DC Comics took advantage of Diamond Comic Distributors shutting down to change the way they did business. Contacting DCBS and Midtown Comics to set up alternate distribution structures for the rest of the USA and Canada, they made a change for the newly formed distributors Lunar Distribution and UCS Comics Distributors. That they would enable comic book stores to sell DC Comics on Tuesdays rather than the industry standard for New Comic Book Day, Wednesdays.
This also allowed DC Comics to solve the problem of bookstores. DC Comics has been making bookstore sales more and more important to the business in recent years, launching lines of original graphic novels and appealing to the bookmarket audience more than the traditional comic book audience. While the latter mostly seemed to mock their recent release Gotham High, the bookstore market took to this recreation of DC Comics characters as Riverdale-type teenagers with gusto.
Bookstores, however, usually have New Book Tuesday. So DC Comics, not wanting to have their comics out a day before comic stores in bookstores, would give bookstores a 6-day delay. Now, with the instigation of DC's New Comic Book Tuesdays in comic stores as well as bookstores, that difference has now gone. And DC Comics has told comic store retailers annoyed about this change that it was "to eliminate customer confusion about when titles are on sale and to sync up our marketing efforts across all channels."
In recent years, most comic book stores, even those in the UK, got deliveries on Tuesday, or before, giving them time to sort comics before Wednesday on-sale day. An enforced street date gave stores time to prepare, pack and stack ahead of time. In the bad old days, a store would receive comics on the Wednesday of sale and have to do all that preparation as customers were pouring in looking for their comics. The Tuesday-for-Wednesday delivery solved that and made running a comic book store a lot easier.
The DC Comics change seems to threaten to change that – if comic book stores still received their new comics on Tuesday, but had to sort out the DC Comics and get them out as soon as possible, for fear of losing competitive edge against rival stores. However, DC says that they are working with their distribution partners for a targeted Monday delivery date to give stores sufficient time to prepare for Tuesday on-sale if they choose to participate in it. Is that just UCS and Lunar? Diamond as well? If so will Diamond really make two deliveries, or will all deliveries switch to Mondays? And how will this affect the UK, which has a weekend to fit into that international distribution schedule? It was former DCC Senior VP Bob Wayne who ensured that UK stores had the same deal as US stores. Will that still be the case going forward? Right now Lunar has been getting DC Comics titles to stores for the Saturday before Tuesday sale. Can Diamond match this? Here's the latest batch, which arrived yesterday.
More questions still to be answered… If you want to keep up with Bleeding Cool's coverage of the current global situation as well as the continuing New Distributor Wars of 2020, you can bookmark these links.