It’s one of the most-asked questions we get, probably because Zap-Kapow Comics includes a price guide as part of the collection management system — How do I sell my comic books?
Although the very thought of parting with comics generally makes us very, very sad, we get it. Maybe, you’re done with the whole hobby, maybe you need quick cash for an emergency, or maybe you’re running out of space and need the room. Whatever the reason, it can be an intimidating and challenging endeavor, especially if you have an exaggerated idea of how much your comics are really worth and what condition they really are in.
There’s no quick and easy answer on parting with your books, but let’s see if we can breakdown some of the ways to sell — and not sell! — your comic book collection.
Good old eBay (aka “The Bay”) is probably the easiest way to quickly sell your comics. Resources like Zap-Kapow Comics, and eBay itself, can be excellent resources to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of what you can get value-wise from your comic books.
Whether it’s via an auction or Buy It Now format, eBay can get your comic book (or books) quickly in front of a lot of eyeballs, but there are some things to keep in mind.
- Make sure you are taking as many photos of the book, as close-up as possible to add to the listing.
- Make sure you’re up-front about any defects. Creases, tears, pen marks, etc., the last thing you want is to have to deal with an unhappy buyer that wants their money back and is mad you neglected to post a through listing. eBay will ALWAYS side with the buyer in these cases, so go out of your way to be transparent and real about the problems your books may have.
- Be reasonable about shipping costs. No one likes a $20 book listed for $1 plus $19 shipping. Most single issues should ship around $4 at most, don’t try to make up your books value in “hidden” shipping costs. It’s gross.
- When you book sells, PACK IT CORRECTLY. There are excellent walk-thoughs online on how to best prepare a comic book for shipping here, here, and here. Do it right and make sure the book gets to its new owner in the shape it left you, or you WILL hear about it from an unhappy buyer. And you’ll deserve it.
- If you have a run of books you’re trying to sell, sell them as a lot all together. This is an especially good way to get value for lesser valued books. Most $3 comics aren’t really worth the hassle of selling by themselves on eBay, but 5-10 issues of $3 comics for say $10-$15 is another story. Especially if you can do a complete run of a storyline or creative team.
If you’re looking to sell a large collection, eBay probably isn’t going to be optimal, but for key issues or small runs, it’s probably the go-to source of the modern era.
Facebook Groups and Marketplace
Similar to eBay, but somehow with more inflated ideas of comic book values, Facebook has become another option in moving your comics in recent years. In a Facebook Group, you might find an interested buyer and be able to negotiate a price, or on the Facebook Marketplace (kind of a garage sale online). All the basic rules of eBay apply here.
Your Local Comic Shop
Most local comic book shops (find one near you here!) buy as well as sell. And most are happy to give your books or collection a look over and make you an offer. However, and this is important, they are also businesses that need to make a profit as well. So if you have a comic book worth, say $100, they’re not going to give you $100 for it.
They need to make money on it too (especially since they’re going to basically have to do the work you’re not of listing it on eBay, letting it take up space in their shop, etc.), so expect their offer to feel like they’re “lowballing” you, but understand they’re just looking out for their future profit and return on their investment. It will vary depending on the comic book, its condition, and the comic shop owner you’re dealing with, but 30-50% of your perceived value is very likely.
If you’re in a pinch though, and need quick cash, your LCS will be much faster than eBay to complete the transaction and get the money into your pocket in most cases.
Professional Auction Houses
Soothbys, Heritage Auctions, etc. these are for the big boys. We’re talking books and collections worth thousands and thousands of dollars. Not the fastest route, but certainly the best place to see top dollar for your top-shelf books like Action Comics (1938) No. 1 or Detective Comics (1937) No. 27. But if you own these types of books, you probably already know this. You should now also know all of comic book fandom is extremely jealous of you.
A Fellow Collector Or Friend
Dealing one-on-one with a fellow collector or friend is often the most attractive route. No shipping fees if they’re in town, established trust (you’re friends, right?), and you know your collection or books are going to a good home. The “friend discount” is usually smaller than the LCS “lowball” too.
Friends and fellow collectors may also be willing to work out a trade for your books too, allowing you to “trade up” to a higher valued book to move on one of the other selling options above. Trading five $100 books for one $500 book often will result in a single more desirable (and easier to sell) comic book.
Whatever option you go with, good luck on getting good value and making a clean transaction!