WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELVES IN 100 WORDS OR LESS?
EC has been in business since 1989!
We make our Guests happy by offering you the pop culture merchandise you want in a clean and neat environment staffed by a friendly and knowledgeable Team!
We carry a stellar selection of comic books, games, and toys for all ages and interests, in a superstore with over 6,000 square feet of shopping space!
Your best memories are here at EC!
WHAT IS THE "SECRET ORIGIN" OF EC?
Neil Johnson opened Emerald City in Seminole in 1989 to give the community the pop-culture superstore that he never had growing up. He named the store “Emerald City” because in Wizard of Oz, one of his favorite movies, it was the place everyone went to have their wishes granted – and he wanted his store to be the place where everyone’s pop culture wishes came true. The response to the store was so amazing that Emerald City expanded by opening a second location in northern Clearwater in 1994.
The two stores continued to thrive – so much so that the original Seminole location had outgrown itself! Emerald City was able to purchase a warehouse that is centrally located in the Tampa Bay Area, and on Oct. 1, 2013, the two stores moved and merged into one mammoth pop culture mega-store!
WHEN DOES MY EC ONLINE SHOP ORDER SHIP?
We normally ship through USPS with insurance. Orders ship on the next business day, and usually arrive within three days after shipping. You can also choose an in-store pickup option if you are near our physical location.
DO YOU SHIP OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES?
WHEN ARE EACH WEEK'S NEW COMICS AVAILABLE?
New comics are usually available when we open every Wednesday.
Games and other merchandise can arrive almost any day of the week.
HOW DO I FIND THE COMICS I WANT?
New comics are racked alphabetically by title. Exception: superhero titles are racked by the character’s name instead of title (“Amazing Spider-Man,” for instance, is racked under “Spider-Man”). This week’s new comics have a “New!” label in front of them for easy browsing.
Graphic novels are racked as follows:
- Marvel Superheroes
- Star Wars
- DC Superheroes / DC Animation / DC Vertigo (and DC Black Label)
- Fiction & Literature / "Silver Sprocket and Friends" (indie / DIY / self-published / underground comix)
- Featured Sections (coloring books, cookbooks, how-to, Wicca, mythology, Lovecraft, Tolkien, novels, etc.)
- Art Books
- Manga (Japanese comics, translated into English)
- Kids & Animation
Back issues are filed alphabetically by title (as listed in the annual Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide).
WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Every week, the Emerald City staff each has their own recommended new comic displayed on the counter just inside the store, and we feature a selection of new comics at the register counter. We also have a "Featured Books" table of some of our favorite and best-selling graphic novels. We’re always happy to help you find a comics story you might enjoy, but we will not recommend any new comics for their potential future investment value — we believe the primary value in comics is the reading experience.
WHAT IS THE EC REWARDS PROGRAM?
Sign up for our in-store Rewards Program — we promise not to sell your information or otherwise use it for nefarious purposes! Currently, back issue comics (non-vintage), graphic novels, games, and toys count towards their own frequent-buyer programs. After you buy so many, you get a discount on the next one equal to the average you’ve spent on the previous items. For back issues and graphic novels, it’s 10 items. For games or toys, it’s 20 items. You have a full year to purchase all the items you need to complete each program. Then you have another full year to use the credit you receive for completing a program!
Read all about it on our Rewards Program page here!
WHAT IS YOUR IN-STORE COMICS SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE?
This service holds new comic books and graphic novels for you, so you never miss a chapter of your favorite stories. Here’s how it works:
• It’s FREE. You pay only for the merchandise as you pick it up.
• Just let us know which comic book titles and graphic novels you would like, and we will hold them for you when they arrive. Please subscribe to at least three titles.
• Please pick up everything in your file at least once a month. Delinquent subscription files will be put on hold, and the books will be returned to stock.
• We will gladly try to keep you informed about upcoming comics and merchandise, but we also recommend our distributors' monthly catalogs. You can use them every month to order items that are not already on your subscription file.
• If you order an item that cost $75 or more, please leave a 50% deposit. This deposit is nonrefundable unless the item is canceled by the manufacturer or distributor.
Ask for a subscription form at the register counter or subscription counter!
WHY SHOULD I PREORDER COMICS AND BOOKS!
Why preordering helps you, helps us, and helps the publishers & creators...
Making and selling a book is complicated for all involved – even more so with paper shortages, shipping delays, and all the rest of the supply chain fun. But in the best of times it works like this: creators and publishers make the book and solicit it to stores. We have a couple months to figure out how many copies we want. Then we hit a point called "FINAL ORDER CUTOFF" (FOC) which is the last day we can be guaranteed to get copies we order. Then the publisher takes all those orders and decides how many copies to print. Often there is also a "reorder penalty" cost we avoid if we order by the FOC, so it's in our best interest to order what we need then.
But ordering books is really complicated, especially for comic shops because those books aren't returnable if they don't sell. A shop's goal is to order exactly what we need. Order too few and you are losing potential money. Order too many and you are losing actual money.
This is where the need for preorders come in. What the preorder does is 3 things...
- First, it guarantees you a copy in case the book sells out. Yay!
- Second, it helps us gauge demand for the book and gives us insight on how many copies to order. A lot of shops calculate their orders based on preorders, knowing that every person that comes in early to ask for a book could mean X amount of customers coming in when the book finally releases. Because most people don't preorder, what that "X" is varies from shop to shop; but we've spoken to places where it was 1, 5, 10 – even 20 copies. So your calling, emailing, or stopping by to order a book before FOC doesn't just mean one more copy ordered, it can sometimes mean 20 more!
- And lastly it helps publishers set the print run. Why does that matter? Because each time you have to reprint a book it costs a lot of money. It's much cheaper to print 5,000 books once than to print 1,000 books 5 times. So if 5,000 people want the book but they only guess that 1,000 people want it, they lose a lot of money.
So preordering helps you get your book, helps stores save money and assess demand for the book, and it helps publishers set print quantities, make more money, and avert the costly need for reprints. It's a win/win/win!
And luckily preordering a book is so easy: just call 727-398-2665, email firstname.lastname@example.org, message 727-378-2410, or stop by – before the comic or book's FOC date – and ask us to order you a copy!
WHAT IF I CAN'T FIND THE ITEM I WANT?
If you see an item in the Previews catalogs that you want, or if you don’t see an item in the store that you’re looking for, please ask us. We can often special order it for you. If you order an item that costs $75 or more, please leave a 50% deposit [for some distributors we don't have a final price until the item ships, but we can give you a reasonable estimate]. The deposit is nonrefundable unless the item is canceled by the manufacturer or distributor.
DO YOU OFFER LAYAWAY?
Yes we do!
• The service is free — there is no layaway charge. $50 minimum layaway, please.
• The down payment is 20% of the total pre-tax retail price of the merchandise. This payment holds the merchandise for up to two months.
• Merchandise on layaway must be paid for in full within two months, or the layaway will be canceled. No partial takeouts of a multiple-item layaway are permitted.
• You may cancel this layaway at any time before your last payment is made.
• In the event of cancellation, we will refund all money you have paid, less a cancellation charge of 20% of the total pre-tax retail price of the merchandise.
• Sales and discounts do not apply to merchandise on layaway.
HOW DO YOU PRICE BACK ISSUE COMICS?
Our back issue comics are graded for their condition and priced according to the current price guides.
For our pre-priced back issues, we use both in-print and online price guides. The print guide is the annual Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (widely considered the primary authority on the subject of American comic book grading and pricing in the industry), and the online guides include eBay, gpanalysis.com, and comicspriceguide.com.
Most newer back issues are priced at their cover price, plus the price of a bag & board (currently 50 cents).
DO YOU SELL GIFT CERTIFICATES?
Absolutely! Don’t know what to get that special someone? That’s why we offer EC Gift Certificates! They are available in any amount over 99 cents. They are available in increments of $1 here, but they are only usable in our physical store.
WHAT PAYMENT METHODS DO YOU ACCEPT?
For in-store purchases, we accept:
- Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, ATM/Debit cards, contactless payments (such as Apple / Google / Samsung Pay)
- In-state checks up to $50 with a valid Florida driver's license
- EC Gift Certificates
- Store credit
CAN I RETURN AN ITEM I PURCHASED?
You may return an item...
• for store credit
• with a receipt
• within 15 days of purchase
• if the item and packaging are in their original condition.
If the above points do not apply, we may be unable to accommodate a return, but we will do our best to take care of you.
Our goal is making our Guests happy!
WILL YOU BUY MY COMICS AND COLLECTIBLES? WHAT COMIC BOOKS WILL YOU BUY?
We do buy comics and collectibles that we are sold out of, and that we think we can sell.
If you have something we are interested in buying, we will make a cash or store-credit offer. If you are satisfied with what we can offer you, then you will be immediately paid!
If you have a large collection, send or bring us a list we can review (see the links above for more details). For comics, email email@example.com; for toys & collectibles, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a small box of comics or collectibles, call ahead at 727-398-2665 to make sure a buyer is available before bringing them in.
For toys & collectibles, just give us a general idea of what you have, in case you have something we do not buy (such as sports collectibles) – this way you don’t waste a trip over!
Unfortunately, we are unable to give you a rough estimate of what we would offer you over the phone or by email – we need to physically see the items to make an evaluation.
We are only able to evaluate collections that are for sale – if you need an appraisal for insurance or legal purposes, please contact email@example.com for a quote.
To give you some insight on a Frequently Asked Question…
“I EXPECTED TO BE OFFERED MORE FOR MY COLLECTION – WHY WAS I ONLY OFFERED THIS MUCH?”
- If there is any odor in or on the items (such as cigarette smoke), the value is substantially less.
- Prices are based on an item’s condition, how complete it is, and our current inventory.
- A retail store cannot pay full retail / guide / eBay value for any item. We can only offer you a percentage of the prices you may see in a price guide or on our shelves. Please understand that this is just the nature of a retail store: we may sit on an item for months or years before it sells, and the markup we make on an item is what pays for our Team, our building, electricity, etc. If you need to get an amount much closer to retail or guide value, your best bet is to sell directly through eBay, Craigslist, or a local convention.
- Unfortunately, sometimes certain collectibles are just not worth what you think they might be. There are many items for which we have a high supply and/or a low demand, so we are unable to even make an offer on them! We will let you know whether you should sell them to a buyer that might need them more than we do, or if they might be better donated to friends / family / favorite charity.
WILL YOU CARRY THE COMIC BOOK I CREATED?
It is difficult for a new or independent creator or publisher to get noticed in the comics world, but we do have a couple options for getting new work into Emerald City!
First, we are always happy to sell local / indie creators' comics on consignment!
We review the work to ensure it's relevant to our Guests and our image (you can stop in with a sample of your work, or send a sample to firstname.lastname@example.org). If approved, we display the work on consignment, and split the cover price 50/50 when they sell. We put a "NEW" tag on the shelf to draw attention to the work during its first week in stock, plus a "Local Creator" tag if applicable.
This is our Consignment Agreement Form in case you would like to sell your book or comic on consignment. It can be filled out and emailed back to us (local creators can bring in a filled form, or fill one out at the store).
Besides selling on consignment, your best bet for periodical comics or books and graphic novels is to get them distributed through Diamond Comic Distributors, or a book distributor like Ingram. We order a large volume of periodical comics and books every month, all competing for limited shelf space. Unfortunately, we have too many requests from independent publishers and Kickstarter campaigns to be able to order periodicals and books from each one separately.
We know it's not an ideal situation for new or independent creators and publishers; but we have found that our Guests rarely buy periodical comics or graphic novels unless they are from an established publisher or creator, so unfortunately it is not time- or cost-effective for us to order books and comics that are not offered through Diamond's Previews catalog or our other book distributors.
Whatever you decide, we wish you good luck with your work!
DO YOU MAKE CHARITABLE DONATIONS?
We are always happy to donate comics for a good cause. Please contact us about a week in advance so we can prepare a donation. We will fill out a Donation Receipt form for your organization, and we just ask you to print and sign your name when you pick up the donation!
CW Tampa's "44 On the Town" segment on us!
The Grand Poobah himself!