Comics Shops Undergo Innovation: Old & Dusty to Comfy & Relaxing
Goeun Han, ‘19
The stale odor of cigarette smoke, dust from old comic books, the spicy scent of ramen, and the feel of old leatherette sofa; these are the typical images of an comics shop. Yet, comics shop industry recently underwent substantial changes; they have become places of entertain and relaxation.
During this winter vacation, I visited a brand new comics shop near my house named Comic Cube, and found it to be totally different from preexisting ones. Later, I found out that Comic Cube isn’t the only one that is different from the old comics shops. All the new shops were different from the old ones in two major ways: the purpose of the shop and the way people read comic books.
First of all, unlike the past when people only visited comics shops in order to read comic books, recent comics shops function as cultural spaces that provide different amenities and services. For example, Comic Cube has two massage chairs, a food bar, nice cozy sofas with cushions. Other comics shops even have hammocks. These changes clearly show that there is a rise in demand for multi-functioning places in which people can take a break.
Also, now people can have their own private time. It was hard to find a private place in old comics shops. All the places were wide open and it was easy to be bothered by other people. However, recent comics shops provide private places for readers who don’t want to be disturbed. For example, Comic Cube has a variety of “cubes” – a square shaped private space – and people who want to enjoy their own time can have their own delightful moment there not being distracted. Inside the cube, there are an electrical outlet, a bunch of cushions and a little table. Now more and more people prefer private space and this preference has lead to the individual’s place in a comics shop.
According to Kyobo Bookstore, 71 million volumes of comic books were sold from January to July in 2016. Compared to the previous year, the number of copies sold (63 million volumes) increased by approximately 8 million volumes. More people are reading comics and they want to read in a private place with better service and this desire has lead to the change and development of these shops. To fulfill people’s desire, even now, comics shop is changing to a better place; from a place to read a comic book to a new cultural space. If you haven’t visited a comics shop recently, why don’t you give it a try? It will be a meaningful experience.