Diamond’s Market Stranglehold

Christopher Butcher graphically points out how screwed up Diamond’s stock policies are (link no longer available). They have no copies of Buddha or Persepolis available for order (out of several well-reviewed graphic novels that have a strong potential to sell to new, adult, and outreach readers) but they have a truckload of Avatar nude cover editions available.

Why? Avatar Press, the publisher of this mess of crap, signed for an exclusive deal with Diamond. Random House, Scholastic, and Vertical obviously didn’t…. You wonder why bookstores get stuff before the direct market? There’s your answer. Diamond won’t take a realistic stock position on books that they don’t have the exclusive distribution rights to.

Tom Spurgeon chimes in to add “the thought that comic shops can’t use Diamond to get Understanding Comics, with its demonstrably wide audience and proven track record, pretty much boggles the mind.”

There’s more reading available at both links for those who are new to this debate or need convincing. Those of us who’ve seen how hard it can be to get non-superhero, non-teen-boy books reliably from Diamond, it just makes us tired.

2 Responses to “Diamond’s Market Stranglehold”

  1. Ray Cornwall Says:

    While this sort of thing is a disaster for retailers interested in carrying these graphic novels, it’s not disastrous for readers who want these books. I’ve either been pre-ordering these books from my mail order guy or doing quick orders from Amazon. Heck, Amazon gave me a three-month free trial of Amazon Prime, so I get free two-day (and sometimes one-day, depending on the center) shipping.

    Is it possible that the direct market, dependent upon big margins to make up for their inability to return non-selling material, just can’t compete against bookstores when it comes to graphic novels?

  2. Michael Denton Says:

    The direct market still has the edge on local bookstores for graphic novel availability, but it struggles to compete with the internet. Amazon in particular gets you almost any GN at a great discount – as well as places like Khepri.com. Also, I just ordered hard-to-find early TPB of Usagi Yojimbo through Amazon, something I know I’d have to wait months for if I ordered through my LCS, if I ever got them.




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