DC has officially ended Diamond’s distribution monopoly. Here is what they sent retailers earlier today:
“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”
DC also included this FAQ at the bottom of the email:
“Why is DC doing this now? DC has been analyzing its Direct Market distribution for some time, long before COVID, specifically in light of sustained stagnant market growth. The timing of the decision to move on from Diamond was ultimately dictated by the fact that DC’s contract with Diamond has expired, but incidentally, the disruption by COVID to the market has required DC to forge ahead with its larger growth strategies that will benefit both the Direct Market and DC. How do I order my books next week? Retailers will need to contact Lunar Distribution, UCS Comic Distributors, or Penguin Random House to receive books with on sale dates beginning 06/30/20 and forward. What about the books I’ve already ordered through Diamond’s ordering system? Will I still get those? Retailers who have already ordered titles with a 5/18, 5/25, or 6/1 FOC date should still expect to receive their books through Diamond. Titles with an FOC date of 6/8 are being moved to 6/15, and all DC titles with FOC dates of 6/15, 6/22, and 6/29 (and beyond) will need to be ordered through one of the three distributors listed above. I have books to return — where do I send them? All DC periodicals and graphic novels that were sold to comic book specialty store customers with in-store dates between 4/28/20 – 6/24/20 are returnable to the distributor from which they were ordered. Each of these titles shall become eligible for return during the 30-day window of time specified here, and such titles must be bundled together in shipments as follows. Titles returned after the applicable 30-day window shall not be accepted.
- Return titles with in-store dates of 4/28, 5/5, & 5/12 should be sent in together beginning 6/26 and received no later than 7/26;
- Return titles with in-store dates of 5/19 & 5/26 should be sent in together beginning 7/10 and received no later than 8/9;
- Return titles with in-store dates of 6/2 & 6/9 should be sent in together beginning 7/24 and received no later than 8/23;
- Return titles with in-store dates of 6/16 & 6/23 should be sent in together beginning 7/23 and received no later than 8/22.
Distributors will provide electronic return authorization labels to cover returns shipping costs. Customers will receive full credit from the applicable distributor for the return of the titles. U.S. customers must return full copies in salable condition to the distributor from which they were ordered. DC will accept affidavit returns from customers located outside the continental United States. All returns must be accompanied by a Return Authorization Form from your applicable distributor. DC shall have the right to audit such returns as DC deems necessary. Which distributor should I use? Retailers may choose from these three distributors as they like, but we suggest that U.S. and Canadian retailers on the west coast choose Lunar Distribution and those on the east coast choose UCS Comic Distributors to maximize shipping timelines. For retailers outside North America, please choose any of the three distributors. How does this impact my discount structure? Your current discount plateau will remain the same with Lunar and UCS. This discount structure is based on the volume of your purchases. What about my credit terms? Credit terms are set with your distributor. Why is DC committed to having books on sale on Tuesdays, instead of Wednesday? DC is committed to Tuesday on sale dates so that all our product is offered on the same day in all retail channels.”
It remains to be seen what this will mean for the industry, but it is certainly a shakeup. Care to weigh in? We’d love to hear your questions, comments, concerns, and hopes on social media. Stay tuned and we’ll be sure to let you know when we have more information from DC.