While smaller publshers have been announcing moves to offer relief for comics retailers who have been forced to close due to COVID-19 quarantines and “shelter in place” decrees, the Big Two have been silent. Until now. Earlier today, Marvel released a statement to retailers announcing a series of very significant discounts on their comics.
We’ve reproduced the letter below (with discounts removed as is is proprietary information). I’m told, however, that the response from retailers on private forums has been less than enthusiastic.
UPDATED TO ADD: I’m told these are VERY VERY deep discounts, and that retailer complaints center around these discounts benefitting most retailers who have online and mail order business in place.
Even so, it’s a positive move that the industry’s biggest player has begun to respond to what is the biggest crisis for comics retailing since the recession – or perhaps ever.
To all our partners in the retailer community,
As we all encounter new and uncertain challenges in response to COVID-19 and take extraordinary measures to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the industry and beyond, our thoughts are with you, your loved ones, and the community.
We have spoken with many of you about the economic impact to your stores from this situation, and we are here to help. To assist and support you and retailers around the country during this unprecedented time, Marvel will be implementing the following support sales measures, effective immediately:
•For Marvel titles scheduled to go on sale between March 18 and April 8, Marvel is offering extensive deep discounts (adjusted on top of the existing discounts you have in place) to help alleviate cash flow pressures and give you the flexibility to sell your product in response to customer demand as needed. *Please see the chart below for new discount tiers.
• This move will increase total discounts for you upfront and preserve the cash you have immediately available. These discounts will also allow your store to fully dedicate your resources and staff to selling comics and other essential tasks.
• Marvel and Diamond will also be preserving your current regular Marvel discount tier, regardless of any decreases to your order levels. By maintaining your current regular discount tier, we hope to give you the confidence you need to reduce and adjust your orders and steadily accommodate your ongoing pull and hold list customers.
We are aware that based on the guidance of local government and health officials, many of you are already providing services to accommodate your communities, including holding or creating pull lists, curbside pick-ups, special deliveries or other shipping options, and more. We will continue to amplify and create awareness about these efforts as best as we can to help encourage your customers to use your additional services.
Marvel titles will continue to be made available to you on a weekly schedule as normal to equip your stores and your businesses with new product to sell.
We are actively monitoring the situation every day, and we will continue to listen to your input and share regular updates with you in the coming days and weeks.
Our industry is built upon the resilience and passion behind each and every retailer and fan, and shops like yours are the reason we all can come together. This is uncharted territory for all of us, and we are here to support. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to your Diamond representative for more information. Please stay safe and well.