BAM's exclusive Star Wars #1 variant cover.  Oh, yes, they're part of the DM now.
BAM’s exclusive Star Wars #1 variant cover. Oh, yes, they’re part of the DM now.

When last we discussed what was going on with Diamond and Books A Million (BAM), it wasn’t entirely clear what was going on, other than there were comics on sale and they were coming from Diamond, bagged & boarded.  Interestingly, _nobody_ wanted to comment about their monthly comics being available at BAM.  Diamond would not give a written confirmation this was happening, although I got a verbal confirmation that BAM was a customer and the books were not returnable.

How often do publishers NOT want to tell you where you can buy their books?  Or a retail chain doesn’t want to tell you what they carry?

I did eventually get some information from that most notorious of informants, “the unnamed source.”  As usual, “unnamed” was in a position to clarify what was going on.  There are apparently around 70 BAM-owned stores getting shipments from Diamond.  All 23 of the “2nd & Charles” used book chain owned by BAM and 40-ish BAM stores.  This apparently started back around August, so it appears to be a rollout with my local store only coming online in December.

My source says 25-30 titles are being ordered and that lines up with what I’ve seen in person.  Most of the comics in the store near me appear to have 3 copies at most and as it goes into the second month of stocking the DM titles, there are multiple issues of some titles on the rack.  It’s a mix of Marvel, Image and IDW.  Heavier on the Marvel, if all the stores stock the same.

Now, going back to 2nd & Charles, I was informed that they were doing pull lists.  I called one up.  Sure enough, they had pull lists.  And I didn’t have to explain what a pull list was, either, which is interesting, since I’d consider that a DM-centric term.  I also asked if they could special order a comic?  The response was that they could make a request, but it wouldn’t necessarily get filled.  In contrast, I asked the local BAM if they could place a special order for me and they said they only got what the distributor sent them.

I surmise from those responses that the ordering for BAM is still fairly centralized, which would make a certain amount of sense if it isn’t completely rolled out and/or is still in a pilot stage.  (BAM didn’t return phone calls or emails on the topic.)

I also see BAM has their very own Star Wars #1 variant cover, so they’re being a fairly active participant in stocking Marvel.  Looked like a 10 copy order for my local, much heavier than anything else.

So, 250 BAM stores at 3 copies per title = 750 copies for anything they carry at such a time as it becomes a full rollout.  Maybe they order heavier on some things, maybe they don’t.  At what point the stores get the authority/ability to place special orders with Diamond is a very interesting question, since there’s no reason someone with an account shouldn’t be able to do so.

It may or may not be a coincidence that Dark Horse has disappeared off the newsstand at both BAM and Barnes & Noble in my area.  I’m waiting to see if Dark Horse turns up bagged & boarded at BAM.

I’m also waiting to see if Marvel, Image and IDW turn up at Barnes & Noble.  That’s pure speculation, but Hastings has a relationship with Diamond.  BAM has a relationship with Diamond.  I can’t imagine Diamond not trying to get some product placement on the Barnes & Noble newsstand.

The number of Direct Market comic shops is thought to be around 2600.  Adding in 250 BAMs bumps it around 9%, even if it’s a limited selection.  Barnes & Noble would be more like 750 locations.  We’ll see if it happens, but Diamond’s reach is getting wider with BAM and more places to buy is a good thing for anybody whose title gets picked up, although I suspect that DM retailers are not going to be particularly happy about this development.


Have you read Todd’s book Economics of Digital Comics?  You can also ignore him on Twitter at @Real_Todd_Allen


  1. Many years ago (early 2000s) I was told by a Diamond executive that Barnes & Noble did have a Diamond Comics account.
    Working at the store level, I never saw anything to confirm that, as we got comics via newsstand distribution, and trades via book distributors (CDS, then Diamond Book).
    Perhaps via Ink Newsstand? Charlesbank? Bookstop/Bookstar?

    Three copies seems to be a general newsstand minimum. I suspect that BAM Central is watching the numbers and adjusting accordingly.

    I had not thought of 2nd & Charles. That’s a good way to deal with unsold copies, especially if unsold stock is sent to a warehouse, then repackaged for sale online.

  2. I *think* that’s probably why the Diamond-shipped comics are bagged and boarded, but I’m not sure how many issues of a title they’ll keep on the rack before doing something with them… like sending them to a 2nd & Charles.

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