Retailer Thoughts on the Diamond Shutdown / Not Just For Retailers

#1

As we all likely know by now, Diamond / Alliance will shortly be shutting down delivery to Shops very soon … I’ve had about 24 hours to think about it, so, I thought I’d add a little commentary …

Any business I know of relies on Cash Flow … I always say “If the cash don’t flow, the bills don’t go” … I would say that is especially true in the Comic business, since Shops are generally a weekly destination, with new material every week … that Cash Flow is what many, if not most, shops depend on to keep the doors open … yes, most of us have a diversity of products, but folks walking in the door weekly are generally driven by weekly comic deliveries … people don’t buy a new D&D book or whatever on a weekly basis, generally …

Myself, as well as many other Retailers, have a bedrock of Pull & Hold customers that can be relied upon to keep that Cash Flow going … I can’t speak for anyone but myself when I say, Pull & Holds have kept me going through some of the lean times, and there have been a few, over the years …

No new comics, no Pull & Holds …

Many, if not most Shops are fairly thinly capitalized … not really having a huge money stash with which to draw on that can get them through a period of weekly sales loss … in addition, owners are not going to be covered by Unemployment Insurance, at least not in my neck of the woods …

eBay shops that are also Retailers with a B&M and/or Website Sellers will also have no product, so there will be a rolling effect on those as well …

Today, I reached out to many of my largest Pull & Hold Customers, and they want me to motor on, they still want the books, once the broken chain is mended … I figured they would … some have been with me for 30 years …

At my age of 75, I’ve seen pretty much all there is to see in this Business, but I’ve never seen this … I’ll be fine, I’ll likely stay open, my Home is paid in full, my shop building I own outright … I have other products … that’s not to say that the loss of a good percentage of my business is not going to hurt, how could it not … ??

Will this event change the landscape as we know it as it relates to Comics and the medium we love … ?? Will the number of shops out there now begin to dwindle as money gets tighter and bills continue to come in … ?? Much depends on how long this lasts and what plans Diamond might have when things get back to semi-normal … I have no doubt that Diamond will attempt to obtain any and all Governmental Financial help when it becomes available …

It’s going to be a painful time for Shops, many of which owners have poured their Soul into, not to mention their money … I’m hopeful that, when we come out on the other end of this thing, the Business as a whole survives … it may be smaller, but, hopefully, not near extinction …

If you can, remember the old saying, “Support Your Local Comic Shop” … because, now, more than ever, I think they are going to need all the support they can get … and, I don’t think any will come from a Government Bailout for Shop Owners …

3 Likes
#2

Im wondering much the same thing these days Willie. I did my FOC last night on the website and I felt sad. My rep had no answers for me when I asked about how things would go in the weeks to come, just to continue to send in my orders on FOC and my initial order before the end of the month. None of the publishers i have contacts with are answering anything right now either. I did hear rumors that a few shops talked the printers into sending them their comics next week and the week after, though im not sure if I believe it. Also that Digital would still be published on schedule. ( which i think would be a disaster for the industry)

Yes Im new to the retail side of things, but i can see the trend and what i think is coming our way. If they publish the digital, its going to wreck havoc on the floppie sales. Will be hard for shops to sell the preorders they sent in when no one wants to buy them. Speculation is going to change. Lower print runs. Less BnM shops. More online ordering. (I see a Hybrid of Sites like this and comic shops. get your news and your comics all from one place.)

I would love to hear from you and monoplyjackson ( and other retailers) on what you think the Landscape Post Conronavirus will look like.

#3

The only example that comes to mind is the Comic Meltdown of the '90’s … although Retailers still received product then … and the massive shut down of so many shops that had sprung up because, after the Keaton ‘Batman’ and the ‘Death of Superman’, it was the hip thing to do, and comics were on the rise as a money making tool … people jumped in, then it crashed …

I don’t know if digital will be published … and I don’t know how that will effect things in the hard copy World if it is … it will keep writers / artists employed, I suppose …

Marvel and DC drive the market, it’s simple as that … so, combined with Diamond, much depends on how they handle things, how soon the shipping shutdown lasts, etc …

I’ve heard talk about some Publishers doing direct shipping … I don’t think Marvel / DC will fall into that category … even if so, piecemeal shipments still require shipping costs, so multi-shipments will drive up the cost of shipping …

From an ‘on the street’ level, much of what will happen rests with individual shops and how well they can ride things out financially … I see that facet as being fairly bleak, at this point …

Many Collectors and Fans may just move on … as Mr Poyo has mentioned, I know jokingly, start collecting stamps … well, that may be closer to reality than a joke …

Collectors tend to collect … that’s what we do … I’m one myself … I tell people the only thing I’ve never collected is Cars and Women, since they’re just too expensive …

Also, this Thread is not just for Retailers … I’d like to hear from all folks, and if any have any concrete suggestions, they could be useful, so Post them …

#4

I don’t have any good suggestions, as @Uncle_Willie asks for, I’m sorry.

I can only offer my best wishes for you guys to weather this storm!

#5

Dark Horse Comics CEO Mike Richardson addresses the company’s response to conditions triggered by the Coronavirus.
To all of our retail partners,

We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. As I write this, the Coronavirus continues to threaten the health of our families and communities. With distributors shutting down or reducing capacity, retailers and printers closing their doors, and increasingly stringent government rules, it has become challenging to conduct business as usual. We know this has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone.

It is important that you know Dark Horse is committed to helping support your business through this trying time. It seems that market conditions change on a daily basis, which makes formulating a response difficult. While the details are still being worked out, here are our initial action items:

  • We will immediately reduce our monthly output of both comics and graphic novels for the coming months.

  • Dark Horse will indefinitely offer 90-day fully returnable terms (affidavit) on all periodicals on Final Order Cut-off corresponding to the weekly on-sale dates.

  • Dark Horse will continue to explore a variety of options intended to help our retail partners. Updates will be coming.

I’ve been in this business for a long time and witnessed our industry weather many storms. This new threat takes us all into uncharted territory, but we will do our best to help you through it.

All the best,

Mike Richardson

#6

March 23, 2020

To Our Partners Throughout the Comics Industry,

Last week, we sent out a statement to the comics community in which we pledged our support for the Direct Market during the current health and economic crisis. We’ve been keeping a very close eye on the public discussions taking place in forums and on social media, and the sentiment from retailers is abundantly clear:

It’s time to take action.

In light of Diamond’s statement today, our immediate steps to offer relief for our retail partners are:

  • For the next three months, IDW will be offering 60-day no-fee returnable terms for all items on Final Order Cutoff (FOC) corresponding to the weekly on-sale dates from March 18th to June 24th.

  • IDW is announcing the suspension of May releases corresponding to OSD dates from May 6th to May 27th.

  • IDW will reduce its overall publishing line for products originally scheduled through July, with a focus on releasing our biggest projects in special editions to help drive traffic to stores through the summer.

With these measures, our hope is that we can lessen the immediate financial risk that retailers face for IDW products, and give retailers a much-needed break for their monthly budgets.

These are first steps. As the situation continues to unfold, we’re certain to initiate additional programs to help our retail partners. It’ll take insight from and coordination with shop owners, Diamond, and our publishing peers to shape a comprehensive strategy for the industry to move forward.

As a special note to our Creative Partners:

We know that you’re likewise feeling the pain of the current circumstances. Trimming our line through the summer in support of the Direct Market retailers will undoubtedly impact creative workflow for the short term. We fully appreciate the difficulty that this presents to freelancers. It’s our expectation that — in the long term — the Direct Market will bounce back as a result of these steps, and we can all continue the good work of making quality comics on the other side. Our Editorial team has been reaching out to creators and licensors with these latest updates, and we’re here to help in any way we can: answering your questions, listening to your ideas, etc.

The IDW team is committed to working with retailers and creators to get through the coming weeks and months. As I mentioned in our previous statement, we’re here to listen and help. We invite you to contact us directly xxxxxx and we’ll field your questions as best as we can.

Wishing you health and security,

Chris Ryall

#7

BOOM! Studios has released the following statement regarding the Coronavirus pandemic:

BOOM! Studios today announced the BOOM! Retailer Support Services Program , a comprehensive set of initiatives effective immediately to aid comic book shops worldwide affected by the current health crisis.

The BOOM! Retailer Support Services Program will initially deliver the following benefits to qualifying accounts pending details being finalized with Diamond Comic Distributors:
Full Returnability Through June : BOOM! Studios will extend the industry’s best returnability program, the BOOM! Guarantee, by making all items that ship between March 18th through June 24th fully returnable via affidavit in order to allow retailers to order with confidence. Any retailer not already enrolled in the BOOM! Guarantee can sign up for free right here .

#BoostYourLCS Paid Promotion : BOOM! Studios will increase targeted advertising and promotion around comic shops, and specifically spotlight stores offering Safe Services (like curbside and mail order options), using the #BoostYourLCS hashtag to reach over 360,000 fans worldwide. A full list of BOOM! Guarantee and Safe Service retailers (with regular updates) can be found right here .

Rare Variant Cover Gift Set : BOOM! Studios will offer retailers a direct cash infusion by providing previously released rare and popular variant covers for free to qualifying Diamond accounts in April. These gifts will create an opportunity for retailers to generate additional revenue and promotion at no cost. For retailers who do not normally sell variant covers at an increased price, these can be used to reward loyal pull-box subscribers or used to further incentivize customer engagement as prizes or purchasing rewards.

Monthly 1-Per Store Variant Covers : BOOM! Studios will provide new, previously unannounced 1-per-store variant every month through December 2020 free to qualifying Diamond accounts. This program will begin with a new 1-per store variant for Faithless II #1 in April, followed by Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #51 in May, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #1 in June.

Diamond Summit Variant : BOOM! Studios will deliver our promised free Diamond Summit retailer variant cover for Faithless II #1 to all qualifying stores in April so that retailers don’t miss out on this hotly anticipated issue.

Exclusive Convention Variant Opportunities : BOOM! Studios will offer select variant covers and other items previously planned for 2020 conventions direct to retailers through Diamond, as long as supplies last. Since fans can’t go to conventions, we’re bringing the conventions to the fans!

This program includes BOOM! Studios’ support and participation in future industry-wide, coordinated joint initiatives with Diamond Comic Distributors and other participating publishers to benefit and support comic book stores.

“We are deeply committed to working together hand-in-hand with our retail partners through this period of disruption. BOOM! Studios is proud to take both immediate and long term steps to support those on the front lines of our industry,” said Filip Sablik, President of Publishing & Marketing, BOOM! Studios. “The BOOM! Retailer Support Services Program we’ve outlined today is just the start of our efforts, which will evolve as we receive more feedback from retailers. We believe publishers should earn their space on our retail partners’ shelves and at no time has that belief been more important than now. We invite retailers to participate and share ideas to enhance our efforts together.”

Diamond Comic Distributors and BOOM! Studios will be sharing more information directly with retailers as soon as it is finalized to clearly outline how to receive benefits from the BOOM! Retailer Support Services Program.

For continuing news on the BOOM! Retailer Support Services Program , stay tuned to www.boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

#8

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Dynamite Entertainment CEO & Publisher Nick Barrucci has issued the following statement regarding the company’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak :

To our Retail Partners and Fans,

As we stated previously, these are extremely trying times and we’ve been monitoring what you, our retailer partner, have been saying as much as possible during these trying times. From what we can see of the online retailer discussions regarding the backing up of titles to retailers all over the world, and the news that keeps morphing, we have had many internal discussions on taking decisive actions. Dynamite, as other publishers, are working on May coded titles for July in store releases, and this may be an additional burden to retailers and fans with so many titles currently, and potentially more titles, being pushed back. We don’t know what is happening next. We know that more and more states are shutting business and that retailers and fans will not be getting titles for a few weeks at least, and that may be extended.

We hope that things are back up and running between now and then but it seems the best course would be to limit the number of July releases to only our best sellers, especially considering it is a Five Wednesday month. This way, if things are still being pushed back, it’s less of a commitment of titles for fans and retailers. If things are back in place, retailers and fans will have the best sellers to enjoy. We are also moving all of our merchandise out of July all together. This is in addition to taking returns of new titles starting this past Wednesday and at least through the next 4 weeks.

At the moment, we will be releasing Vampirella #13, The Boys #4, Red Sonja #18, Sacred Six #3, Bettie Page #2 and Green Hornet #2. We will also be deep discounting our best-selling collections for retailers should things turn for the better, including Vampirella , Red Sonja and The Boys Omnibuses in time for Season 2 on Prime.

We are a community - the Publishers, retailers, creators, distributor and fans - together, we will get past this. It’s time to make safe and calculated decisions. We hope that this one will help us all through for our part.

Sincerely,

Nick Barrucci

CEO/Publisher

#9

Image Comics has created the promotional comic How to Safely Support Your Local Comic Shop by Alex Cox, Skottie Young & Nate Piekos to remind consumers that there are ways to obtain their comics even under Coronavirus restrictions.

The comic features the Comic Shop Locator Service as a way to connect consumers with comic shops during these challenging times.

Click on the graphic below for a larger view.

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#10

So nothing from the big 2? I’m happy to see the other publishers doing different things to ease the suffering. Do any of our retailers that post here have an online store? I’d be more than happy to throw some business their way.

#11

Marvel has adjusted discount levels … I don’t know if DC has done anything … if they have, I’ve not yet heard …

1 Like
#12

How long before publishers can direct ship to customers and cut out the middle man (Diamond) ?

#13

I think that’s a longshot … fragmented shipping … how many boxes a week would a Retailer get, each costing shipping … I’m assuming you’re talking about direct ship to Retailers …

Marvel has a consumer hard copy subscription service …
https://subscriptions.marvel.com/Default.asp

DC does too …
https://subscriptions.dccomics.com/

#14

I believe the Marvel is handled by Midtown. Not sure about DC.

#15

It’s all going to be over April 12th. This virus has a deadline. Bad for Business!!

[Disclaimer: This comment is not meant to be political in nature nor ignite a political discussion in any way. Those who chose to spark a political discussion commencing this comment forth will be reprimanded.]

But seriously, I encourage everyone here to take their big fat stimulus check and go spend it at your LCS. Buy that beat up Hulk 181 or 9.8 NYX #3 you’ve always wanted…LCS’s need cash too…the economy wants you to do it!

#16

One thought about pushing titles off to July…while that does help stores by decreasing their upfront cost in buying more titles, it also limits their earning potential as less books to sell and make a profit on (thus recouping their losses). Goes both ways.

#17

Well, the websites look remarkably similar, so I’d say DC as well …

#18

I work for a large security company and work from home. Dont think I have a stimulus check coming but if I do, I’d probably donate it to some charity so it goes to people who do actually need it or could use it.

#19

I’m curious what kind of news you guys are receiving in the USA regarding the numbers of daily new infections and deaths in the USA. Because looking at the numbers, there is no way your society will reopen on the 12th. I’m reading that you are just now in peak curve and that the daily cases are increasing at a 50% daily rate and you have just had 2 consecutive days with a over 200 deaths each day. Do you think people should give into the disease in two weeks time?

#20

To answer your question, my Canadian friend, about how boned we are in America. I read this article that is blunt, lays out what will happen, and frankly is terrifying.
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/hell-coming-mathematical-proof-185019616.html

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