We've participated in every Free Comic Book Day held so far, because its just a DAMN FINE idea. "The first taste is free" and all that. Typically, we're pretty mellow about promoting it, preferring the national press to do the heavy lifting. This year was no exception -- zero advertising, no in-store promotion to our regulars, no press releases, heck I don't even put the FCBD window cling up until the week before, and even that's up on the high part of our windows which probably makes it harder to spot.
All of that lack of effort, and yet there were still definitely periods during the day where we had so many people in the store it was difficult to move around without bumping someone's ass.
Lots of kids, too. Lots and lots of kids. Many many many kids. Maybe more kids in 8 hours than we get in a whole month combined. So that rocked.
We were doing OK on FCBD stock until about 3 pm or so -- then we started running out of titles. We started with 35 or so different books, and ended the day with perhaps eight left available.
We don't set limits on what people can take -- we have a "don't be greedy" rule, or "take what you want to eat, eat everything that you take", or perhaps, "don't just take something because it is free"
90%+ of people adhered to this rule without even being told. Even the "leeches" (and most every retailer can tell you about leeches who only come in for whatever is "free", and are, y'know, rude about it) pretty much adhered to the Rule. Which was nice.
90%+ of attendees bought something (counting "a family" as "attendee"), and we had an EXCELLENT sales day. Not a record (that still lies with the Neil Gaiman signing for SEASON OF MISTS HC -- hard to beat selling a $25 hardcover to each and every person who walks through your door, really), but in the top five of all time, and beating last year's FCBD by around 20%.
All in all, a great day, a great event, and we made a WHOLE lot of people really very very happy.