Penguin Random House Making Changes To Marvel Comics Packaging
Penguin Random House have issued the following statement to comic book retailers who have been ordering Marvel Comics from them. "Thank you for reaching out and providing your feedback in regard to damaged product. We appreciate your patience as our teams are working through the claims backlog. Please be advised that replacement stock is limited. We will work with all customers on resolution options. We are currently reviewing our packaging and will be making changes. Please know that above all else we are determined to get better and to provide the market with the level of service you deserve, and we expect of ourselves." Bleeding Cool has, in recent days, covered issues that many comic book retailers have been having with their first Penguin Random House deliveries. I understand that retailer concerns are being addressed by David Gabriel and his team at Marvel, with Penguin Random House. Here's a few new ones, to add to the old…
- Nick Kelley of Chimp's Comix, Indiana, told us "About 60% damages at my shop. Hope they get this fixed soon."
- Jason Passini of Got Comics, Illinois told us "About half of my order is damaged. I'm sure I can still sell it to comic collectors, they don't mind issues that aren't mint…right?"
- Ramsey Ramirez reported in from McAllen, Texas, saying "30% damages at our store Kaboom Comics but at least we got em I guess."
- Rob Jensen told us "Not a single one of the boxes show was even an iota acceptable. Even Diamond does better simply by having its custom boxes with slightly reinforced corners. Which isn't saying much, given that Diamond doesn't make the boxes big enough to pad with bubble wrap or styrofoam, but still, it's pretty hard to do *worse* than Diamond and PRH succeeded at that failure."
- Gary Slaughter told us "As a retailer, this is the worst thing that's ever happened. I'm on with Penguin House as I throw this and we're told…"dings and bends are sellable, you can't submit that as damaged." and tell customers that to their faces!"
- The King of Komics wrote "Half of my order was too damaged to sell, and over half of the rest would be considered damaged under normal circumstances, but I need product to sell this week, so it'll have to do. Yes, PRH doesn't control UPS, but they could pack in a way to overcome shoddy handling (like Lunar does with DC). If I was a conspiracy-minded individual, I'd think that last week's Double Final Order Cutoff was to make sure stores had an extra week of orders in to make jumping back to Diamond just a little bit harder…"
- That Comic Shop tweeted out "Dear Customers, this week saw the first #Marvel product shipped from #PenguinRandomHouse. And let's just say it was NOT good. I'm getting flashbacks to the Lunar Distribution fiasco that led me to drop DC books. Here's hoping PRH actually responds to my emails."
- David Weitz of All American Cards and Comics in Ohio, told Bleeding Cool, "We only had two comics on bottom damaged and the hoops they want you to go through to report damages doesn't make it worthwhile. They essentially want forensic evidence and you even need to tell them the name of the person who packed your merchandise, like they're going to get fired if you do turn in a damage report."
- While Scott1968 also was damage-free but was full of warnings of the ides of October. "I was a lucky one that got a shipment without damages. However, this past week an absolute disaster for the rollout of PRH. They had months to prepare. They bragged about custom boxes and good packing. "It's gonna be great!" It appears they didn't show these boxes to even one retailer or even "test" a box to see if it could handle a drop or rough handling. Did anyone over there even investigate how other distributors ship comics? If I was in charge of PRH, I would FIRE the manager of the comic division. A major, major, epic fail. What's funny is that PRH actually managed to make Diamond's packing and shipping look good"
- Retailer Ryan Higgins of Comics Conspiracy tweeted "Oh no. The PRH packing of Marvel Comics is bad. Really bad. Like, really really bad… Just normal boxes the same size as the comics, no protection. Most books in every box is damaged because it's shipped UPS with no protection."
- Mike Sterling of Sterling Silver Comics had a better experience, albeit with lots of foreboding, saying "Just received my first shipment of Marvel comics from their new distributor…no damages that I can see, despite the boxes not offering a whole lot of protection (one good bump in the UPS pipeline would destroy everything inside). Haven't checked for shortages yet. Does include a "packed by" slip, which I'm certainly not used to from a comic distributor…Whoops, finally did a count and while everything's there, there were four (minorly) damaged comics. Now to jump through the hoops of having to report the things."
- Mike Beyer had a worse experience telling Bleeding Cool "We received our books today crammed in incredibly tiny boxes that had zero protection from the rigors of shipping and literally 70% of our books where damaged. I can only imagine how things went industry-wide. It seems that these guys think they can ship comics like they ship their novels to book stores and everything will be fine. I can only imagine how much money they will be losing over the amount of damaged copies they will have to replace."
- Pete Kilmer posted "Thankfully ours were ok. BUT 3 pieces of tape, no protection and given how thin those boxes are, in no way shape or form will they stand up to holiday shipping"
- Jeffrey Conolly posted "Somehow by some miracle ours were okay but man will it not take much to have almost everything be damaged."
- This was a common factor with "Chet Americanman" posting "Ya, mine came undamaged. But I am pretty sure that was just an act of God. They are going to have to do better. I thought they had promised that, but I have never been impressed with their packing on graphic novels over the last couple of years."
- Power Pack Nation posted "Diamond's had their shipping problems, but never anything like this. We got 1 box filled with basically kindling, 1 box that we'd never find acceptable from Diamond or Lunar, but in this case, are reluctantly considering "good enough" just to have some product, and according to the website, there's a 3rd box of some pretty major books (like Immortal Hulk #50 and all the Star Wars, plus some other stuff) that they haven't even bothered to ship out yet. Just a disaster."
But Doug O'Loughlin of the Comic Cave was happy, posting "got some Penguin Random House comics from Marvel w/that free shipping! I love this sweet note about who packed it … On sale Wednesday."
Better luck with Penguin Random House next week folks? Let us know how it goes…