One of the bigger reactions to the news that DC Comics was to withdraw from Diamond Comic Distributors entirely was over how it would affect international distribution. Diamond UK is estimated to represent 10-15% of the entire US direct market, but UK retailers have reported that shipping costs from Lunar or UCS are often more than the cost of the order itself, which would lead to a doubling or tripling of the cost of a DC comic book in the UK, compared to the cost of a comic from Marvel, Dark Horse, IDW, Image or anyone else still distributed by Diamond.
It's not like this is new – some titles sold in the US are labelled North American only. In the past that has included Star Wars, Transformers, Disney titles and the Walmart Giant comics from DC. As a result, some UK stores have indulged in sub-distribution from US stores, including from Midtown Comics. But as a result of added shipping costs, the price is usually at least double what it would be otherwise. The current system would do that to the entire line of the second biggest comics publisher in the English language. Canada is also affected, albeit to a slightly lesser extent, concerning massively increased shipping and duty costs. You might be able to appreciate the panic.
It's also an issue that no one at DC, Lunar or UCS seems to have considered before the announcement. DC sources told me that they just expected UK customers to use UCS or Lunar, not realising just how much of the shipping costs Diamond UK had managed to reduce with a central hub and bulk shipping savings by distributing the entire direct market.
But in further conversation with DC Comics, UCS and Lunar, I have been told that they have a plan. Lunar representatives told me "we are working out some options and asking those retailers that have inquired for feedback. How they currently receive their shipments, and what they would like to see from us ideally, and we will work from there. We will do our best to find the best options for them." While UCS representatives told me "we'll have an update on this in a few days".
Though I'm also told that Diamond UK only found out about the situation with DC, Lunar, UCS and Diamond this morning. Apparently folk in Warrington don't read the comic book newswires over the weekend.