Diamond Brings Back the Spinner Rack
In January, Diamond allowed retailers to order a comic spinner rack for $299 (and free shipping). That kind of display has nostalgic appeal for a lot of older readers who remember them displaying superhero titles at newsstands and other retailers, back when you didn’t have to go to a comic shop to keep up with four-color adventures. (My site image shows the antique one I was incredibly pleased to find.) Diamond has sold “several hundred units” of these modern recreations, now with “Dimple Guard Technology” to prevent the wire racks from damaging the bottom of the books.
(They’re not the only ones addressing this fond memory. Jim Demonakos, founder of Emerald City Comicon and former Image marketing guy, made $95,000 on a Kickstarter selling something similar.)
Now, Diamond is going to provide limited editions as incentives to retailers who buy racks and put them in other “complementary” businesses. Said Diamond Executive Director of Sales Mike Schimmel,
“We’re thinking about stores with the kind of clientele that would be interested in comics. The book, record, toy, or game store around the corner, the hospital gift shop down the street, drug stores, convenience stores, movie theaters, you name it. Since there really are comic books for everyone, there are lots of possibilities, and each retailer will know best what might work in their communities.”
(Drug stores near me are mostly outlets of big chains, and I don’t know how much flexibility franchises have to make deals of this kind. Local businesses are better choices, with more in common with comic shop owners.)
Retailers qualify by reaching a signed agreement with another business to allow them to place and maintain a spinner rack of comics in their stores for a minimum of six months. Agreements can be reached on a buy-sell or consignment basis with quantities, margin splits, payment terms, and other details being at the discretion of the parties. “There are lots of ways to structure an agreement,” said Schimmel. “We’ve provided a couple of templates that retailers can adapt as they see fit. The program is also flexible in that there are no requirements in terms of the titles or quantities retailers put on the racks.”
ICv2 points out that “Diamond has historically prohibited its wholesale customers from re-selling comics to other retailers.” This is a change aimed at reaching new audiences, and I’m glad to see some creative attempts at such. However, as ICv2 continues,
“Comic sales in non-core outlets are unpredictable, making the risk of unsold inventory high. When comics for the non-core outlet are purchased non-returnable, especially at a retailer discount, the curation has to be flawless for the program to be successful, especially when the soft costs like labor are included.
“We’re more optimistic about the outcomes if the spinners are used for sampling, promotions, and graphic novel sales, which it sounds like the Diamond program is flexible enough to accommodate.”
I hope ICv2 follows up to find retailers who participate in this program and see how it’s going. Diamond’s press release also says
“We think comic books can sell to lots of people in lots of places if they’re properly curated,” said Schimmel, “and we think comic shop retailers have the expertise and passion to do the job. It’s our hope that retailers will both make more money, and create more fans for comics, by participating.”
The comic industry has traditionally been driven by “passion”, but you have to balance it out with economics to survive. The free items, meant to partially compensate for the rack cost, include
Marvel: A 1 in 1000 Variant Comic TBD at time of redemption
DC: MAY178593 DARK NIGHTS METAL #1 B&W MIDNIGHT RELEASE VAR B plus a second limited edition comic TBD at time of redemption
Image: Retailer’s choice of 50 in-stock Image Firsts, plus a 2017 Retailer Appreciation Variant (while supplies last).
Dark Horse: JUL168360 LEGEND OF ZELDA ART & ARTIFACTS HC & JAN080090 HELLBOY TP VOL 08 DARKNESS CALLS
IDW: SEP170487 TMNT GHOSTBUSTERS II #1 INCV
Dynamite: A high perceived retail value item TBD at time of redemption
Boom: CGC Books & assorted Limited Edition Incentives TBD at time of redemption
Diamond Select Toys: Retailer’s choice of one in-stock Gallery PVC Figure