A lot of talk in the collectibles space is about “what” items are worth investing in, but one element of the hustle that gets almost totally overlooked is the “when”. We see books spike, like the indie favorites Something Is Killing The Children or Canto, and we wonder: when is the right time to buy? Is it New Comic Day? Should I get in on the ground floor of cover price copies and load up? Or is it once a book starts to take off? That way you can allow the IP prove itself on the marketplace and go from there. Well, if you're truly trying to be early and buy at the lowest point in the market, the date you should be paying attention to is a comic’s FOC date.
FOC stands for "Final Order Cut-Off" and it's the cutoff date that comic shops and wholesale accounts have to order products from distributors by in order to ensure that they will receive their ordered amounts of said title. This date occurs 23 days from the book's release, or about 3 weeks. Ordering by this date allows you to lock in a pre-order guaranteed as well as secure the best possible price. Since comics are essentially printed to order up until the FOC date, stores are incentivized to give steep discounts ranging from 10-35% off cover price for ordering before that cut off date. If you're investing in a new title, this ordering window is essential. It allows the investor to both predictably secure copies as well as lock in the lowest possible price. It's for these reasons that FOC ordering is a cornerstone of modern comic speculation and investing.
This week I want to highlight what I am looking for when evaluating books on FOC lists. Cutoff for this week's list is Monday at 10 PM EST and there is a title I have my eye on. It's an indie book and some shops just don’t order those types of titles heavily. I don’t want to wait until release day to try to secure copies; that method just isn’t scalable enough to make my investment impactful. That is why focusing on titles within the FOC window is a must.