DC Dumps Diamond: DC Comics is Separating from Diamond

Looks like DC is canning Diamond as their distributor and continuing solely with the two new ones they set up as of June 15.

Dear DC Direct Market Retailer,

First and foremost, we hope this finds you safe and well especially during what has been an incredibly challenging year. We are writing today to share with you that DC’s long-standing relationship with Diamond Comic Distributors is coming to a close effective following Diamond’s distribution of product offered on DC’s FOC list of June 1st. We want to thank Steve Geppi and the great people at Diamond for all the years of service.

 

We recognize that, to many of you, this may seem like a momentous decision. However, we can assure you that this change in DC’s distribution plans has not been made lightly and follows a long period of thought and consideration. The change of direction is in line with DC’s overall strategic vision intended to improve the health of, and strengthen, the Direct Market as well as grow the number of fans who read comics worldwide.

 

In the near term, Diamond will only be fulfilling orders placed through June 1 Final Order Cut-Off and will not solicit the sale of new DC titles further. To ensure a smooth transition for retailers, DC will suspend Final Order Cut-Off for June 8, making those books available to order on Final Order Cut-Off on June 15.

 

Moving forward, we will continue our distribution relationship with Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors for distribution of periodicals and graphic novels, and Penguin Random House for distribution of graphic novels, worldwide.

 

We believe this new distribution system will bring you world class service using top of the line and modern systems that will provide you the most efficient operational supply chain. DC will continue to look for ways, together with our new partners, to better serve you and the fans to the best of our ability. We remain committed to the Direct Market and look forward to partnering with you to grow your business and to get the best comic books and graphic novels to the fans in the most efficient and seamless manner.

 

All the best,

 

DC

The original email is below:



69 thoughts on “DC Dumps Diamond: DC Comics is Separating from Diamond”

  1. I read somewhere that the new distributors are owned by midtown comics and dcbservice. Is that true? Can they make comic shops buy their books from other comic shops? I doubt the average LCS wants to support Midtown…

    1. Yes thats been talked about for awhile now in terms of midtown. I find this ending up to be some inside trading type stuff especially since midtown likes to hold books and bump prices for their benefit. Midtown is technically a speculator 1st, lcs 2nd imo.

      1. Yup. So, here’s one thing to consider if you’re a brick store without any online presence who solely depends on foot traffic for your comic shop business. Midtown being a distributor for DC no way impacts your customer base until you a) open an online store and or b) own a shop in the NYC area. So, if you run an online shop (and do quite a lot of sales, you have a little wiggle room for complaining) or if you own a shop in or around the general NYC area where Midtown has physical shops, you got wiggle room for complaints. All you others, meh, you’re argument is moot to be honest.

        Funny how TFAW is Dark Horse and no one seems to complain that they sell their own books at full profit.

        Want to bypass the distributor, become your own, contact DC and other publishers and setup deals so they send to you directly and you sell to the retailers. Ya’ll love capitalism right? That’s how it all works in the end.. 😉

        1. I disagree. You’re not considering the customers that no longer walk into a brick & mortar store because they’re buying getting their comics delivered by midtown.

          1. That’s why I said unless you operate an online shop, Midtown is not your competitor in that direct sense. So, what caused those buyers to buy from Midtown over you? Is it the lack of online shop? Does Midtown offer them cheaper? I think that’s one reason why most comic buyers who choose to not only shop locally but online is they can get FOC pre-order deals and or discounts from online retailers. They only shop locally cause they might want to see the book in hand first before buying. There’s so many factors to involve in people’s buying habits but simply put, if you only operate out of your physical store, Midtown is not a competitor from that standpoint and perspective (unless you’re in the NYC area, like I already mentioned).

            1. If you apply that logic to Amazon taking out mom and pop stores on main street, you’ll see that you don’t need to have an online presence to see online shops as your competitors.

              1. So, if you run a physical shop only, have no online presence and feel threatened by the growing number of online shops taking away from your business, either evolve, adapt and or change or get left behind in the dust I say. Make yourself stand out from the others to retain your customer base that keeps you in business.

                1. Sears once dominated the retail stores. Internet came along and they just brushed it aside.. look at them now? To stay in business, you have to adapt and change. If you’re not willing to change, then you’ll find yourself out of business.

                2. Yeah for sure that makes sense. But you know if Bills vlVacuum Shop had an online store today, they still couldn’t compete with Amazon. And if now they had to BUY their wholesale vacuums from Amazon’s subsidiary, even worse. I don’t know too much about midtown’s distribution company or how they actually plan to operate, but I imagine that comic shops are not happy about this.

                3. We all know Wal-Mart killed the mom and pop shops long ago by moving into towns and offering cheaper prices before Amazon came along. There’s documentaries about this. But I see you’re point. This is just the ever evolving and changing landscape of technology changing the game for just about every industry. Adapt early or get left behind. When it comes to capitalism, it truly is, survival of the fittest.

                4. “And if now they had to BUY their wholesale vacuums from Amazon’s subsidiary, even worse. ”

                  So, Amazon started in Bezo’s garage. What’s stopping them from doing the same thing Amazon did to grow? I think it points back to the business owners ambitions as well.

                5. But then again some models become completely outdated and go away regardless. Have you seen a TV repairman lately? That would be because of cheaper TVs that have become more disposable compared to the large expensive TV sets back in the day. Somenthings do just become obsolete

                6. Yeah it’s on shops to adapt and grow and change. The issue I’m raising is that these shops are now being forced to buy from their distributors, which seems very odd to me. I don’t have a dog in the fight though, unless as was brought up above, midtown now has an even bigger advantage when it comes to speculating, holding comics and bumping prices. They can literally control the DC secondary market…

                7. And Diamond didn’t control the overall market as being he sole distributor? They did, they were a monopoly themselves. Sure, the two new distributors also operate comic shops but there’s two of them distributing, so there’s still a sense of competition.

          2. Agreed, Daniel. The online presence of any shop potentially takes away foot traffic from any given brick n mortar shop. I’m sure there is a whole host of comic enthusiasts who don’t bother to go to their LCS because they enjoy the ease of shopping from home at places like Midtown.
            Poyo has it all backwards, imo. Any shop that sells the same product as you is your direct competition, in this online age. Regardless of what county, state, country, continent that you live in/on.

            1. Actually I don’t have it backwards when you know what I’m trying to put forth in the terminology. Everyone is a competitor in a sense, all comic shops are competing with others but if you only serve foot traffic, yes, if an online shop is now stealing customers away from you, even the ones who show up every Wendesday, it’s not just the online presence that is killing your business, it’s other factors as well. Why would your loyal customer base leave you for an online shop? So, find out, adapt and retain those customers. That’s the point I’m trying to make overall.

            2. Competition is fine, but when your forced to buy from your competition, that becomes a whole level or problems that AT&T is completely blind to.

              This isn’t the elimination of a monopoly. Just the transferal of that monopoly to our direct competitors.

              It’s forcing shops to put trust into a direct competitor which has already shown that it’s willing to cancel orders on its own customer base when a book heats up and offers those shops little recourse when it happens.

              It’s allowing a direct competitor access to those local shop’s order numbers, which can be used by that direct competitor in any numbers of way.

              If this was a distributor only, and not a direct competitor, this would still have issues, but that it’s a direct competitor is so much worse.

              Add on top of that with two monopolies, it’s an increase in shipping costs, since now shops are forced to order from two distributors for an already thin profit margin.

      2. Due respect, but my LCS has a special arrangement with some of the heavy hitters — Midtowne included, I believe — to get hot issues at a discounted price for their customers when their supply runs out. This could lead to a conflict of interest.

    2. Also, only on paper Midtown owns the new Distribution company handling the distribution portion of the comics. On paper, they’re likely seen as two different companies. Like Facebook owns Instagram, but yet lets Instagram do their own thing.. So yes, all the money eventually ends up at the same bank but on paper, they’re different companies and likely operate like different companies.

      1. Do you think a distinct and different Distribution system will be set up outside of their Consumer operation .. ?? That’s a rhetorical question ..

        1. I don’t know. I’d hope they treat each other as separate entities so Midtown abides by the rules in purchasing like all other shops abide by.

          I’ve worked at companies that have interdepartmental billing. So yes, it still all flows back to the same bank account, each department operated in fully on it’s own in a sense, even when our department charged the other for services rendered.

          1. I would hope so to, but there is nothing to stop Midtown from using this opportunity to gather data, and then after a year or two, use that data to figure out where they can open a profitable location by screwing the local shops. Changing terms, forcing COD, increasing shipping costs, delaying shipments, and any other number of tactics, including just ending their contracts abruptly.

            Midtown and DCBS can sit back, gather the data and manipulate the market without having to do any real work.

            It might only be DC, but I don’t believe that only DC will be sticking with them, once they start (assuming they aren’t already), going after the small press publishers.

            1. So, until all these “what if’s” occur, why not give them the benefit of the doubt and chance to prove themselves as distributors I say. It’s like retailers have already claimed “guilty” before there’s any proof of any wrong doing on their part.

              1. We can ask everyone on this site who complained for the last year if they were happy with Midtown’s business practices of canceling orders of hot books abruptly and then selling them at inflated prices weeks later if they’re trustworthy.

                1. So, on a retailer level that could be true but has it happened on the distributor level yet? Midtown isn’t the only shop that cancels orders on consumers.. you hear it many shops, online, eBay, etc.

                2. “Well, she cheated on her last boyfriend, but she hasn’t been caught cheating on me yet.”

          2. Midtown will gain a pricing advantage, I believe .. if they now are able to buy DC product at Distributors cost .. nothing stops them from selling the Consumer side of their Business the now more heavily discounted direct from DC books ..

            Diamond looses a large portion of their business .. both the loss of DC as well as Midtown, et al ..

            The new Distributors will use their existing facilities to fulfill both Shop orders as well as Consumer orders ..

            1. True but didn’t the bigger volume buyers already get bigger discounts from Diamond over other smaller shops? Distribution I could imagine is no easy task or business. Nobody else stepped up. Nobody else likely wanted to handle comic distribution besides these two larger retailers who depend on it and took advantage while Diamond had their head in the sand..

              I think there’s more story behind DC dropping Diamond though and that’s something we may never know in full either.

    3. When Geppi first got into distribution he had about half a dozen stores. He closed or sold them all after a a year or two. I would not be surprised if history repeats.

  2. Just to throw in my two cents: I used to buy exclusively from local shops. After many instances of missing issues, pulling the regular cover instead of the variant I ordered ( which of course is now sold out), not ordering something I asked them too, etc. etc…I cancelled my pulls and went to Midtown. Have I had problems there? A damaged cover once, which they took care of, but everything else I’ve ordered I’ve gotten.
    I still patronize my locals regularly, and buy things that maybe I want to look at first , check out the art, certainly for back issues. But if it’s an item I want or a specific cover, ordering it seems to be the way to go for me.

  3. And I might add this news seems to me to be the start of something happening and there is another shoe to drop.

    1. The other shoe might be that Diamond can’t abosb the loss of 30% of it’s business.

      Given that DC made the announcement that all books during the pandemic (4/28 on) are fully returnable, this could crush Diamond, if the rumors of their financial troubles are true.

      Which means that Midtown and DCBS are left to pick up the pieces and suddenly corner the market new comic distribution.

      On the other end of the spectrum, there’s calls from some corners that Diamond should retailiate by canceling the accounts of their competition.

      Diamond, as far as I know, has said nothing, which I’m guessing mean they were sideswiped by this entire affair.

      1. “Diamond, as far as I know, has said nothing, which I’m guessing mean they were sideswiped by this entire affair.”

        Nah, they probably knew this was coming. Like I mentioned previously, I think there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that the public may never know about. Maybe Diamond is in trouble and DC is just pulling out early to avoid the whole mess while others scramble to find distributors, who knows. Retailers might not like it but who else besides two big retailers could handle being distributors for comic publishers? We saw no one else come forward and I’m sure a lot of existing distributor for other products didn’t want to even mess with comic industry.

          1. True but I don’t think they wanted to become distributors. MCS likely has the facilities to handle it but it certainly is whole new ballgame (and headache) I’d imagine.

              1. I am most of the time but for some reason, magazines are an exception now for me. But you only find big newstands now at airports. Even the ones at grocery stores seem to be shrinking and shrinking.. Seems at one point you could point them out from any spot in the store, now I’m like, where’s the magazines at? They point, I squint and I repeat..”where again?” 😉

                1. Walmart .. 4,700 + stores/USA ..

                  I think my point is, periodical distribution continues to exist .. it’s not like the wheel had to be re-invented ..

                2. Oh I know.. see my next comment I just posted. Maybe that’s a driving factor for distribution of comics that’s a big “no thank you” from the existing ones.

          1. Also one must consider the amount of work in packing comics for distribution. When there’s variants involved, etc, it’s more than just someone or a machine selected say 10 copies for this customer and 20 copies for this customer. The ordering gets a little more nitty gritty when it comes to comics distibution. Maybe that’s why not everyone was rushing to distribute comics…

            Like Penguin House is distributing graphic novels for DC. This is a more straight forward approach in packing and shipping than say.. Customer X ordered 100 of Y so they get X amount of Z as well.

            I don’t know. Honestly I wouldn’t want to be a comic book distributor. I don’t even like packing up the handful of comics I sell on eBay.. it’s so tedious and boring.

            1. I seriously doubt if the suits at DC shopped around .. they went into the Pandemic Shipping mode, Diamond went into panic mode .. DC decided, well, we’ve come this far, let’s just go ahead and make it permanent ..

              Who knows .. ?? Maybe some of DC management had an axe to grind with Geppi .. or he withheld money ..

              1. Who knows is definitely what we can all assume. For all we know, they explored every option they had. Maybe the do have some beef with Geppi and Diamond. Maybe Diamond still hasn’t paid them what they’re owed or due. Maybe Diamond broke another contract in their agreed terms. Maybe Geppi slapped one of Jim Lee’s kids.. it’s all hearsay and assumption. We can only go by what they tell us publicly and leave it at that.

                A lot of retailers are butt hurt, but I say, just give the new distributors a chance. Then if you see some immoral or ethical things going on with proof down the beaten path, then start to cry I say and call them out. Seems like people are too quick to judge and are getting their panties all knotted up, they’re gonna end up killing themselves from the stress over it before their first shipment arrives.

      2. There has not been any notice on the Diamond Retailer site as it relates to this that I have seen .. as well Geppi and management at Diamond has been scrambling for at least 10 days over attempting to keep DC, it was not a blindside ..

        There are a number of things that come into play with this issue .. really, too much to type out and some already covered ..

        I’ve voiced my feelings about Geppi for a good long time .. in some ways, he helped dig this grave, if it ends up being a grave, that is .. I still give kudos to the Staff at Diamond, they have always done an outstanding job ..

        One tip I’ll add :: When Steve started becoming very public, with guest video appearances, etc, that, in and of itself, should have been an indication he was worried .. and that the pressure was on .. and it was, too little, too late ..

        There is no doubt Diamond will be downsizing, if they even remain viable ..

        All I can hope for as a Retailer is this does not end up unfolding like Hero’s World did with Marvel ..

        At this point, I am beginning to weigh my options, I’ll see how things pan out over the next few months, but if it becomes a cluster$%#@, I may give retirement serious thought ..

        I’ve gone on record in the past as being against the Comic Distribution Monopoly of Diamond .. I just never figured it would come to this, and so quickly ..

  4. This is crazy. But, about time someone else stepped in. I’ve heard how many retailers where sick of the way Diamond would package their books and how they didn’t care about them. Maybe these 2 new distributors will do a better job since they know what people want.

    Also this is DC we are talking about. Not much spec going on these days. And the stories a decent. At the moment I have 0 DC books in my pull. I used to have a good amount when they launched the New 52 runs and then I tried to stay with the relaunch stuff but the stories where eh!

    And if you don’t want to support Midtown as a comic shop, don’t buy from them. Just like I stopped buying from one of the big chain comic book store here.

    Just my opinion…

    1. “And if you don’t want to support Midtown as a comic shop, don’t buy from them. Just like I stopped buying from one of the big chain comic book store here.”

      Occam’s Razor applies perfectly here.. the simplest solution is the likely solution.

      Okay, retailers argue that they’re now buying from their competition since Midtown is now a distribution and also a retailer themselves. But even if it wasn’t Midtown or DCBS, as long as they’re getting the same rates as they were before and they can retain their loyal customer base, that doesn’t change. Like most of us here on CHU and based on comments we’ve all posted, seems like we all visit the local shops, buy from Midtown, TFAW, MCS and many other online shops. Most of us have zero loyalty when it comes to picking up books at cheap prices.

      So as a consumer, if you don’t like Midtown, don’t buy from them. MCS did me wrong many moons ago, guess what, I haven’t bought from them since. ComicXposure did me wrong many moons ago, I stopped shopping there as well. The few times I’ve had issues with Midtown and even TFAW, their customer service stepped in and took care of me, so they retained me as a future customer.

        1. Hey Willie, if u decide u need to let go of some inventory, send me a DM 😉

          The way I see it is AT&T has quiet a few options when it comes to distribution. Worse comes to worse , we are heading to our local att store and browseing comics and cell phones. At best we see the return of news stand editions out of barns n nobles / Walmart.

        2. I’ve read it once. It didn’t sound pleasant but also since 1994-1995, times have seriously changed. The landscape (primarily the internet) has drastically changed since then. I don’t think you’re seeing at a historical repeat.

          Think of it this way, if you as a retailer decide to drop DC books and I’m a consumer who buys both Marvel and DC at your shop, now that you’re dropping DC and I find another shop nearby that carries DC and or an online shop, why would I now shop at both locations if the other guy with DC also carries Marvel? Back in 1995, I can’t imagine most people buying comics had the world of online shopping at their fingertips. Heck most people do all their online stuff from their phone now. Even CHU’s traffic is now almost 50% mobile devices.

          So if you’re a retailer, you might be choking your business even more if you decide to drop DC cause you don’t want to deal with more than one distributor cause you’re telling your customers who buy more than DC to find another shop (and that’s real easy to do in todays online world).

  5. For years Geppi earned himself the “invisible man” award. Now, he’s making inane videos trying to endear himself to people. It’s pretty late in the game to be marketing yourself as some affable and benevolent collector and businessman. On top of this, he is behind one of the absolute worst marketing campaigns I’ve witnessed in some time. Did he really think some generic yellow labels and some crappy letter to stores was in any way going to have any impact at all? Has he lost his mind?

    As for the numbers for Diamond, he’s made so much money over the years and siphoned out all of the cash into his holding company that to cut payments to publishers was one of the dumbest business moves that one in his position could make.

    He brought this whole truck load of shit on himself.

  6. I have one LCS that I can access without a boat or plane their books would always get allocated by diamond to bigger stores in Oahu because there’s only one diamond rep out here and he don’t give two shits about it. It became such a big problem where every hot book was getting allocated from like 25 copies to 3, making them miss out on incentive variants they qualified for and they couldn’t even fill their damn customers preorders and subscriptions because of this. So bad I don’t even go there looking for books on new comic days unless I already bought what I needed online first to make sure I didn’t miss out and something gets hot I’ll go check for extra copies. That’s been my Diamond experience for the last 5 years

  7. Alana, I wonder if the damages experienced by your LCS are the same statewide….especially given the unique shipping destination.

    Diamond packaging has long been an issue….but UPS bears some responsibility too.

    I’ve seen drivers slam boxes onto carts and even twirl those boxes on one corner.

    1. They get doubled shipped they come here to one place on Tuesday and then get fedex one day shipped from there is how they explained it to me. They don’t every know what time it will be either, could be 9am or as late as 4pm on some days until they get the books delivered and inventory them and pull subscriptions.

  8. Fwiw Midtown is actually smaller than DCBS. It’s not by much. But DCBS was/is a bigger Diamond customer than Midtown.

    The point about leveraged discounts for Midtown is accurate. But I wouldn’t be quick to assume that Midtown will automatically get Diamond’s old discount from DC. It was a negotiation. And I’m 100% certain that Midtown took less of a discount than Diamond was getting as a means to get the contract.

    As for this putting any nails in a Diamond coffin? Pffft. DC was only 30% of the Direct market last year. And Diamond sells a ludicrous amount of product that isn’t floppies. My typical weekly Diamond invoice is less than half new comics. Between manga and t-shirts and statues and figures and hats and backpacks and everything else, it’s not like Diamond just lost half their revenue. DC new releases were less than 10% of my sales last year. I doubt they are more than 15% of Diamond’s. Yes it’s a loss to them. If I lost one of my power subs that gets 100 titles a month I’d feel it. But Diamond isn’t crushed by this. Not like they would be if it was Marvel leaving.

  9. This is a very good thing. Embrace the change people. Diamond no longer has a monopoly; Diamond no longer has the comic book industry by the balls. Great times for DC comics ahead.

  10. I have a friend who works at the local Graham Crackers Comics; basically the midwest’s version of Midtown. He has nothing but positive things to say about the new distribution deal. The books are arriving on time and in better condition, and in better packaging. Though a limited frame of reference, that was my experience when I was buying from Midtown directly; excellent service and customer first attitude. Once the local Graham Crackers opened, I started buying from the local shop instead, and it actually makes me happy that I’ll get to support both companies that I respect.

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