In those days when the only way to get a dose of Star Wars was to go to the theater, the Marvel book was my lifeline. They are the reason I have a certain meat eating space rabbit living with me. 😉
I don’t think there ever was a dedicated comic book shop local to me back then, (I never actually visited one until the 80’s) so the spinner rack at the local drugstore or Kmart was about the only place to find them. Sometimes I couldn’t find them at all. No idea if they sold out or stores were fickle in what they stocked. I’m sure Marvel and DC had more monthly titles than could fit on the rack.
The only downside of the collected editions is you don’t get the ads of the era, (especially for now really tacky dated SW merchandise) or the Star Words letter column. It was an interesting snapshot of the early fandom, with arguments about whether Leia should choose Luke or Han, when was Vader coming back, could Vader ever team up with Dr. Doom, etc. Also some kvetching when Carmine Infantino took over drawing our heroes. It was almost as crazy as this place gets. 😛