When I was growing up, access to comics was never easy.
I lived in Alice Springs and it was a more remote place than it is now. My comic collecting was at the whim of local newsagents, who would often get dribs and drabs of the more popular titles in, sometimes even neatly in sequence.
As I got older the one of the franchise book stores in town was able to get dribs and drabs of the bound and collected series, but these were for the most part expensive $40+ tomes and from memory it was an expensive experiment for the book store too.
It seems though that at least the difficulty in distribution might have been solved according to an email I received recently. Apparently Diamond who distribute comics to specialist stores will also be supplying book stores with Marvel titles.
What's also interesting to note is that there are three Marvel movies coming out this year with their associated tie-ins Thor, X Men and Captain America.