Spence Voykin

Spence Voykin

Castlegar entrepreneur finds unique way to sell comic books online

A Castlegar entrepreneur has launched a new business using Facebook Live.

A Castlegar entrepreneur has launched a new business using Facebook Live.

Spencer Voykin, owner of Peak Physique Fitness, has started a new online business called Comic Kingdom of Canada, where he sells comic books through Facebook Live broadcasts. Voykin pans over comic books in his collection with a camera and invites those watching to claim the books he has in stock, and checks to see if he has books that people are looking for.

“Right now it’s basically a live auction on the Facebook app that allows you to go live on your profile page, and we do comic book auctions twice a week for about four hours each day,” Voykin explains. “And it allows people from all over North America to log in and bid and buy and get comics shipped out to them.”

The comic books he sells are generally older ones — called back issues — that he has collected from various sources, but mostly over Facebook.

“For the most part it’s all back issues. I have been getting some current stuff through … Facebook suppliers, and I am actually starting to order through Previews, the magazine that you do get current issues from,” he explains. “I got 50,000 [back issues] in from Cleaveland about two weeks ago, and that was through … Facebook. It was a big collection that was up for grabs there.”

Comic Kingdom of Canada has become more than a full-time job for Voykin.

“I probably spend 60 hours a week doing this,” he said. “The thing about being an online business, you can set your regular nine to five hours, but because of time zones, because of shift workers, if you’re not very responsive to the messages, people can go shop elsewhere. You are not a storefront, where there’s only one comic book store in the Kootenays and that’s it. Online it’s very easy to find other suppliers.”

As far as Voykin knows, the last comic book store in the West Kootenays was the one he owned in 1998. But residents will soon be able to stop in and browse Voykin’s collection — by appointment.

“I’m going to have it here in the gym, but it’s not really going to have store hours,” he explains. “You can message me on my site and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to be in town’ or ‘I was thinking about popping by.’ If I’m here great, but it is going to be more of an online store.”

Though the space won’t have regular store hours, it will be set up to look like a regular store.

“I’m going to make it like an online storefront. So there’s going to be cameras set up in there and it’s going to be broadcasting live whenever I’m there essentially,” Voykin explains. “People can log in through my website — it’s not going to be through Facebook at that point, it’s going to be through a website — and basically type in ‘Hey Spence, I’m looking for Batman 397. Do you have it?’ and they can watch me live.”

Voykin will be able to answer questions, show customers the comic books they are interested in and the condition the books are in, and invoice them through PayPal right away. As far as he knows, no one has sold comic books this way before.

To check out the Comic Kingdom of Canada Facebook page, visit facebook.com/groups/1226476584114268.