Diamond is rough

If you want to ensure a copy of your favorite comic book, then be sure to pre-order through your local comic book shop. The retailers are the bread and butter of this industry. While digital format is an excellent option for those of you out there who don’t have a local comic book shop, it’s the retailer who is the main pipeline for your comic reading. This particular niche market and its business is supported by your local retailer. The last few remaining comic book retailers are generally mom-and-pop stores run by people who love this business. If you love comics, make sure you visit your favorite one often. This industry strives on pre-orders, so get your copies and special orders through the Diamond Distributers’ Monthly Previews Catalog. It has all the cool stuff you want months in advance before it comes out. The catalog is also available online so check it out.

This sounds like a great pitch, doesn’t it? It’s because it’s 100% true. Most importantly, however, is this:

If support your local comic shop, be sure to contact Diamond Distributers directly when your store doesn’t have the copy of the comic you ordered. When your store tells you that the books are going to be late this week or your book didn’t come in like it was supposed to this week, that’s Diamond Distributors fucking up.

For those of you unfamiliar with Diamond, let me introduce you. Diamond is the distribution company monopolizing the pop culture market. If it’s cool and it’s geek-related, Diamond distributes it to retail businesses. When comic creators and publishers want to get their work out to their readers, it’s from Diamond that they buy their ad space. Diamond is the proverbial Cerberus to the Gateway of Geek Heaven.

And they suck. Just like you’d imagine a giant multi-billion dollar corporate monopoly would.

Every week, for months on end, my favorite store tells me that the reason my pre-ordered comic book didn’t come in this week is because Diamond shorted them copies. Or that they sold out because Diamond didnt give them enough (even though they ordered enough). That means, even though the retailer specifically ordered an item that I requested, the Almighty Diamond decided not to give it to either of us. Why? Who knows? Try calling them to find out. Go ahead, I dare you.

I have a legitimate question for all comic creators out there. Feel free to chime in at any time. If you are a comic creator and you want people to read your stuff, then wouldn’t it make sense that you or your respective publisher would make sure that the company distributing your books is doing a precise and quality job? It is, after all, your product they’re distributing. And yet -every week: delays, missing issues, unfilled orders, etc. Sometimes, books or issues or items I’ve ordered never even show up. I’m still waiting on Witch Doctor #3 and Aquaman #1 (both were shortages that “have been delayed in shipping” with no reason as to why they haven’t shown up yet).

Think of it this way, major publishers… That’s profit you’ll never see. Maybe that’s covered in your profit-loss margin but it makes sense to me that if you want to see the most return on your product, wouldn’t you want to lessen that profit-loss margin just a teensy weensy hair more? And creators… if sales on your book sag, you’re out of work. Doesn’t every unit count? Wouldnt you want to make sure the most people got to read or look at your stuff so you could keep telling stories and earning a living?

Look, the views and opinions expressed here may not necessarily reflect the views of the parent company or it’s subsidiaries etc, etc but I think that Diamond needs to get its shit together. Most importantly, I would like the option of choosing another distributor if the one I have isn’t providing the right level of service. Yes, I’m looking at you, Diamond. How can I not? You’re the only one in the fucking room.

There needs to be a break in this monopoly. And I am begging the major distributors: demand a distributor that meets your standards or cut the middle man out completely and ship direct.

C’mon Marvel… I dare you… Knock the guy off the hill. You have the greatest DVD distribution house in the world looking out for you now. Use them! Disney money could go a long way to providing an alternative to Diamond Distributors, thereby cutting out the middle man and increasing profits all around.

Makes sense? Am I full of shit? Write some comments below and we’ll chat.

Thus endeth the rant.

———

Comics this week were pretty lackluster to be perfectly honest. November is a month with five delivery days, so the end of the month is generally pretty slow. Plus we just finished event season for Marvel and DC so there’s nothing really exciting going on right now. Check back next week when DEFENDERS #1 comes out (yay!!!). Other than that, the were no big “wow” books this week. FF is good. So is DAREDEVIL. For shits and giggles, I caught up with Uncanny X-Force in trade paperback and single issues from #1 to present. Thats good too…. but only because I’m a huge old skool X-Men geek.

That’s it. See you next week.

-Dan

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3 Responses to Diamond is rough

  1. I’d only ever gotten the gist of the whole Diamond thing, but God-damn, is that bad. If I had a gagillion dollars and knew anything about business, I think I’d be morally obligated to start a better distribution company.
    Are “Occupy” jokes overdone yet? If not: Occupy Diamond, anyone?

    As usual, I appreciate the knowledge drops, sir.

  2. Brad Knowles says:

    I am a “Hold this comic book in my hand and feel the paper crinkle” kind of guy. For as much as I love technology in other aspects of my life, I am old-fashioned when it comes to reading comic books. That being said there is a real threat (and the comic book companies are doing nothing to discourage it) that someday paper comic books will go the way of the cassette tape and be replaced with digital copies in some form or another. Diamond should take this very seriously. Given the choice of not reading my Aquaman at all but knowing its somewhere in paper form, or having it instantly delivered to me but putting up with the digital inferiority, I think many will choose the latter. In that instance Diamond will only have itself to blame for making itself obsolete. .

    • Dan says:

      We’re a material culture. The companies aren’t going to stop printing paper copies because there’s a market for them. They are, however, in full favor of digital copies. As @mattfraction said, “It’s a dollar in my pocket either way”.

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