Today I'm here to tell all you lovely readers about something that will clear your skin, water your crops, and all around brighten your day. Are you ready? Prepared to have your mind blown? Okay...
Yeah, yeah, full disclosure: I'm probably the last person to discover this online gem. But just in case I'm NOT I am now duty bound to tell everyone how utterly fantastic this website is. Are you a fan of comics, graphic novels, manga, and the occasional tie-in novel? Then congratulations, InStockTrades carries everything you could ever want.
Well, a lot of stuff anyway. The name kind of gives it away. They have what's currently in stock and as someone who's trying to collect every major Doctor Strange trade paperback in existence----including a whole lot of stuff that's been out of print for years----"in stock" can be a pretty frustrating term. Sometimes it means, "Yes! We have the thing!" and everyone is super happy. Other times it's, "A third party has the thing but at 5x the original price, good luck buying that on a grad school stipend." And other times I get my hopes up seeing the little 'In stock' sticker with a reasonable price attached... only to realize we're talking about a digital copy only. Sorry, I'm a library kind of girl.
InStockTrades has a truly excellent collection though. My wishlist currently includes a lot of those Doctor Strange books I've been after, the weirdness that is Saga, and the entirety of Assassination Classroom at $6.99 a volume. And no, those prices don't rise for more recent volumes. Manga is $6.99, period. Most trade paperbacks are 42% to 50% off, while hardcover collections (like Marvel Masterworks) are anywhere from $25 to $45, depending on the rarity. You can knock another 2% off if you order consistently. There's even a last chance sale and a "damaged" list----though from what I've heard the damages are minimal, if noticeable at all. Oh, and did I mention that shipping is a measly $4? Free if your order is over $50.
So yeah, it's cheap. Dirt cheap. Cheap enough that when I found the website I was feeling iffy as hell, more than half convinced that it was all a scam. However, the little bit of hope left in my soul convinced me to do some cursory Google searches and I found page after page of this:
Generous drug dealers aside, it was reassuring enough for me to throw my hat in the ring, take a chance, all that jazz, and I ordered a good chunk of those Doctor Strange books with just a little fizzle of fear. The result?
I can't remember the last time I opened a package and found all my books perfectly intact. That GTA salary demands that I buy pretty much everything used and that resulted in a wonderful conversation while visiting a friend earlier this month. It began with me lounging lazily in a pool, entirely unaware of any biblio-tragedies. It ended with my friend saying,
"So your book is blowing away..."
That's what happens when the bookbinding glue wears down and a very light breeze rears its head. RIP The Way to Dusty Death. Never gonna happen with InStockTrades though. Just look at these beauties.
They're straight off the shelf and came with more backboards and bubblewrap than I think is strictly necessary, but I'm not going to argue with results. They're cheap as hell, customer service is great (from what I've heard anyway), and they didn't steal my non-existent funds to supply their own materialist obsessions. That's a win-win in my book. The only downside?
Shipping is slow. Like two weeks slow. I've heard that the average time for picking/scanning is more in the ballpark of a few days, so I might have just had a slower shipment for whatever reason. It happens. Regardless, if you're not in desperate need of your comics just make a big order come pay day (free shipping!!) and sit tight. If you manage to put the order out of your mind it's like discovering an unexpected present on your doorstep. Who doesn't want that at the end of a long work day?
So this is a vouching from one comic geek to another. Give InStockTrades a try. No, they're not two-day Prime, but to my knowledge they're also not screwing over their workers.
I'd say that's a good thing to stick in your bookmarks.
#3: Personal photo