Many storefronts have the same problem when it comes to managing their growing selection of comic books and ask the same question, “How do I organize my comic inventory?” There are a number of potential answers, and exactly what may work for you might differ, but I have some recommendations that work for the majority of sellers.
While there are multiple programs and apps that can help you track your inventory digitally, including tools found in some of the most popular comic book marketplaces, that doesn’t necessarily help you when it comes to maintaining your physical collection. With that in mind, I find it best to approach your inventory as if you were a customer yourself.
You enter a shop and you want to find something. How would you hope that inventory would be organized from that perspective? Most people want things to be organized logically by their genre or publisher and then further organized alphabetically by title. I strongly recommend organizing your inventory in much the same way, allowing you to have consistency across your storage and your storefront.
From Publisher to Titanic Titles
First, you want to organize your inventory by publisher. Most are inclined to keep DC and Marvel separate, that much feels obvious, but making sure that smaller publishers are also kept in their own box is just as important. After organizing by publisher you want to start looking at individual titles.
Traditional book stores organize their items by author, but that can very quickly get messy with comics (which can have multiple authors, artists, and other credits) so it’s best to jump straight to titles. You then organize titles alphabetically, and further keep titles together in numerical order assuming they have multiple issues.
Beyond the Basics
This basic form of organization will keep the majority of your inventory together and easy to sort through, however there are many ways to customize your inventory based on personal preference. This kind of personalization is likely just for your own convenience, though don’t forget about making sure it maintains some logic if you have any hired hands.
For example, again approaching as if I were a customer, I like seeing items further organized by their organization or team. Seeing The Avengers issues together in the Marvel section just has some solid aesthetic appeal. That kind of aesthetic in organization has a similar appeal, but it’s ultimately up to you to find what works best.
Beyond your personal preferences, there are other, still deeper organizational options for you to consider. If your entire inventory is customer facing, you should strongly consider creating labels that provide additional information about any given series— essentially, giving potential readers a bitesize explanation of what to expect from a comic.
This has the extra benefit of making it so curious customers don’t have to leaf through a comic to know if it’s what they’re looking for. You can also include additional information on this labeling that could be relevant, such as the condition of the issue, any special information about a piece (like if it features a variant cover), and more.
Whether your inventory is customer facing or all in your own storage, you should further consider inventory management solutions. This can be as simple as the various online databases that will do the organization for you (if often for a price), or as complex as managing your own Google or Excel spreadsheets. Remember, managing your digital inventory can be as important as your physical inventory.