When talking about trading card games or TCGs, Magic The Gathering is one of the first names that come to mind.
First released in 1993 by Wizards Of The Coast, it has steadily grown in size and popularity over the years. Today, it is easily one of the oldest and most well-established TCGs in the world. It boasts around 40 million players worldwide and has over 23,000 unique cards.
The game is going strong even today, with a large number of new players joining the fandom regularly. In fact, Hasbro (the company that owns Wizards Of The Coast) has reportedly made a profit of over $581 million from this game in 2020 alone!
Thus, if you are an enthusiastic collector and player, you can become a distributor for these cards yourself. This guide contains all the details that will help you get started with this endeavor. So, dive in!
Becoming A Magic The Gathering Distributor – The Basics
Contrary to what you might have heard from others, it is not that difficult to become a Magic The Gathering (MTG) distributor. All you need is a traditional brick-and-mortar retail store, and you will be good to get started!
Of course, this is just the first step in the process. Below, we have discussed the different aspects that you need to keep in mind to become a reputed distributor.
Where Do You Get The Cards?
Naturally, in order to become a distributor for these cards, you will have to buy them first. In essence, you will be acting as a physical retailer of sorts, where you will sell MTG cards to prospective buyers that visit your store.
You should know that Wizards of the Coast follows a well-established system for selling its cards to consumers. The company manufactures and packs these cards at different facilities located throughout the country.
Then these cards are bought by wholesale distributors selected by the company. These distributors then sell the cards to retailers, who ultimately sell them to consumers. Of course, there can be a couple more steps in this system, but the first two always remain the same.
Here, you might have noticed that the second step involves a wholesale distributor. However, that is not the role you will be fulfilling in this system. In fact, your position will be after the wholesale distributor since you will most likely be selling to the customer directly. The wholesaler will be selling to people like you and not to the customers.
So, as you can guess by now, you will need to buy your cards from these wholesale distributors. In most cases, these wholesalers will have their own set of rules and requirements for selling these cards. You will need to check these guidelines before you buy from them.
On that note, Wizards Of The Coast works with only a few wholesale distributors, which are:
- Magazine Exchange
- Southern Hobby
These distributors are not available everywhere, which means that you’ll have to check which one operates in your locality. You can preferably buy from another one, but then you will have to handle the logistics, which can be expensive.
Can You Buy The Cards From Wizards Of The Coast Directly?
Well, the simple answer to this question is – no, you can’t. There was a time when you could buy directly from the publisher, but the company scrapped that system in 2018 in favor of the current one.
Presently, Wizards Of The Coast does not sell MTG cards to any other companies except the above-mentioned distributors. Therefore, you have no other choice than to buy cards from these authorized wholesalers.
However, that is not necessarily a bad thing, as it makes the process a lot simpler for small physical retailers. In the old system, there were a lot of requirements put in place by the company. And if smaller retailers wanted to buy from the publisher directly, they would need to meet all of these requirements.
Fortunately, in the new system, you don’t need to worry about any of those requirements. The only ones that you need to keep in mind now are the ones put in place by the distributors, which are fairly straightforward.
How Should You Buy The Cards?
Most of the authorized distributors will require you to purchase the cards wholesale. In other words, you will need to purchase large quantities of Magic The Gathering cards, which you can then sell in your game store.
Purchasing a single batch of these cards will cost you somewhere between $80 and $100. So, the more boxes you buy, the higher the price will be
Apart from the above wholesale boxes, you can choose to buy booster boxes as well. Each booster box comes at a slightly higher price than a regular box, and it may contain some rarer and more powerful cards.
Selling The Cards In Your Store
Once you have set up your store and prepared a well-stocked inventory of cards, you can finally start selling. Of course, if you are just starting out, you may not have the funds for a large inventory. In that scenario, you can purchase and sell these cards in smaller volumes, which will be more budget-friendly.
On that note, it won’t be very feasible for you to buy a large number of booster boxes either. Yeah, we admit that they can seem to be more profitable than regular card sets. But believe us – unless you can sell a large volume of these booster packs, you won’t be able to make a substantial profit.
The best course of action here will be to break down the booster boxes and sell the cards as singles rather than a set. In fact, this is a common selling tactic employed by small card retail stores today.
If you follow this method, you’ll get more control over the sales. That’s because it allows you to pick which cards you want to sell. Moreover, you can set the prices of each card individually, which has a higher chance of being profitable.
Can You Sell The Trading Cards Online?
This is a common question asked by people looking to set up a local distributor network for MTG cards. After all, selling through online channels is a lot more convenient than selling through a physical store. As such, it can be beneficial for both the seller and the customer.
So, to answer the question – yes, you can sell the trading cards through online channels if you wish. However, you will still need to have a physical retail store. This is because owning a traditional brick-and-mortar store is one of the fundamental requirements for becoming a distributor.
If you do not have a store, then you will not be able to buy cards from authorized distributors. And if you cannot buy the cards wholesale, then you won’t be able to sell them on your online store either. In such a situation, you won’t have any other choice than to buy these cards from another retailer and then sell them online.
Although it might sound convenient at first, the above approach is not going to be a very profitable one. That’s because you will have to spend a lot more money to buy these cards from a retailer. Conversely, you will have to sell them at almost the same price, or else no one will buy the cards. Thus, the revenues you will generate from this entire process will be negligible.
Other Considerations For Becoming A Magic The Gathering Distributor
If you want to become a reputed distributor, you’ll need to keep a couple of other things in mind. For starters, you will need to join the Wizards Play Network (WPN). While this is not a mandatory step, we would strongly suggest that you do it anyway. That’s because joining the WPN comes with different benefits.
The publisher will recognize your store as an official member of the WPN, which will naturally bring in more business. Also, you will be able to build a strong network since the WPN consists of many other retailers.
Aside from that, you should think about hosting Friday Night Magic events in your store. This is directly dependent on the previous aspect, as WPN membership will require you to host these weekly player events. If you don’t opt for a WPN membership, then hosting these events won’t be mandatory.
Needless to say, you will need a sufficiently large store to host the Friday Night Magic event. If you have limited space inside the store, then you will not be able to organize this event, which will subsequently affect your WPN membership.
That brings us to the end of this article about how to become an MTG distributor. As you can see from the above discussion, becoming one isn’t all that challenging if you have a large enough store, and follow the guidelines.
We would strongly recommend that you set up an online storefront to complement your store. That way, you can generate revenues from two different channels simultaneously.
Also, it is a good idea to keep other types of TCG in your stock, such as Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. That will offer a greater potential for diversifying your store in the future.
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