Two weeks ago, Bleeding Cool reported that Diamond Comic Distributors had been running a survey of comic book retailers, during the current global upheaval. Yesterday, comic book store owners also received a communique from DC Comics asking similar questions – but with the answers going directly to DC. This might indicate DC Comics' upcoming plans regarding the direct market comic book industry, but it certain shows what DC are concerned about regarding comic stores right now.
The survey asks for the store's name, street address, e-mail address and phone number. Whether the store is currently open for business. Whether it is able to accept deliveries of new productss. If that would be at the store, at a warehouse or at another location. On that point, it is worth reminding ourselves that Diamond has already established it will now arrange UPS deliveries to retailer's home addresses rather than just their business address.
DC Comics asks if stores are available to provide curbside pickup, local delivery, online sales or walk-in sales. What distributors retailers get their DC Comics from – which may include the likes of Ingram, Edelweiss and Penguin Random House as well as Diamond Comic Distributors. DC did not choose to use Diamond's survey infrastructure, preferring an independent operator, and stated to stores that the pertinent information gathered would not be shared.
If I was a betting man, I might take the purpose of this survey to form the basis of an alternative comic book distribution network from DC Comics, independent and separate from Diamond. Certainly, it appears to be measuring the lay of the land. And as an incentive, the survey asks for permission to share each store's location and social media information on their own social media platforms.
What are DC Comics' plans for the direct market?
We look forward to seeing how this plays out in the comic book marketplace and invite retailers to comment as to the significance of DC Comics asking these questions directly to comic book stores. You can continue to follow Bleeding Cool's continued coverage of the comic book industry in this time of trial with the following link.