Rules Don’t Apply to Wizard

Must be nice to have an exclusive deal with Diamond. Apparently the usual cycle of
offer item for sale in catalog -> gather retailer orders -> ship what was requested
doesn’t apply to you. Instead, you get to declare by fiat what retailers will receive.

Wizard is putting out an extra movie-oriented issue on May 10, two weeks after their regular issue shipped. Because this magazine wasn’t offered in Previews, Wizard is going to simply ship retailers the same number of copies as they got of issue #176. Retailers will be able to return whatever they don’t sell, and they won’t be billed for the copies they do sell until after returns are processed and credited.

So what’s the problem? Simply the principle of the thing. Returns are a hassle to track and ship back, especially since there’s usually a limited period in which you can return them. Until then, you have to store them somewhere you can find them when needed. (If you’ve seen many retailers’ back rooms and warehouses, this isn’t necessarily a simple issue.) Wizard is pushing all the effort onto their customers.

A movie special won’t sell the same amount as a regular issue will, and retailers should have the right to say how many copies of it they want to offer in their store, whether more, less, or even zero.

Consider what would happen if more publishers did this. “We think you should be able to sell X number of our books, so we’re sending them to you without your permission. If you can’t, we’ll take them back … but it’s up to you to return them when we say, or you’ll get charged for them.” Not to mention, in some localities, I believe that sending unsolicited material removes all responsibility for the recipient to pay for it. I suspect standing on that legal right will likely cause problems for retailers with Diamond, who won’t stand up for their customers.

7 Responses to “Rules Don’t Apply to Wizard”

  1. David Oakes Says:

    Yes, it’s a bit presumptuous, but the converse – printing a special issue and not letting the shops order them at all because it is too late – doesn’t do anybody any good.

    And this isn’t the first time I have heard about Diamond “auto-ordering” for such “inbetween” issues. Isn’t this their standard procedure? Or is it always Wizard who comes up with these things at the last minute. (I can’t say that I recall any instance that wasn’t Wizard, and Diamond is certainly quick enough to cancel orders from other publishers.)

  2. Dorian Says:

    I always hated when Wizard would do this to us. We were pretty on top of our returns situations, but in the mean-time we still had to find homes for 20+ copies of a magazine we didn’t order and our customers didn’t want.

    David, when other publishers have an item that needs to be shipped out right away, they usually include it in Diamond Dateline, which retailers get each week, and let retailers select how many, if any, they want to bring in. That Wizard doesn’t do this is, to say the least, frustrating for retailers. Especially retailers who now have a larger than expected freight charge to pay for. Which Diamond is inconsistent about crediting to retailers.

  3. M High Says:

    This is nothing new. I don’t know how widespread the practice is, but I do know that Diamond does do this every once in a while. Most recently – like a week or two back – we got shipped a pile of some Star Wars magazine in this manner (not regularly solicited, but auto-ordered by Diamond to match the same number as the previous one). And I recall back in 2002, when Tokyopop did this to a whole bunch of trade paperbacks.

  4. Johanna Says:

    David, those aren’t the only two options. I think the best thing to do would be to actually plan ahead enough to give retailers more than two weeks’ notice.

  5. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    I contacted several Diamond employees last year when they tried this, and they finally agreed to let us place an order for the ammount we wanted. Many of us are raising holy hell again this year–since aparently the lesson was NOT learned. Once they get away with something like this, what’s to stop them from sending us copies of even less “sellable” items without our ordering them?

  6. Alan Coil Says:

    If I were a store owner, I’d not sell those issues. I’d put them in the back room until they were due for return and return all of them. I’d also demand a credit for the shipping costs.

    I do believe that, if I didn’t get satisfaction on the matter, I’d stop selling Wizard.

    My LCS used to sell in excess of 40 copies of Wizard every month. The number now appears to be around 10. Maybe Wizard is a dying magazine that is using extreme means to try to boost their circulation.

  7. Scott Hassler Says:

    imagine the uproar if they just sent them to news outlets and didnt give them to the comic shops.

    im going to ask my local retailers about this one, but i imagine most if not all of them will prolly have the attitude that theyd rather sell half of what they get and return the rest than not sell any at all, and make no money off it.




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