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.


  1. First offense for selling on a Tuesday is just loss of the Day Early Delivery for one month? I’m not a retailer, nor do I play one on TV, but that doesn’t sound like a whole lot of disincentive to break the rules.

  2. I’m pretty sure that at the record store that I worked at, our penalty for getting caught breaking streetdate wasn’t just a loss of early shipment: it was LATE shipments, shipments arriving the Friday AFTER the Tuesday the item was supposed to go on sale. That strikes me as a much more effective tactic than “break the rules and you’re right back where you started, but only if we happen to catch you.”

  3. A Google search found several confirmations that the penalty for breaking the street date for new music releases was late shipments for some period of time. Some chains, such as Borders, would terminate an employee who violated the street date. Big box retailers with computerized systems would have trouble putting a new release into the system prematurely.


  4. So how would this work for graphic novels of the manga type. These already have Tuesday release dates and book store sometimes get them weeks ahead of diamond. Would we have to wait another day or are these not considered new releases? Would there be a mark on the invoices so retailers know what a new release title would be?

  5. I second Melissa’s question. This is often true of the not top five publishers like D&Q, WW Norton, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp (Whose Blab World is on Amazon but not yet shipped through diamond). I’d really like to know the answer to this.

  6. Do other entertainment stores (Best Buy, Borders, independent record stores, whatever) have to pay a fee to their distributor for policing street dates? Or is this just a way for Diamond to milk some more money from their helpless customers?

  7. My thinking is… most graphic novels do not have street dates. When I worked at Barnes & Noble, there would be, perhaps, ten or fewer prose titles each week which we had to make sure did not go on sale until that day (usually a Tuesday). Since we were open until Midnight, we sometimes allowed a customer to purchase such a title, making sure the receipt was dated correctly.

    From what I recall, the books came direct from the publisher (street date books were important titles, and it was not uncommon to see cases of a single title waiting in the stock room). Some would print a toll-free number on the box, but I don’t ever recall anyone being caught. Kim’s Video in the Village was the most notorious retailer for breaking street dates, but I don’t think they were ever penalized.

    With comics, every store is concerned with a level playing field. Though comicbook fans instinctively know that new product is available on Wednesday, they only really care about new comics, not about books or other merchandise.

    For most GNs, comic book stores receive titles anywhere from a week to a month before the retail stores do. I have not read the Diamond contract, but I suspect it is more concerned with the comics periodicals, not other merchandise. Since Diamond ships comics in comic book-sized boxes, it would be easy for Diamond to slap a Strict-On-Sale warning on those boxes, and let other, non-comics boxes be merchandised immediately.

    As for manga, it’s a moot point, as they have already been scanned and translated by various pirate sites. }]

  8. “While this is a behind the scenes move that isn’t going to affect readers directly”

    It is conceivable that it will directly affect a small segment of readers. I am sure that it will affect me. You identify the reason why in the same sentence,

    “now store personnel will be able to actually read the comics before they start selling them”.

    I buy quite a few comics each month, including some that I special order, for which I am the only customer in the store. There is an employee at my lcs who likes to read most all of the comics published each week. So I make sure to go into the store right after they open, to prevent him from browsing my pull file. With these new changes, he will now have plenty of time on Tuesday to read through any books that he likes, including those being held for me. As I have a strong distaste for “used” and “previously read” books and comics, this development may well force me to make changes to my buying habits, which is something that I would really prefer not to have to do (the store is great otherwise).

    While I am likely in a very small minority with this problem, in my case at least, it is erroneous to say that no customers will be directly affected by this change.

  9. That’s a pretty specific issue, AO. Presumably you’ve had words with the comic shop owner? I’d have thought the threat of pulling your pull list should you detect less than pristine comics would be enough to encourage him or her to whip the worker into shape.

  10. @AO: About the LCS employee reading your pull titles… same here. I buy unusual titles. My situation is exactly the same as yours.

    I essentially subsidize the reading costs of the comic staff, then get to pay full retail for the used comic once they have read it.

    Maybe the next step in order to earn my $4 is to ship each of my comics to my LCS in a sealed bag with a tamper proof wrapper.

  11. I find it amusing that comic geeks have a hard time dealing with when LCS staff read their books before they buy them. Unless they arrive damaged to you, I don’t see their being a problem w/them reading ANY comic.

    IF books arrive damaged to you, then take your business elsewhere! Even mail order is preferable to that…

  12. Well, reading the comics is using them. If someone is using a product I’m paying for, before me and without permission, they need slapping.

    I also cannot stand people using comic shops as a library (unless dedicated browsing copies are provided). If you’re interested enough to start reading the book, buy it. And step away from the shelves …

  13. “Well, reading the comics is using them. If someone is using a product I’m paying for, before me and without permission, they need slapping.”

    These are comic books, not underwear.

  14. @ Martin Gray: Thanks for the thoughtful response(s). I’ve spoken to the manager, but the employee has been with the owner for quite a long time, and he’s also not been in the greatest of health (I’m uncertain, but he may even have cancer). So *if* I were to force him to make a decision, I am not sure if the owner would take my side, despite that I spend a fair amount of money there. I would also feel badly if I got the employee into very much trouble. Fortunately, I’ve got some time to think about the situation and try to figure out the best way to handle this before Diamond implements these changes.

    As for your second response, I don’t know that I’d go so far as to slap anyone, but otherwise I feel very similarly. At bookstores, they usually differentiate between the “New” and “Used” books. The same goes for movies, video games, and a few other categories of entertainment. As soon as something has been used, then it’s no longer new, and should be priced and labeled as such. That seems to me to be a pretty straightforward enough concept.

  15. @ Al™: Sorry to hear that you have the same problem. I absolutely understand not wanting to pay full price for used goods. Unfortunately, some people seem to have trouble understanding that. Best of luck to you in finding a better option!

  16. @ Snikt Snakt: I find it disappointing that some people resort to name-calling when they are unable to be broad-minded enough to understand someone else’s point of view, even when that perspective is stated maturely. I can respect that you don’t see the problem, but that by no means that there is not actually a problem. I work hard for my money, and prefer to spend it on possessions that are new and in nice shape. I’m the sort of person who would prefer to spend $20 on a new book, rather than borrow it for free from a library.

    It sounds like you feel differently, and I can respect that, because I can be open-minded enough to see that everyone has different tastes and not be threatened by that knowledge. I hope that you will give some consideration to what I have said and try to be more understanding in the future.

  17. @ Snikt Snakt: I pay full price for a comic that depreciates in value the moment I open the book. I’d like to be the first person to open that comic, or the store should sell it to me at back issue prices.

    These are not daily newspapers, they are collectibles. Otherwise, just sell me a used demo copy for a buck.

    As far as your amusement at thinking that we buyers can just go elsewhere if a comic shop employee is reading the customers’ file comics, this is not always possible. We don’t all live in large urban centres with plenty of alternatives.

    I this case, the fellow who I have actually witnessed taking comics with him to the store washroom, filled in as the store manager when the ‘real’ manager was off work due to health issues.

  18. Thanks for giving your ideas. I’d also like to express that video games have been ever before evolving. Modern technology and revolutions have made it simpler to create reasonable and interactive games. These kinds of entertainment video games were not that sensible when the concept was first of all being attempted. Just like other kinds of technological innovation, video games also have had to evolve by way of many many years. This itself is testimony for the fast progression of video games.