Nerd Central

Folks, I found a comic book store in Tasmania. It’s called Nerd Central, and what an eye opener this visit was. Remember when I said comics were ridiculously expensive in Australia because of shipping costs? I thought readers in Melbourne had it bad! Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what the Tasmanian reader faces:

1 Pack of 100 Current Size Bags = $9.50
1 Dark Horse One-Shot Comic = $7.20 (Cover price $3.50 US)
1 King Bender Action Figure = $24.99 (That’s actually a really good price…)

Even though comics are cheaper on the mainland of Australia, so is toilet paper. And video games ($65 for a USED copy of Mariokart DS? Thanks, but no thanks, EB Games). For that reason, I don’t think this store is overpricing their books. As for the toys being more affordable, I suspect they get them through a different distributor than the comics, which sadly cannot be ordered through anyone but the stateside monopoly of Diamond Distributions.

It’s hard writing about this store without sounding critical – grateful as I was for having found a store within the whole of Tasmania, I’m still ridiculously spoiled by American convenience. Understandable as it is for a small store, I was disappointed to learn that Nerd Central only orders new books once a month to save on shipping (and we were there three weeks after their latest shipment). Even though I’m having my books pulled at home, I was still hoping to see the latest issues, maybe take a chance on a new series. But there wasn’t much on the shelves I hadn’t seen at the beginning of November. I ended up getting Sugar Shock, a Joss Whedon penned Dark Horse one-shot from the MySpace Presents Dark Horse Comics online series.

Despite missing out on a chance to scope some new books, it was still a fun shop to visit. Just walking into a comic book store gave a familiar jolt of excitement that made the hour long drive worthwhile. They also had a decent selection of trade paperbacks to choose from (no Scott Pilgrim though), and some really awesome toys, too. I think Nerd Central is going for a comic book / American novelty store angle, which seems smart since most casual readers in Tassie probably won’t shell out big bucks for individual issues of comics. There were loads of American candies to choose from, and you could buy Kool-Aid packets and Dr. Pepper. Even though paying $20 for some bags, 1 comic, and some Twizzlers hurt my unemployed stomach, it still felt good supporting a business that is working against the odds to offer a rare product to its customers. Visiting this store made me wonder if I would have started reading comics if I had to face the same economical and geographical obstacles as the average Tasmanian teenager. From what the employee at Nerd Central told me, they are one of two stores left in the whole state. But I’ll definitely be coming back to Nerd Central, and next time, I’ll try to catch the monthly shipment.

(Check out that sweet LOEG banner.)