping out at 35% for 51 or more titles. You order by title. It is organized by publisher then you pick which titles you want. You keep getting them until you cancel them. No need to update your order every month if you get regular titles. No deadlines to meet other than when the books are scheduled to ship. You can also browse their back issue store and have the items shipped with your subscription. (Tip! when a book ends it's run, it may stay on your sub list for a couple of months, which counts towards your discount quota, until it finally falls off). Since I have used Sci-Fi I can actually comment on their service. I have subscribed through them since April and have no problems. A couple of times a book has been backordered, but I always received it in my following shipment.

Disadvantages
Discounts are fixed based on what subscription tier you are in. If you subscribe to a low volume of books then Sci-Fi Genre probably won't give you the best deal.

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 35% discount, shipping bi-weekly, bags and boards included, total cost including shipping is $165.15 per month. $73.70 savings off cover price. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $58 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

DCBS (http://www.dcbservice.com)
Advantages
Flat shipping rate of $5.95 regardless of quantity. Good discounts. Most all books are 40% off from major publishers (DC, Marvel). Other publishers seem to be 35% off. However, they offer steeper discounts on individual issues. Nova for September was 50% off as was Batman and the Outsiders. Looks like you have to use previews and create your order every month, which allows you to stay on top of new issues.

Disadvantages
Shipping options are limited for the flat rate. For the standard rate of $5.95 you only get shipments once a month. Going to a weekly or bi-weekly shipping schedule costs more (additional $5.95 and $11.95 per month respectively). You have to stay on top of you pull list because if you don't add items for the next month you get nothing. Must create the order. No bags and boards (that I could tell from the website).

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 40% average discount, ship monthly, total cost including shipping is $156.91 per month. $81.94 savings off cover price. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $66 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

Badger Comics (http://www.badgercomics.com)
Advantages
Flat shipping rates of $5.95 ($3.95 for orders > $40). Shipping options are available for weekly, bi-monthly, and monthly at no additional cost other than the flat shipping rate. Standard 40% discounts on most titles. Looks like you have to use previews and create your order every month, which allows you to stay on top of new issues. Has a feature called autofill that will build your new subscription order for you based on past orders. You can purchase bags and boards for $0.10 per book.

Disadvantages
Monthly you have to enter your order. But they do have the autofill feature that will cut down on the time you need to spend building your order.

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 40% discount, ship bi-monthly, total cost including shipping and $0.10 bags/boards per book is $158.71 per month. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $65 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

Conclusion
Below I rank them on different factors and give an average overall score. I would recommend you do the same for your preferences for each of these categories to see which one would fit your preferences.

Shipping
Badger = 3 (Flat shipping of $5.95, $3.95 if $40 or more, different shipping frequencies [monthly, bi-monthly, weekly], save money by shipping monthly. Bi-monthly shipping equals $3.95 * 2 = $7.90)
SciFi Genre = 2 (Flat shipping of $5.95, different shipping frequencies [monthly, bi-weekly, weekly], save money by shipping monthly. Bi-weekly shipping equals $5.95 * 2 = $11.90)
DCBS = 2 (Flat shippng of $5.95 for monthly shipping [monthly charges additional for bi-monthly and weekly]. Bi-monthly shipping equals $5.95 + $5.95 bi-monthly shipping charge = $11.90))

Bags & Boards
SciFi Genre = 3 (included)
Badger = 2 ($0.10 per book)
DCBS = 1 (website does not specify)

Ordering System
SciFi Genre = 3 (Comic Book Title driven subscription model, continuous subscription, set it and forget it)
Badger = 2 (Previews driven, but also ability to browse by titles, autofill feature helps fill out next months order, orders must be placed every month)
DCBS = 1 (Previews driven, but also ability to browse by titles, orders must be placed every month)

Comics Prices
Badger = 3 (most discounts per book are 40%)
DCBS = 2 (Discounts of 40% off most books, also has special discounts on a month to month basis)
SciFi Genre = 1 (depends on subscription level, tiered discount to a max of 35% for 51 books or more)

Average Score
Badger = 2.50
SciFi Genre = 2.25
DCBS = 1.50

Based on these scores for how they all rank on these categories you can see that Badger beats out SciFi Genre.

So why am I still with SciFi Genre? My decision is entirely based on their ordering system. It's perpetual ordering lets me not miss an issue of some of the titles that I always collect. I only need to drop stuff I don't want or add new stuff I want. If I leave it alone, my titles will keep coming as long as a series isn't cancelled. In other words, the approximately $6.50 savings from Badger is not enough for me to change. However, if my volume drops below the 50+ titles needed for the 35% discount at SciFi Genre, I will probably reconsider. I'm not sure what the cost savings needs to be to get me to switch.

DCBS looks to be the least favorable because of the monthly shipping option limitation (extra cost for weekly or biweekly shipping on top of the flat rate) and ordering systems lack of autofill or continuous ordering by comic book series.

If I had a low number of books and wanted to get them on a monthly basis then I believe that only then would DCBS be an option.

In the end it depends on what you want out of the cost vs. service and what is important to you. Use the rankings to determine which service is best for you.

Ken Liner
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Post by Ken Liner » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:47 pm

DCBS does offer bags/boards. They actually have 2-3 types (cheapest is $0.10 to most expensive is $0.50 I think per book). The option comes up when you are in the checkout process.

They also have a "pull list", which you can create an order from to save time from having to add each individual book every month. This works only for the typical monthly or mini after it's already in their system. You can't add a book to your "pull list" before it's released.

Ken Liner
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Post by Ken Liner » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:48 pm

DCBS does offer bags/boards. They actually have 2-3 types (cheapest is $0.10 to most expensive is $0.50 I think per book). The option comes up when you are in the checkout process.

They also have a "pull list", which you can create an order from to save time from having to add each individual book every month. This works only for the typical monthly or mini after it's already in their system. You can't add a book to your "pull list" before it's released.

I've been using them for over 2 years and have not had any problems with them whatsoever!!!!

gyoung345
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:38 pm

UPDATED Review!

Post by gyoung345 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:54 pm

I have modified the review below after finding out some more things about DBCS and it's feature set.

Recently I changed from the LCS to mail order comics. I initially did this study when I picked Sci-Fi Genre, but again recently decided to do a more thorough comparison against some of their competitors.

Using my pull list I found that DBCS was barely the cheapest (though if you have to pay for bags and boards that is not the case), next would be Badger, followed by Sci-Fi Genre. This is based on a monthly pull list of roughly 70 books (51 books are monthly titles, the others are mini-series or limited runs). I like to have my books shipped to me every couple of weeks.

Below is the Advantages/Disadvantages of each service.

Sci-Fi Genre (www.scifigenre.com)
Advantages
Free bags and boards. Many shipping options. Monthly comics qualify towards their discount quota. If your pull list contains comics they consider regular series you qualify for higher discounts. Their discount tier is in 5% increments starting at 5% discount for 1-4 titles and topping out at 35% for 51 or more titles. You order by title. It is organized by publisher then you pick which titles you want. You keep getting them until you cancel them. No need to update your order every month if you get regular titles. No deadlines to meet other than when the books are scheduled to ship. You can also browse their back issue store and have the items shipped with your subscription. (Tip! when a book ends it's run, it may stay on your sub list for a couple of months, which counts towards your discount quota, until it finally falls off). Since I have used Sci-Fi I can actually comment on their service. I have subscribed through them since April and have no problems. A couple of times a book has been backordered, but I always received it in my following shipment.

Disadvantages
Discounts are fixed based on what subscription tier you are in. If you subscribe to a low volume of books then Sci-Fi Genre probably won't give you the best deal.

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 35% discount, shipping bi-weekly, bags and boards included, total cost including shipping is $165.15 per month. $73.70 savings off cover price. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $58 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

DCBS (http://www.dcbservice.com)
Advantages
Flat shipping rate of $5.95 regardless of quantity. Good discounts. Most all books are 40% off from major publishers (DC, Marvel). Other publishers seem to be 35% off. However, they offer steeper discounts on individual issues. Nova for September was 50% off as was Batman and the Outsiders. Looks like you have to use previews and create your order every month, which allows you to stay on top of new issues. The offer discounts to members of ComicBloc forums. Has a feature called Pull List that helps you fill out your order each month. Shipping options are he flat rate. For the standard rate of $5.95 you get shipments once a month. Going to a semi-monthly or weekly shipping schedule costs only an additional $5.95 and $11.95 per month respectively.

Disadvantages
You have to stay on top of you pull list because if you don't add items for the next month you get nothing. Must create the order. No bags and boards (that I could tell from the website).

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 40% average discount, ship monthly, total cost including shipping is $156.91 per month. $81.94 savings off cover price. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $66 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

Badger Comics (www.badgercomics.com)
Advantages
Flat shipping rates of $5.95 ($3.95 for orders > $40). Shipping options are available for weekly, bi-monthly, and monthly at no additional cost other than the flat shipping rate. Standard 40% discounts on most titles. Looks like you have to use previews and create your order every month, which allows you to stay on top of new issues. Has a feature called autofill that will build your new subscription order for you based on past orders. You can purchase bags and boards for $0.10 per book.

Disadvantages
Monthly you have to enter your order. But they do have the autofill feature that will cut down on the time you need to spend building your order.

Cost Analysis
75 Books per month, 40% discount, ship bi-monthly, total cost including shipping and $0.10 bags/boards per book is $158.71 per month. To put in perspective, the cost from local comic shop for same books would be $238.85 less 10% discount plus tax plus bags and boards (approximately $223). Savings of $65 a month versus going to the LCS (plus gas and time savings!).

Conclusion
Below I rank them on different factors and give an average overall score. I would recommend you do the same for your preferences for each of these categories to see which one would fit your preferences.

Shipping
Badger = 3 (Flat shipping of $5.95, $3.95 if $40 or more, different shipping frequencies [monthly, semi-monthly, weekly], save money by shipping monthly. Semi-monthly shipping equals $3.95 * 2 = $7.90)
SciFi Genre = 2 (Flat shipping of $5.95, different shipping frequencies [monthly, bi-weekly, weekly], save money by shipping monthly. Bi-weekly shipping equals $5.95 * 2 = $11.90)
DCBS = 2 (Flat shippng of $5.95 for monthly shipping [monthly charges additional for Semi-monthly and weekly]. Semi-monthly shipping equals $5.95 * 2 = $11.90))

Bags & Boards
SciFi Genre = 3 (included)
Badger = 2 ($0.10 per book)
DCBS = 2 ($0.10 per book)

Ordering System
SciFi Genre = 3 (Comic Book Title driven subscription model, continuous subscription, set it and forget it)
Badger = 2 (Previews driven, but also ability to browse by titles, autofill feature helps fill out next months order, orders must be placed every month)
DCBS = 2 (Previews driven, but also ability to browse by titles, orders must be placed every month, Pull List feature helps fill out next months order)

Comics Prices
DCBS = 3 (Discounts of 40% off most books, also has special discounts on a month to month basis)
Badger = 2 (most discounts per book are 40%)
SciFi Genre = 1 (depends on subscription level, tiered discount to a max of 35% for 51 books or more)

Average Score
Badger = 2.25
SciFi Genre = 2.25
DCBS = 2.25

Based on these scores for how they all rank on these categories you can see that all are a wash.

So why am I still with SciFi Genre? My decision is entirely based on their ordering system. It's perpetual ordering lets me not miss an issue of some of the titles that I always collect. I only need to drop stuff I don't want or add new stuff I want. If I leave it alone, my titles will keep coming as long as a series isn't cancelled. In other words, the approximately $6.50 savings from Badger or DBCS is not enough for me to change. However, if my volume drops below the 50+ titles needed for the 35% discount at SciFi Genre, I will probably reconsider. I'm not sure what the cost savings needs to be to get me to switch.

In the end it depends on what you want out of the cost vs. service and what is important to you. Use the rankings to determine which service is best for you.

Each has their pluses and minuses. Look at how often you want to log in and fill out your order, how often you want to ship, and how many books you order.

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jovial1
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Post by jovial1 » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:12 pm

I personally decided to go to DCBS. The discount of 40% or more on the books I'm most likely to be buying is a big thing for me. (This is coming from a comic shop that offered no discount on new titles of any kind to subscribing customers. Instead they gave you a discount on back issues that I rarely used.)

I'm not fond of the once-a-month shipping, but I've supplemented it with a handful of books direct from Marvel, and a few that I'll still pick up from the store. (Despite the lack of a useful discount, I still do like the store.) I should have at least one new book to read every week, and a big windfall of books at the end of the month.

And the July order I'm contemplating from DCBS is about the same as one really bad week at my local comic shop. That's right... one month's worth of comics is about as expensive as one bad week. Yowza!
Change is inevitable... except from a vending machine.

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Ken Liner
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Post by Ken Liner » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:26 am

jovial1 wrote:I'm not fond of the once-a-month shipping
I used to do 2x a month shipping, but I decided to save the extra $$ by just doing once a month. You get used to it. I keep up with the various plots from news sites. I'm not so concerned about spoilers any longer.

Also, I have quite a backlog of trades, so I always have enough reading to last me.

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jovial1
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Post by jovial1 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:33 am

Ken Liner wrote:
jovial1 wrote:I'm not fond of the once-a-month shipping
I used to do 2x a month shipping, but I decided to save the extra $$ by just doing once a month. You get used to it. I keep up with the various plots from news sites. I'm not so concerned about spoilers any longer.

Also, I have quite a backlog of trades, so I always have enough reading to last me.
That's pretty much what I figured. Between the books I'm ordering directly from Marvel, and the big event books which I'm still buying at the local shop (plus Trinity) I figure that's enough to give me something to read every week while I wait for my shipment. So far, I'm really impressed by DCBS' customer service, which is probably going a long way to winning me over as well.
Change is inevitable... except from a vending machine.

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Ken Liner
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Post by Ken Liner » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:53 am

jovial1 wrote:So far, I'm really impressed by DCBS' customer service, which is probably going a long way to winning me over as well.
Their email response time has really improved over the last few months. Sometimes it could be days before you got a reply. Other than that, their service is terrific.

About 6 weeks ago I received the Starman Omnibus from them. When I was about 2/3 thru the book, I noticed one of the pages was ripped. It was obvious it happened at the printer, as opposed to a shipping problem. I contacted them and sent back the book. They credited me the cost of the return shipping and sent out a new copy immediately.

I've also had them add/delete books with no probelm.

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cburnham
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Post by cburnham » Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:23 pm

Ken Liner wrote:
jovial1 wrote:So far, I'm really impressed by DCBS' customer service, which is probably going a long way to winning me over as well.
Their email response time has really improved over the last few months. Sometimes it could be days before you got a reply. Other than that, their service is terrific.

About 6 weeks ago I received the Starman Omnibus from them. When I was about 2/3 thru the book, I noticed one of the pages was ripped. It was obvious it happened at the printer, as opposed to a shipping problem. I contacted them and sent back the book. They credited me the cost of the return shipping and sent out a new copy immediately.

I've also had them add/delete books with no probelm.
I sometimes get email responses within minutes or hours. Their return policy is very generous.
Regards,
Chris Burnham

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jovial1
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Post by jovial1 » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:47 pm

I was surprised DCBS let me place a May order in June. I figured the big discounts probably came from early orders, but I'll be getting my first round of books at the end of the month, beginning of next month.

I was so shocked that I walked out of my comic shop with only three books. (Well, two and a half... Secret Invasion doesn't count as a full title on it's own.)
Change is inevitable... except from a vending machine.

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gyoung345
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Post by gyoung345 » Sat Jul 12, 2008 2:38 pm

DCBS looks to be a good option as are the other two. I guess the big selling point on SciFi Genre for me is the set it and forget it.

I don't need to go in month to month to order books. My orders are automatically placed for me. I don't even have to submit them except for the first time.

If DCBS can do that I would think of changing or if my volume of monthly books goes down I would go to them as well.

The big savings came from switching from the LCS to online ($60 a month for me). The savings from switching away from SciFi Genre would only be $6-$8 a month. Which is good, but I think I am willing to pay that premium for not having to place an order each month.

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jovial1
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Post by jovial1 » Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:18 pm

gyoung345 wrote:DCBS looks to be a good option as are the other two. I guess the big selling point on SciFi Genre for me is the set it and forget it.

I don't need to go in month to month to order books. My orders are automatically placed for me. I don't even have to submit them except for the first time.

If DCBS can do that I would think of changing or if my volume of monthly books goes down I would go to them as well.

The big savings came from switching from the LCS to online ($60 a month for me). The savings from switching away from SciFi Genre would only be $6-$8 a month. Which is good, but I think I am willing to pay that premium for not having to place an order each month.
Well, looking at DCBS, I can scroll down my submitted order, and choose to subscribe to any of the titles in it. So it has the option for 'set it and forget it'. But I'm not certain how that would interact with purchasing other books, so I'm going to forego subscription... at least at first... and order month by month.
Change is inevitable... except from a vending machine.

Check out my blog at:
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bhughes923
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Post by bhughes923 » Sun Jul 13, 2008 1:48 am

I've been using DCBS for about five years now or so. They have communication issues, as far as letting you know about canceled books or problems with your order, or even just answering emails (although that has improved a lot in the last few months) but what they really have going for them is the fact that they are really, really consistent in quality and shipping. I think they've forgotten to ship ONE book to me in five years. The condition of the books have been top notch from day one. And they are very forgiving of late orders, or allow additions or deletions with just an email.

DCBS is a great service with a long track record, and they are getting better all the time.
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gyoung345
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Post by gyoung345 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:02 am

I just placed an order for the line of Batman titles that I collect for the month of August. It does look like they have a set it and forget it option. I will experiment with it and see how it goes and post back on my experiment.

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jovial1
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Post by jovial1 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:26 am

bhughes923 wrote:I've been using DCBS for about five years now or so. They have communication issues, as far as letting you know about canceled books or problems with your order, or even just answering emails (although that has improved a lot in the last few months) but what they really have going for them is the fact that they are really, really consistent in quality and shipping. I think they've forgotten to ship ONE book to me in five years. The condition of the books have been top notch from day one. And they are very forgiving of late orders, or allow additions or deletions with just an email.

DCBS is a great service with a long track record, and they are getting better all the time.
My experience with DCBS is purely recent, but I've been very satisfied with their communication. I've had several e-mail exchanges and haven't had any complaints.

My final verdict will come with my first package at the end of the month, but it sounds like I'm in good hands.
Change is inevitable... except from a vending machine.

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