Lunar Wants People To Report Comic Stores Selling DC Comics Early
Comic stores are being asked to keep an eye on one another and report any of them breaking street date on DC Comics titles.
Once upon a time, Diamond Comic Distributors ran a Mystery Shopper programme to try and identify comic stores selling comics before the agreed street date. This enabled Diamond to supply comic books to comic stores on the Monday or Tuesday before New Comics Wednesday, so the stores could sort through them in advance, arrange pull lists and as an industry, have every comic book store opening on a Wednesday morning with all the new comics available on the shelf. Previously, comic books would often arrive on the day of sale, leading shops to have to receive the comics, sort them out and sell them to customers walking through the door, all at the same time. Shops that failed the Mystery Shopper Programme over street date would have such early delivery privileges removed.
Then DC Comics pulled out of Diamond Comic Distributors in favour of new distributor Lunar Distribution, created by DC's biggest customer DCBS. Diamond also lost Marvel, IDW and Dark Horse exclusivity to Penguin Random House. And coming out of lockdown, Diamond's Mystery Shopper Programme fell by the wayside. And Lunar and PRH didn't even start one.
As part of the change, DC Comics moved their street date back to Tuesday rather than Wednesday. Lunar and PRH also began to deliver comics many days before the street date, sometimes up to a week before. None of them had any means of monitoring whether street dates were being observed. And in many stores… it simply hasn't been, Bleeding Cool is aware of a number of stores that sell DC, and other comics, before the street date. Indeed, it is possible you might have occasionally seen a scan or two on Bleeding Cool's weekend coverage. Perish the thought, I know. Sometimes they are sold to select customers, some to anyone who just walks in.
Yesterday, Lunar Distribution sent out the following missive
Street Date Policy Reminder: As a reminder, all DC books have an on-sale date of Tuesday. Any violations of street date can result in the temporary loss of early delivery for your store. Continued violations may result in the permanent loss of early delivery for your store.
And they also encouraged retailers to report each other.
If you wish to report a store's violation of this policy, please direct your concern to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that Lunar requires proof that an item was available to purchase and receive prior to the on-sale date of Tuesday in order to take action. Proof of early sale can be provided in a variety of ways such as a physical receipt, a purchase confirmation, or a photo/video of the item on display for sale in the store.
So, do you want to be a secret agent comic book shopkeeper? Sending in agents to spy on rivals, take photos in-store, or buy comics ahead of time and keep the receipt? Saves on Lunar or Diamond paying for Mystery Shoppers, I guess…