Since the impact of COVID-19 has basically shut down the entire world, that also affected comic companies, retailers, and their distributors. DC recently released a letter sent to Direct Market comic book shops that explain their new shipping model that involves multiple distributors.
“Our goal is to get new comics into shops that are able to sell as soon as possible. We expect regional inconsistencies as to whether stores will be allowed to open up or remain shut down, and want to ensure we can continue providing comics to stores that can operate during these times,” explains the DC letter. “We recognize that many stores are not open for business at this time, but we’ve also heard from many retailers who are open and/or providing mail order, curbside pickup, or delivery, and we need to provide them with product.”
Diamond Comic Distributors has been DC’s sole distributor to the Direct Market for over two decades, but when the distributor called for a shutdown because of the pandemic, DC worked out deals with Diamond’s biggest retailers—Discount Comic Book Service and Midtown Comics—to work as distributors themselves to comic shops around the country. The distribution begins this coming Tuesday. Retailers can still order through Diamond but products will not be shipped until the distributor resumes operations.
“You can choose between three distributors for periodicals: Diamond Comic Distributors, Lunar Distribution, and UCS Comic Distributors,” DC explains. “If you are ready and willing to receive product starting Tuesday, April 28, you can order from either UCS or Lunar. You have the freedom to work with either of these distributors or wait until Diamond Comic Distributors starts shipping again.”
Currently, Diamond is set to resume operations on May 20th, but the date serves as a placeholder rather than set in stone.
“We received feedback from many retailers and can confirm that all order quantities for titles for the original ship weeks of April 1, April 8, April 15, and April 22 not fulfilled by Diamond will be reset to zero,” DC says. “We have discussed this with Diamond and they have agreed to this reset.
“All order quantities for books on sale Tuesdays April 28, May 5, and May 12 will need to be updated via Diamond’s upcoming FOC or the other distributors’ ordering systems,’ DC continues. ‘We’re doing this to ensure you don’t receive double orders (should you choose to order books from one of our new distribution partners) or to allow you to confirm the orders you originally placed in Diamond’s ordering system. Your original orders were placed well in advance of the stay-at-home directives and we understand you may need to make adjustments that best suit your customers’ needs. To be clear, the affected orders include all DC product including comics, graphic novels, and collectibles’.”