Diamond to Shutdown Distribution of New Comics

It appears that this weeks new books will be the last week of new comics until further notice and this COVID-19 blows over.

Here’s the email from Steve Geppi that was sent out to retailers just a few moments ago:


Diamond Comics Special Offer

An Message from Steve Geppi,
Chairman & CEO,
Geppi Family Enterprises
Founder, Diamond Comic Distributors

CORONAVIRUS EFFECTS ON DISTRIBUTION

As everyone knows, the world faces ever-increasing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its effects on the comics & collectibles and tabletop gaming industries have been felt far and wide. We are hearing from thousands of retailers that they can no longer service their customers as they have in the past, many of them forced to close by government action or resort to in-person or curbside delivery. Even those still open are seeing reduced foot traffic in most cases, a situation that seems likely to worsen with time.

Our publishing partners are also faced with numerous issues in their supply chain, working with creators, printers, and increasing uncertainty when it comes to the production and delivery of products for us to distribute. Our freight networks are feeling the strain and are already experiencing delays, while our distribution centers in New York, California, and Pennsylvania were all closed late last week. Our own home office in Maryland instituted a work from home policy, and experts say that we can expect further closures. Therefore, my only logical conclusion is to cease the distribution of new weekly product until there is greater clarity on the progress made toward stemming the spread of this disease.


EFFECTS ON DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS

Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice. For the time being, however, we have been able to develop procedures with our teams at the distribution center in Olive Branch, MS to safely continue fulfillment of direct ship reorders for the retailers who are able to receive new product and need it to service their customers. It’s unlikely that orders will be filled on the same day they are placed, and these plans are subject to change if at any point we no longer feel that we can safeguard our teams while fulfilling orders.

Product distributed by Diamond UK and slated for an on-sale date of March 25th or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice. Further updates with regard to reorders and other Diamond UK-specific information will be communicated directly to their customers as information becomes available.


EFFECTS ON ALLIANCE GAME DISTRIBUTORS
Product distributed by Alliance has been shipping from our Fort Wayne, IN and Austin, TX warehouses. Both are closing at the end of the day on Tuesday, March 24th, in the interest of employee safety and to comply with direction from local governments. Any orders not shipped by that time will not be processed until further notice. Your dedicated sales team will still be working remotely and will help you with any orders you’d like to place today or questions you may have.
OUR SHARED PATH FORWARD

With these changes in our distribution strategy, we will work with our publishing partners to develop programs that will address product already in the pipeline and what will happen when we resume distribution. We know that during this time you will face many challenges, and we will direct our energies toward addressing them, rather than fighting on increasingly numerous fronts to get product out.

For those retailers who remain open in various forms, I encourage you let loose your own creativity. For the time being, you will be able to replenish your perennials from Diamond and/or Alliance, but you should also remember the stock you already have in your stores. If your doors remain open, it’s likely you will have customers who will continue to seek diversion from events of the world. Special sales, promotions, and even eBay can help you bring in cash during this trying time. Product for which you’ve already paid may well hold some of your answers. There have been many solid suggestions offered about how to help our retailers, and we will bring many of them together in future communications.

Besides the industry’s most immediate needs, we have been and will continue looking toward the future, when we see stores reopening, bringing staff back onboard, and getting customers in the door. We are looking at issues like debt accrued due to this crisis, what reduced ordering means for your discount tiers, and the availability of credit to help stores through and after this difficult time. We don’t have all those answers today, but we understand the many issues you are facing and look forward to addressing them as partners who all have an interest in the long-term health of the industry we love so much.

As I mentioned in my last update, this industry has been one of the greatest joys of my life, from my days as a collector to a retailer to today. I and my Leadership Team have made these decisions knowing full-well the effect they will have on all of you, as well as our publishing partners and our own team members around the world. At the end of the day, the safety and security of our teams and yours, along with the many customers we all serve, is paramount. I again thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

Thank You,

Steve Geppi
Chairman & CEO, Geppi Family Enterprises


So this weeks books will be the last week for the coming weeks or so. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see at this point how this all plays out.

21 thoughts on “Diamond to Shutdown Distribution of New Comics”

  1. I understand why shut down . But do people that have mental trouble or sick and need comic books & graphic novels to help them thought this trouble time?

    I am one of them . I hope that this shut down does not last long . The Government need to let Diamond abd comic book stores stay open in some one .

    1. Not to make light of it in any way (we’re all in the same boat), but I honestly think they should take this opportunity to just go digital only and not look back. They’ll have a chance like this again, and if not the direct market in its current form will limp on until it ends even worse.

      The option is once things start up again (but how long is the question) Marvel and DC distribute themselves a la Heroes World, and finally get rid of Diamond’s stranglehold. That’s the only other way to save the direct market from extinction, but like I said if that stories keep coming out digitally, maybe its’ best to let it die.

      1. Why are you so adamant that the direct market is going to die? Year over year sales on floppies increased last year. There is literally 10 plus stores within 30-45 minute drive. Ive seen approx 4-5new stores open in the last two years. I’m sure there are some rural areas that may struggle turn a buck, but when you see so many large retailers (Midtown et al), that doesn’t indicate to me that the market is dying. If they go digital only, I’m out. 💯. There is no way that I am going to spend more time with my face buried in an electronic device.

        1. I agree. Floppies aren’t going anywhere. The difference between comics and things like newspapers (which mostly went digital) is the value and collector market for the hard copies.

  2. In my lifetime, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything like what’s happening .. it’s a sad time ..

    My thoughts go out to those that have or will have a financial struggle .. most people in this Country just don’t realize the large part of the populace that goes check to check ..

    Comics don’t even count as a blip on the radar under the current circumstances ..

  3. I’ve sent an email to Geppi asking if he has any intel on what the Publishers are doing or will be doing .. if they will continue to print and just hold stock, or stop printing .. as well as how much product is already in the pipeline ..

    If this drags on, Diamond will need to figure out a way to work with Retailers somehow .. many shops are fairly thinly capitalized and if weeks and weeks of product ship when the moratorium is over, many won’t have the money to pay, especially since they won’t be getting weekly shipments in the meantime ..

  4. Oh man…firsts they take my sports…now my comics?? Suppose I will attack that Honey Do list….SMH…sad face….

    1. My shops are closed until late April anyway…so this is just a lengthening of what’s already going to be a life without Comics for a while.

      But I haven’t even read my run of venom or Immortal hulk…so I suppose this gives me an opportunity to catch up…

      My eBay comic sales have really taken off though…may be able to move some unwanted stock!

    2. Guess I’ll have time to focus on my tech blog I started… gardening will take up a lot of time in the coming weeks too. Maybe I’ll start working on the motorcycle out in the garage once I run out of things to read.

  5. I wrote about this in the Third Eye thread earlier today, but I’m not surprised.

    The key thing that Diamond needs to do is pretend these weeks (whether it’s 6 of them or 8 of them) don’t exist at all. If things resume June 3rd they should ship the “April 1st” books that week. With the April 8th books on June 10th and so on. Skip a month or two of new solicitations in previews and just push the street dates out. Maybe keep the non-comic stuff on its original schedules. A statue planned for June can show up in June, it doesn’t need to be pushed to August. But the printed material just needs to be pushed back the same number of weeks as we lose.

    Because otherwise you reach June 3rd and hand retailers an invoice for 9 weeks of product and watch them fold. Their customers can’t buy all that product at once. They’ll just be coming back to work themselves. A store that typically sends Diamond a check for $2500 a week can’t be expected to send a check for $22,500 on June 3rd and just roll with it.

    Multiple publishers have already canceled their solicitations indefinitely. Diamond needs to just pretend X weeks don’t exist and go from there.

    FWIW I’m pleased with Geppi here. They were slow to pay attention (10 days ago they called me to confirm FCBD shipments and acted shocked when I suggested it should be postponed). And his Free Comic Book May idea was as bad as New Coke.

    But credit where credit is due. Even though much of his hand was forced by the states where his warehouses are, his response today was spot on.

    1. Getting all that shipment at once would be like a nail in the coffin for many shops. They may even place order significantly smaller orders to counter this since the plan for recovery is still in the air. Look for some low distribution of potential key books over the next few months…

  6. I think Diamond is smart enough to not ship all the books at once. Im sure in the next few days we will see the diamond FOC portal turn off and inital orders put on hold.

  7. Marvel did announce one round of support measures.

    They bumped the entry level discount for retailers to 65%, bumped decent-sized retailers previously from 53-55% to a new discount of 70%, and bumped the biggest guys to 75%.

    It was initially announced as only applying to 4 weeks of shipments, but it at least tips their hand on how they might choose to assist retailers going forward.

    We are a 55% Marvel store, with typical weeks around $2500 of Marvel product. This bump in discount would save the shop $375 a week for however long it lasts. But for any store, it’s a cut of around 70 cents per $3.99 comic which definitely helps. This particular week, with Immortal Hulk 33 and Wolverine 2, that discount bump saved us over $600.

    1. Doesnt really help out retailers now……. “For Marvel titles scheduled to go on sale between March 18 and April 8, Marvel is offering extensive deep discounts (adjusted on top of the existing discounts you have in place) to help alleviate cash flow pressures and give you the flexibility to sell your product in response to customer demand as needed.”

      1. Will we still get discounts even though the product isnt shipping? That seems to be the question on the table is how mich of the product and when we will get it. After talking to my rep it seems like its still buisness as usual and my initial order is still due in a fee days as is the FOC weeklys.

  8. I honestly never thought there’d be a day when movies would stop coming into theaters at all, and comics would stop shipping. I thought the only time there’d ever be a month without Amazing Spider-Man shipping is when the planet was going to explode or something.

    Of course, Quesada already saw to that in Civil War 2006 I guess, and the greedy Writers’ strike saw to it that television shows just stopped production many times, but you know what I mean, this time it feels almost like I Am Legend…

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