It's Vault Comics time. Right now, Image Comics, Boom Studios, IDW and Dynamite have extended the returnability of their comic books to comic book stores. This allows retailers to order their books in confidence, able to return them if they don't sell. Which is the kind of thing the comic book direct market was not meant to do. This was especially notable for publishers coming out of shutdown, trying to support a market who were unsure as to what readers would be buying comic books, even if they were able to. And while it might be technically possible for retailers to order tonnes of comics and send them all back, there are costs in terms of shipping, administration, workload and more – so in reality, retailers are persuaded not to order conservatively, and in practice only return a few. Marvel and DC Comics have been resistant to such returnability practices at the moment. Marvel has never been keen on returnability, and DC restrict it to specific launches, such as the upcoming Future State event.
Vault Comics has also restricted returnability to certain launch issues, but that seems to be changing now. Vault has now issued the following statement to comic book retailers, making all their comic books returnable, right now – even yesterday's Giga #1, if you so wished.
Vault Comics is pleased to announce line-wide single issue returnability for all Diamond retailers, as part of the Vault Bound Retailer Support Initiative. Now, under Vault Bound, all Vault single issues will be fully returnable, with no minimum order requirements or qualifiers of any kind, making Vault a truly no-risk publisher for retailers.
"Publishers and retailers share a few not-so-secret goals," said Vault Publisher Damian Wassel. "We all want folks to read the whole series, not just the first issue. And we all want folks who might have missed the first issue to have a chance to discover a series later. But both of these require retailers to stock up way above customer orders so they can keep copies of a bunch of issues on their shelves. Ordinarily, there's a lot of risk there. So, we put our heads together and decided that Vault should be taking on our share of that risk. This is why we've decided to try making every issue of every Vault series full returnable without minimums or qualifiers, starting now."
The Vault Bound initiative extends to all retailers with a Diamond account, and applies. There is no signup required. Vault's line-wide returnability begins immediately, and will continue into 2021. This applies to orders placed by FOC. Incentive covers and subsequent printings are not included as part of this program.
Retailers are encouraged to reach out to David Dissanayake, Vault's Director of Sales & Marketing, with any questions.