The last time we talked about Books A Million and Diamond, I told you’d I’d been advised to keep an eye on Dark Horse and, sure enough, Dark Horse had disappeared off the newsstand sections at both BAM and Barnes & Noble in my area. I popped in again today and Dark Horse did have a presence at Books A Million in the bagged and boarded section of comics shipped from Diamond. Rumor confirmed.
Also of interest on the rack was a sticker on an issue of Daredevil. The third-oldest issue was 20% and as you can see from the photo, they’re also pushing their discount membership. (If you buy a $25 membership, you get 10% off in-store purchases. Which means you need to spend $250 to break even.) That was the only stickered comic I could find on the rack. It could be they’re going to start discounting the older stock, and this would be one of the first ones they received. Could be they’re experimenting on different comics to see if the extra discount has an effect. With only one sticker, it’s hard to say.
There happened to be a staffer stocking magazines, so I asked her a few questions. She referred to the Diamond comics as not being from the normal distributor service and said they were trying something different and seeing how it went. As for the discount sticker, anything like that would be by instruction from management or the distributor. I don’t think she meant Diamond in this case, but it reinforces the impression I’d been getting that this comics initiative through Diamond is being controlled rather tightly by the BAM corporate offices and not driven by individual store managers at this point. The phrasing also gives me the impression that this is still in the experimental stage and not rolled out as a standard option at all BAMs yet. I wouldn’t call a 20%/30% discount remaindering a comic, either. Even with the cost of a bag and a board, that should still be above their break-even rate.
As it gets into 4 months of stocking comics, it should be come more clear what this particular store does with the unsold stock, stickers or otherwise. In the meantime, its a question of what other publishers start showing up in the selection.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.