I sometimes order shoujo manga phonebooks from Sasuga Books. Originally, I did this because I needed a few for projects and while that’s still my purpose now, I also just like to get them because they’re gorgeous — comics printed in pastel-colored inks sometimes on colored paper. They are so much fun to flip through (and relatively cheap, all things considered — they usually run about $9 or so).
My most recent shipment arrived and it came with extra goodies — my issue of Ribon came with a plastic pencil box and stickers and my issue of Ciao! came with an ice-cream cone shaped bag, a strawberry-scented eraser, a two-color pen and a heart-shaped carabiner.
Do I need any of these things? No. Was I delighted to find that my manga phonebooks came with them? Yes.
Understandably, I don’t think most usual comic book fans are going to want a sparkly pink pencil case to come with their issues of Superman but I think most wouldn’t hate a little plastic figure of some sort.
No, I’m not really serious about wanting to see this happen, but with comic prices hovering around $4, maybe the industry needs to rethink things. These free gifts are certainly gimmicks but to me, they’re ones that work.