Last week, Boom Studios' made an address to comic book stores still in business during the coronavirus pandemic. They advised such comic book retailers that while they had stopped providing new comics to Diamond Comic Distributors, and as a result to ComiXology as well, to keep direct market parity, they were still shipping trade paperbacks and graphic novels to the bookstore market. And advised that comic stores still operating, get accounts from Ingram or Simon & Schuster. Ingram has Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Dynamite, Boom, Archie, Scholastic and more on their list, Simon & Schuster has Boom Studios, Humanoids, Legendary, Rebellion and more. It seems to be only Image Comics these days among the bigger publishers who are exclusive to Diamond Book Distributors.
Ingram's President and CEO Shawn Morin states "We are monitoring all global geographies where we do business for announcements regarding COVID-19 and are adjusting our business accordingly. At this time, we can report that all our facilities and distribution centers, around the world, remain open. Ingram Content Group continues to take actions to support the health and safety of all our associates." Basically that means if it is in trade paperback or graphic novel format, bookstores and comic book stores that are still able to open or provide mail-order services will still be able to order products.
And now DC Comics has stated, in an e-mail missive sent to retailers by Diamond Comic Distributors, that they will be finding multi-distributor options as well as publishing digitally. With DC Comics representatives specifically mentioning Penguin Random House to Bleeding Cool as a distributor partner. Their warehouses are still open, as are their printers, and there have been rumours some time that Penguin Random House has wanted to buy Diamond Comic Distributors. Could this be their chance to a) get into the direct market of comic stores b) deal alongside Diamond Comic Distributors as a plan for the future?
It is quite possible that DC Comics will trial as to how well such bookstore distributors may switch to distributing single comic books, as well as collections. Notably, some smaller publishers already use them for such. There is also the very strong likelihood that DC Comics will distribute direct market books through the likes of Walmart and Target, stores that are still open as essential providers across the US.
It may also be worth noting that in the UK, stores that sign up for a Diamond UK account may not have an account with a bookstore distributor. Might things be relaxed given the circumstances? And how long will these other distribution routes stay open?
So on Tuesday, March 31st that will include Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon's Batman: Creature Of The Night, New Mutants Vol 1, Event Leviathan and King Thor collections. Tuesday, April 7th will include Batman: Last Knight In Earth hardcover collection by Snyder and Capullo. The fourth Dawn Of z volume. Books that were planned for comic shop distribution this week coming week have different bookstore dates. Midnight Vista TP, is in bookstores on April 20th. Jim Henson's Labyrinth Coronation Volume 1 for April 7th as is DC's Freedom Fighters Rise Of A Nation TP, Wonder Woman Volume 2 Love Is A Battlefield HC, Swamp Thing By Nancy A. Collins Omnibus HC and original graphic novel Gotham High TP. Amazing Spider-Man Full Circle is for April 14th as well as Ghost Rider Volume 1 King Of Hell. While Oni Press' Rick And Morty Presents Volume 2 is a way off on April 21st. And no sign of the JMS Spider-Man Omnibus Vol 2.
Details are expected on Monday, as is Marvel Comics' response to DC's action.