Retailer Chris Butcher has this Tuesday’s must-read post on how Diamond’s new 2009 policies have left the DM less flexible and less relevant…
…things seem “stable” but really, that’s just a convenient lie that we’ve all bought into. Things aren’t stable, behind the scenes (and sometimes spilling onto message boards and websites) people are very worried. Fans, Retailers, Publishers. Distributors. But the thing that to me is the most disconcerting and heralds the biggest change? Diamond Comics Distributors drastically raising their order minimums. They did this a few months back. This action has shaken a lot of publishers out of the industry, and it’s meant some pretty bad things for a lot of people. But really, and realistically, The Previews catalogue is not any better or of higher quality than it was a year ago. I am reminded of this the last Tuesday of every month, when I race through that thing at break-neck speed, It’s just as tough a slog with most of the same bright spots as before. Hell, 100 pages each of Marvel and DC is more than enough to depress you on its own. But what the increased order minimums have really done is make my job as a retailer much more difficult. Why? Because of the things have been taken out of the catalogue that I have to go hunting for.
Butcher uses the example of a Yen Press manga that isn’t listed in Diamond as the gateway to his discovery that Yen Press’s complete output is not carried by Diamond any more. This, in turn, leads Butcher to use an alternative distributor source through which he can order the entire Yen output.
I can do my job as a Direct Market Comic Book Specialty Store by going outside of the Distributor of the Direct Market of Comic Book Stores. You gotta admit, that’s pretty fucked-up.
We’d quibble with that a little– doing business with multiple distributors is something most retail outlets have to deal with, so for those retailers willing to put on their big boy pants, it’s perfectly fine. But as a symbol of the impending revolution of multiple distribution channels, some not even print based, the rest of Butcher’s essay presents a nice summation of these unsettled times.