San Francisco's Deplorable War on Comic Book Stores

San Fran's war on comic book stores must end (AP)
May 1, 2015

I've written about minimum wage hikes several times before. They don't help alleviate poverty. They kill jobs. They drive bookstores out of business.

And now we discover that they cripple comic book stores. Here is National Review's Ian Tuttle:

Hibbs opened Comix Experience on April Fools’ Day, 1989, when he was just 21 years old. Over two-and-a-half decades, the store has become a must-visit location for premier comic-book artists and graphic novelists, and Hibbs has become a leading figure in the industry, serving as a judge for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and as a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s board of directors. He notes with pride that his store has turned a profit each year — no small task — since its very first year.

But that may not last. Hibbs says that the $15-an-hour minimum wage will require a staggering $80,000 in extra revenue annually. "I was appalled!" he says. "My jaw dropped. Eighty-thousand a year! I didn’t know that. I thought we were talking a small amount of money, something I could absorb."

Comic book stores are your classic low-margin businesses. The prices are on the cover and shops get a relatively small cut of the sales. The work isn't particularly labor-intensive—Hibbs says he only usually has one staffer on duty at any given time—so there's little he can do to increase efficiency. This is just a huge new cost that he'll either have to absorb. Or, you know, go out of business.

Anyway, you should read Tuttle's piece. It's the sort of thing that needs to be understood by everyone who thinks that minimum wage hikes are a good idea. Perhaps they are! But blinding yourself to the costs of your preferred policies does no one any good.

Published under: Minimum Wage