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Industry Troubles? Free Comic Books To The Rescue!

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Industry Troubles? Free Comic Books To The Rescue!

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Industry Troubles? Free Comic Books To The Rescue!

Industry Troubles? Free Comic Books To The Rescue!

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/136051637/136063550" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Comic book industry growth has also been attributed to the extreme rivalry between publishing monoliths Marvel and DC Comics, who battle it out with characters like the Flash (above) and Nova. DC Comics/AP Photo hide caption

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DC Comics/AP Photo

Comic book industry growth has also been attributed to the extreme rivalry between publishing monoliths Marvel and DC Comics, who battle it out with characters like the Flash (above) and Nova.

DC Comics/AP Photo

For comic book fans around the world, the first Saturday of May marks an annual holiday — Free Comic Book Day. Started by a small shop in California, the event has spread around the world as a way of thanking customers and encouraging new ones.

The comic book giveaway is just one way comic-book-shop owners are fighting the sales drops that have threatened traditional bookstores. Dan Merritt, owner of Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, Mich., says his shop picks up anywhere from 5 to 10 percent more revisiting customers from the event alone.

Still, despite the rise of e-readers, the comic book industry has managed to grow — over the past decade, sales have jumped from $330 million to as high as $430 million. Sales are boosted by the public rivalry between the biggest comic book publishers, Marvel and DC Comics, and by the slew of comic book-based movies that have become box office hits.

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