Writer Wars Round 3: Risk vs Reward by Ben Miller




A New Buyer's Perspective


What costs are you willing to risk in order to get that one book that sells for 10 or 20 times the cover price? And do you really understand the costs? I’ve collected comics for over 30 years, but when it comes to spec buying – and then turning them for a profit – well, I’m still learning.

Ebay is the easiest way to sell comics. However, the comics market on Ebay is volatile. There is no guarantee that the same book will have the same value within the same month. The past three months serve as a perfect example. Right before the publication date, Detective Comics #1000 variants sold for some high figures, especially the Alex Ross and Jim Lee Black and White variants.

Personally, I sold my Ross variant set for $340.00 – a $270.00 profit – but that doesn’t include the Ebay listing and selling fees. More so, I got burned on my first auction for the Jim Lee B&W variant. It sold for $207.00 and the buyer immediately cancelled after the auction closed. Only 7 days had gone by but upon relisting it, it only sold for $101.00. I still made a profit, but I had to accept that the market had cooled and that no online sale is guaranteed until the money is in the bank. However, I’ll be lucky to break even when selling the Adam Hughes variant set.

Now with Avengers Endgame, certain books are skyrocketing in price – but are they really worth owning? Will they rise in value over a long period of time? Or will a cover of Iron Man wearing the Infinity Gauntlet end up in a dollar bin six months from now? First prints of Naomi #1 are still selling between $75 to $100, but for how long?

So if you’re looking to become a spec buyer, you need to decide the following:

1. When should I sell the book? (And accept the fact that there will be books that you either sold too early or too late in the market)

2. Accept that some spec books will not turn a profit. You have to have a budget for your spec buying, preferably by month. If you don’t follow a budget, you will lose money in the long run and force you to sell books that you may have wished you held onto longer to obtain a larger profit on the turnaround.

3. When budgeting your spec buying, have you considered all the costs? Ebay listing and selling fees. Actual shipping costs. Sales where buyers back out. All of these have to be considered.  

Spec buying is fun and can be a great way to make some money, but understanding the risks and rewards involved is crucial.

Good luck and happy hunting (and later selling)!


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