Diamond Announces Street Date Option, May Charge for the Privilege

Finally! The traditional direct market comic industry takes an important step towards growing up: Diamond announces Tuesday delivery, allowing retailers to get comics a day early to prepare for sale. Thankfully, they are not changing the standard Wednesday new comic day, an idea they floated two months ago.

In most entertainment retailing, outlets receive product before the on-sale day, which allows them time to check it in, prepare displays, fix shortages or damages, and generally function as professional merchants. They then only put the merchandise out for customers to buy on its “street date”, the day it’s supposed to go on sale. Diamond has always shipped the same day, which puts comic shop retailers in a bind to accomplish all those tasks while customers are waiting to buy the product.

Beginning in January 2011, direct market retailers have the option of getting comics on Tuesday for sale on Wednesday. Diamond is calling it “day-early delivery”, and it “will take effect with shipments delivered on Tuesday, January 11, that have a scheduled on-sale date of Wednesday, January 12.” Retailers can also opt out if they want to keep doing things the way they do now.

Why might someone make that choice, when there are so many benefits the other way? Well, there are still rumors that Diamond may charge a weekly fee to fund “a ‘mystery shopper’ program to ensure that participating retailers abide by the industrywide Wednesday release date for books received on Tuesday.” It’s unfortunately likely that some few retailers, not accustomed to considering their hobby as a business, may break street date and sell the comics as soon as they get them. So the penalty for all the responsible shops, those who welcome this change as a much-needed step, may be having a fund a new income stream for Diamond. (If the fee rumor is true, and if we assume 2,000 comic shop accounts that participate, that’s over $500,000 a year for Diamond for doing … no one’s sure what yet.)

I’m glad to see Diamond finally willing to behave like a traditional distributor. Perhaps their desire to finally consider changes that have been requested for years is due to the increasing number of publishers who find they can get by without them? This also helps resolve an iniquity between large, multiple-outlet comic retailers, who could already get Tuesday delivery, and the independent, one-store comic seller.

4 Responses to “Diamond Announces Street Date Option, May Charge for the Privilege”

  1. James Schee Says:

    I’ll be curious to see how this works in the really small shops. I know the one I used to frequent, when I was a superhero hero only reader, had no back room. The boxes would come in off he UPS truck about 11 or 1 depending on the driver. He’d open them out in the open on top of the back issue bins and I’d help him sort out the issues.

    I think it’d be tough for retailers in that position if someone comes in and sas “OH I want that book!” to tell them they had to wait until tomorrow. Given the already numerous things working against the average retailer getting sales.

  2. Pallas Says:

    “increasing number of publishers who find they can get by without them?”

    Huh? You link to an article that makes it look like Devil’s Due is essentially going out of business, and an article that has Boom complimenting their Diamond account with a second distributor.

    How is either an example of a publisher getting by without them? One isn’t without them, and one isn’t getting by.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Back in the day, when Diamond (and the direct market) was the only game in town, a publisher would never dare direct their customers (the retailers) to another source to buy their comics or try to go it alone through other markets without Diamond. I find all these different ways of distribution (including the third article, which you didn’t mention, which is a straight “goodbye Diamond” announcement) indicative of how much power Diamond has lost over the past few years.

  4. Specifics on Diamond’s Street Date Program » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] have now been released about Diamond’s Tuesday delivery plan. As announced last month, Diamond Comic Distributors will be implementing street dates starting January 11, 2011. (Only, in […]




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