Starting where the last post left off, I figured I would take the other stance. If we want the hobby to continue how can we bring in the next generation of collectors. As we all know the local hobby shops are in the toilet. In my neck of the woods alone, I’ve seen the local card shops drop from 6 to 1. I visited each and every one of them and spoke with all the owners. Every one of them said the same thing. There is no growth in the industry and there may never be any growth ever again.
Some of the other complaints, eBay is killing them, the profit margin has shrunk to levels that are not conducive to making money. Buying wax has gone from a low risk / high reward to high risk / low reward. Companies like Dave and Adam’s Cardworld make their money on buying and selling in bulk. Your local card shop can’t do that.
In the Raleigh Durham area we get card shows once every three months. It has gone from being on the floor of the local arena to now being in a hall, about a quarter of the size. Not only that but only about 3/4 of the tables are full. Even better we have to pay to get in. So the question is, do we just let the hobby die? Or can Topps, Upper Deck or Panini figure out what to do next?
There were a lot of suggestions, but none were better than blowing it all up and going back to the 80s. Not to piss off everyone who reads this blog, but in the end, it is what it is pictures on cardboard. The real problem with that is that we are going to miss the autographs and the game used cards. Stores are slowing down on what they carry, even Walmart has given less space over the past few years.
The key is kids. I have given kids in my neighborhood cards with jersey swatches and autographs on them and they just aren’t interested. Commentors were right, you are competing with video games, mp3s, dvds and phone games. They aren’t buying dollar packs with 8 cards in them. Sorry it’s just not happening. A kid might have $20 he could blow and a blaster of 60 cards ain’t gonna do it. This is going to hurt the likes of Upper Deck and Panini, but it’s time to bring back cardboard and dump things like silver and gold foil.
Not just one set of low end products, there needs to be quite a few. No more autographs, no more parallels, not more sequentially numbered cards, no more gray and white jersey swatches. Just cards with solid designs. Face it, we aren’t the future of card collecting. It’s over when our generation is over. Sadly if things don’t get under control, this great hobby we all love will be gone.
People think I’m nuts, that I don’t know what I’m talking about. However, I do know what I’m talking about and while yes, it won’t happen this year or next, but 5 to 10 years from now, see what we are going to be left with. Maybe two brands, with a handful of very pricey releases. To get kids involved, the hobby has to get easier, less releases and better products. Sometimes less is more.
I know that I will go down with this sinking ship. I will hope that the card companies can read these posts and the comments that go with them. There has to be a company or entrepreneur out there that gets it. One that understands that the future is in the younger generation. If this hobby is to survive, we aren’t the future.
Remember when this was the chase card?
and this box cast about $20: