Bleeding Cool has received repeated reports from comic book stores over the last couple of weeks, that Diamond Comic Distributors is, one by one, calling around comic book stores to see which stores are planning to order Marvel Comics through Diamond in October, or which will ship to Penguin Random House.
A year ago, Diamond Comic Distributors shut up shop in order to rearrange their operation to be COVID-secure. Not only did they stop distributing new comics but they also stopped paying publishers, and when they reopened instigated a gradual payment scheme. This was enough to see Marvel and DC Comics make plans. DC Comics arranged it for their two biggest customers, Midtown Comics and DCBS, to become DC Comics distributors, breaking Diamond's monopoly so that now, DC Comics are solely distributed to the North American direct market of comic stores by DCBS, as Lunar Distribution.
Recently Marvel Comics announced their own plan, moving direct market distribution to Penguin Random House – through retailers can continue to order through Diamond as a wholesale third party. Penguin Random House also offered guaranteed sales representatives, free shipping, and in some cases, better discounts. And for stores now getting worse discounts, the free shipping would make up for a lot of that.
So Diamond Comic Distributors is asking the stores the question, will they stay or will they go? After all, if they stay there will be trouble. But if they go it will be double. And for those talking about going to Penguin Random House, Diamond has been asking what it is that might make them stay.
Will Diamond be willing to do enough for comic book stores to stay? Bleeding Cool looks to report on plans that Diamond may be offering, tomorrow. If, between then and now, you have something you might like to share, feel free to get in touch.