Via Diamond Daily, (registered users only, alas) details of Diamond’s day-early delivery plan which will see comics shipped to shops on Tuesday for Wednesday on sale. Key points:
– Starts with shipments to retailers 1/11/2011– for sale Wed, 1/12/2011
– Every retailer needs to elect if they want Day Early Delivery by Oct 25th.
– $4 weekly charge per participating retailers to fund the industry compliance fund
– Penalty for confirmed street date violations: 1st offense: Loss of Day-Early Delivery for 1 month; 2nd offense: Loss of Day-Early Delivery for 3 months; 3rd offense: Indefinite loss of Day-Early Delivery.
While this is a behind the scenes move that isn’t going to affect readers directly, it is going to make life a lot easier for a lot of smaller retailers, and should have benefits for publishers as well — for instance, now store personnel will be able to actually read the comics before they start selling them and use hand selling more effectively. Some quotes from the PR:
“Day-Early Delivery is a direct result of the cooperation and flexibility of our industry’s leading publishers, and feedback from specific customers and the retail community as a whole,” said Diamond Vice President of Sales & Marketing Roger Fletcher. “We’ve worked to present a balanced view of the potential benefits and drawbacks of Day-Early Delivery and we’re very happy that a strong consensus to move forward has emerged.”
“Day-Early Delivery is a significant undertaking for all involved,” added Diamond Vice President of Purchasing Bill Schanes. “It required the agreement of our premier publishers, who have to work with their creative and production teams as well as their printers to rearrange their publishing schedules. In addition, like Diamond, these publishers will absorb some negative cash flow to make this option available. Printers, in turn, will be adjusting their printing and shipping schedules. We thank both of these important partners for helping us make this option available to our customers.”
“Working out the details of Day-Early Delivery has posed several logistical challenges, which our Distribution Center staffs are eager to meet” said Diamond Vice President of Operations Cindy Fournier. “While it requires rearranging our work schedules, and some more expensive weekend work hours, we know how beneficial this new service can be for our customers, and we are committed to its success.”
One of the big questions about the program was how compliance would be monitored — thus a $4 a week fee has been charged to participating retailers which will be used to fund spot checks. Details on that from the FAQ:
How is Diamond approaching the issue of Day-Early retailers’ compliance with new release day? In formulating a workable Day-Early Delivery option, the sticking point for Diamond has been the issue of monitoring release day compliance, because we’ve been hesitant to put ourselves in that position. Paul Stock, owner of the comic shop Librairie Astro in Montreal, suggested that retailers might contribute to a fund that could be used to employ a third party to monitor release day compliance. This spurred us to begin conversations with various industry leaders that ultimately made this option possible. What fees will I be charged for Day-Early Delivery, and how will they be used to ensure compliance? A weekly fee of $4 per account will be assessed for Day-Early Delivery. Under this approach, if a retailer has one location, and turns in a single Initial Monthly PREVIEWS Order Form, they will be charged $4 per week. If a retailer has two or more locations and turns in a single Initial Monthly PREVIEWS Order Form on one account number, they will be charged $4 per week. If a retailers has two or more locations and turns in two or more Initial Monthly PREVIEWS Order Forms on two or more account numbers, they will be charged $4 per week per week per account number . Diamond will use the fee to contract with a third party provider – a company like www.aboutfacecorp.com or www.secretshoppers.com, for example – to proactively visit stores on a rotating basis on the day before new release day to ensure compliance. We would also convey any specific complaints to this company to investigate, and communicate the results of the investigation to those involved. We are also creating a dedicated email address and complaint form template that retailers can use to report suspected release day violations. How did Diamond determine the weekly fee? We have done our best to estimate the costs of orchestrating and administering this fairly complex program. But until we know how many retailers choose to participate in Day-Early Delivery, and the number of Diamond employee-hours and other expenses involved, the funding required remains an estimate. We will report fees collected and expenses incurred from the program at the end of each year and, if there are any excess fee collections over expenses incurred, that excess will be applied toward lowering the monitoring fee the following year, or toward the promotion of Free Comic Book Day or the Comic Book Locator Service. Diamond also reserves the right to increase the weekly fee if necessary to cover the costs of the program.
Anything that makes life so much easier for our retailer pals, we support.