Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Diamond's Being Rough

Hey gang, another short-ish post for today. Work is still stupid busy, and "day job" may not cover the actual requirements of our occupation for the next couple of weeks.

But, fear not, as there is blogging...to be...blogged.

So, today I figure it's a good time to ask you guys a few questions that have been bugging me recently. See, my favorite local comics shop, and others in the area, have been getting fewer and fewer of their orders from Diamond lately.

And, for those unfamiliar with the comic book publishing industry, Diamond is the main distributor of comics and comics-related paraphernalia in the country. So, for example, when Marvel wants to ship their new releases to comics shops across the U.S. each Wednesday, they do so through Diamond.

And I know many retailers have problems with Diamond, but because it's the only distributor around, those problems have to stay pretty quiet. And, to be fair, from what I've seen as a consumer over the past five or six years, Diamond does a good job.

Yes, I understand some shops have more problems than others, and yes, I understand and agree with retailers that Diamond's return policies can be kinda crazy, but all in all, I'm OK with Diamond.

(Oh, and any retailers reading this blog that may have torn their hair out after reading that last paragraph, and think that I'm way off-base with my conclusions, please do write in and yell at me. Seriously. I am pretty fascinated with how Diamond works, so if anyone out there has some inside info, please let us know!)

In any case, I'm OK with Diamond--to a point. Now, for whatever reason, my LCS keeps getting shorted on their book orders, week in and week out. And this has been going on for over a month now. And that's just not fair to the retailer, especially in this time of financial insanity.

I mean, when a customer comes through the door expecting to purchase certain books that he or she knows have come out on a given Wednesday--and they do know, since Diamond posts a list of all comics shipping each week on their Web site, by the way--and said books aren't at Comics Shop A, what's gonna happen?

Well, said customer will likely try Comics Shop B a few blocks down the road. And if Comics Shop B doesn't have the book, then said customer will likely turn to some of the bigger retailers online to purchase the missing book.

And that is beyond unfair for the local guys--for the comics shop owners who still exist today, almost a full decade after the mid-to-late-90's implosion of the comics market.

These are the store owners and employees who kept at it, even through the worst of times, simply because they love doing it. And these are the stores that aren't getting books on the promised ship date?


Think about it. Let's say that, this week, an issue of Bucky Badger comes out. And, because of the Internet and all the spoilers online, all the readers know that something HUGE is going to happen in the life of Bucky Badger.

Yes, that's right, this is the issue where ol' Bucky falls and is killed by his arch-nemesis, Sock Puppet Pete. And, since the Bucky Badger movie is coming out in a couple of months, this comic is going to be HOT HOT HOT.

And Ebayers will be selling it for multiples of its cover price. And, meanwhile, since Comics Shop A didn't get the book this week, and instead will have to wait until the following week (or, in the case of my LCS, three weeks later!) by the time the book comes in, everyone who wants one will already have one.

Leaving the retailer with a stack of paper. And leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the consumer who decided he or she couldn't wait to read the issue, and spent 50 bucks on Ebay.

So, not to veer too far off here, I guess I'll wrap things up with the following questions to you guys:

Have any of your local shops gotten shorted lately?
If so, how long has it been going on?
And, finally, what have you been doing about it--have you been waiting the books out, or have you turned to online sellers?

Please do let us know, because though I have a feeling this is happening all over the place; if it's just localized around here, then I'm really gonna be confused!

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