More on Diamond Minimum Increase

Following up the story on Diamond Comic Distributors raising its minimum order level:

Simon Jones clarifies his original report.

SLG Publisher Dan Vado shares his thoughts.

[these changes] will have a chilling effect on the business as we know it. … most small press comics (and by that I mean floppies) do not meet that benchmark. I think if the average reader knew how lousy some of our sales were they would be stunned. … The number of people living hand-to-mouth in this business, from paycheck to paycheck, having to work two and three jobs is stunning and always has been.

Tom Spurgeon talks to some noted independent publishers for their reactions.

So does Heidi, but her correspondents are off the record and thus more pessimistic.

Christopher Butcher prophesies doom, calling the change “essentially the beginning of the end for the Direct Market.” He also does some interesting math:

Do you know what it costs to be a direct market retailer? $600 minimum order each month. A cost between 4 and 10 times less than what it costs to be a publisher, apparently.

8 Responses to “More on Diamond Minimum Increase”

  1. Jer Says:

    I’m not really sure what to think of Diamond’s new policy. My gut tells me that if there’s a market for these books someone else should be able to step in, start distributing them, and rub Diamond’s nose in it by being successful at it. But my gut also tells me that trying to sell comics as monthly pamphlets is not a business that I’d want to sink a lot of money into myself.

    It’s all just making me wonder if this isn’t just another sign of the looming change in the business model that has been hanging over the comics industry for a number of years now.

  2. David Lillie Says:

    Is this terrible news, or is this excellent news? Mediocrity in comic selection has persisted for so long under Diamond’s rule, that perhaps the official elimination of Diamond as a viable distribution option will finally spur independents to make a serious effort in opening new markets. And I don’t mean alternate ways of accessing the withered Direct Market, I mean *new* markets.

    As an independent creator working to build something outside of Diamond and it’s system, most people in the world of comics have likely never heard of me or my series. But over the last couple of years, my title ‘Dreamkeepers’ has sold hundreds upon hundreds of copies, in TPB format at over $20 per issue, with stellar reviews from consumers and professionals alike. Sales are not lagging – rather, they are accelerating.

    Based on the statistics I’ve been seeing in blogs today, it would seem I’ve already surpassed what I could have hoped for by submitting and struggling to contort within Diamond’s rates. And rather than have my books marketed to a limited and stagnant pool, they’re just beginning to see the brim of a potential customer base – the customer base that doesn’t care about comic shops.

    I’m not trying to brag about my ‘success’ – I mean, I’m working a night shift to make ends meet. But I do want to emphasize that there is a whole world outside of Diamond, full of people who want to buy good work. I would encourage all creators and small publishers to start discovering it!

    If anyone wants any more of my two cents worth, lookup my blog vividstuff at, to read my series of articles on Diamond, the state of comics, and their future.

  3. Tyler Chin-Tanner Says:

    Not that a lot hasn’t been said on this issue already, but if anyone’s interested I wrote in my weekly column for this week (entitled Diamond Isn’t Forever) about my experience with my comic series Adrenaline getting cut the last time Diamond increased it’s minimums and what changes I see publishers having to make in the future. The link is

  4. Hsifeng Says:

    Infolad Says:

    “There are reasonably priced independent translators available for people who want to explore that option.”

    Thanks for the link, it could be very handy someday! :)

  5. Strip News 1-23-09 — Says:

    […] new policy – there’s more discussion than I can link to but try here, here, here, here, here, here and here for starters. And the Diamond response can be seen here. Nicely, Dreamchilde […]

  6. Strip News 1-23-09 | Strip News | ArtPatient Says:

    […] new policy – there’s more discussion than I can link to but try here, here, here, here, here, here and here for starters. And the Diamond response can be seen here. Nicely, Dreamchilde […]

  7. Carnal Comics Says:

    Well you can put any spin on this you like, but it is bad news nonetheless.
    hoping that Diamond goes out of business and some new company magically springs from the ground.

    History shows that when an industry loses a structural piece of itself, that piece is rarely replaced. Look at the steel or the papermill industy. There are tons of empty mills & factorys in the US that used to make this stuff and now they are gone. No one came along and reopened those factorys. They just sit there rotting away. It’s all done in other less costly countries now.

    So I wish Diamond more success. Maybe they’ll be able to carry more indies if they do well. At the same time, I think that there is room for other distributors to start selling what Diamond won’t, but they will have a tough road to be able to do it…

  8. SLG Goes Digital-Only for Serialization — The End of the Indy Comic Book Issue? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] customers to sample, too. This has been coming since at least 2009, when comic distributor Diamond raised its order minimums, thus requiring small presses to sell a minimum number of copies in order to get into comic stores […]




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