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  1. #136

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    Although I definitely think Diamond's Monopoly being obliterated is a good thing, I do think this could have come at a better time. And honestly, I think this decision kind of just puts more money into other, mega rich corporations' pockets instead if the goal is to sell comics at places like Walmart etc. I hope DC have more news to come regarding this change, because I honestly don't want people's small businesses have to shut down just so AT&T get a bit of extra money. I know the industry needs reform, but I don't want to lose comic shops. And I think there are better ways to get new readers into comics.

  2. #137

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack The Tripper View Post
    Although I definitely think Diamond's Monopoly being obliterated is a good thing, I do think this could have come at a better time. And honestly, I think this decision kind of just puts more money into other, mega rich corporations' pockets instead if the goal is to sell comics at places like Walmart etc. I hope DC have more news to come regarding this change, because I honestly don't want people's small businesses have to shut down just so AT&T get a bit of extra money. I know the industry needs reform, but I don't want to lose comic shops. And I think there are better ways to get new readers into comics.
    Look there never was, is, or will be for DC to break away from Diamond. Diamond isn't exactly a paragon of virtue this is the same company that unless you get over 5,000 orders they won't carry you and it was Diamond that basically helped put indy publisher Claypool Comics out of business with their attitude.

  3. #138
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holt View Post
    That is the rumor from BC. That WB is unhappy with the amount of money the monthlies actually bring in vs. what they cost to print, ship, ect. and thinks that just bypassing the whole monthly system and going straight for things like book stores and book fairs would make more sense.
    But why is any of this happening at all? The gossip is that Pamela Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products has no love for DC Comics monthly comic books. The belief from some is that they cost too much to make, they take up too much editorial and production time, everything is rushed to deadline which means the urgent often trumps the important decisions being made and Ė they bring in too little money, compared everything else they do. Don't get them wrong, they still make money, just not as much as all that prime Burbank real estate could make.

    Instead, the gossip is that DC will focus on,, and rapidly expand, their original graphic novels line and the bookstore market, book fairs, libraries, Walmart Ė and they may keep the Walmart 100-page giant comics. They've already cancelled them for the direct market through Diamond. And for easy, cheap serialisation, they have digital already.

    Its been notable that the bookstore market for comics has been rapidly growing for a different, younger, more female market. Scholastic book fairs and the like have seen Dav Pilkey and Raina Telegemeier sell millions and more and more graphic novels being signed up for the kids, middle grand and YA market. DC has had commercial and critical success in this market, the Titans OGNs rising up the bookstore sales charts and Harley Quinn grabbing all the Eisner nominations. And, hey, comic book stores can sell those DC books instead.

    Graphic novels have a more forgiving timeframe than monthly serialised comic books. They are prepared and produced longer in advance, there's less of a rush to production, it's just a more pleasant environment all round. No events, no variants, justÖ comics. Now, this is just gossip right now, but it's from high levels in the industry. I'll see what shakes out over the weekend.
    Eh, I wouldn't be upset by this - I may not be different, younger, or female, but I have been enjoying many of those books. And I imagine the continuity heavy stuff might continue digitally before being collected in trade paperbacks.

  4. #139

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberstrike View Post
    Look there never was, is, or will be for DC to break away from Diamond. Diamond isn't exactly a paragon of virtue this is the same company that unless you get over 5,000 orders they won't carry you and it was Diamond that basically helped put indy publisher Claypool Comics out of business with their attitude.
    True, but there are certainly BETTER times to do it. At a time of uncertainty for not just USA stores but stores worldwide, they could have kept with Diamond for a few more months. I said I'm happy for Diamond to not be monopolising the industry, but i don't think a few more months of it would have hurt DC or anyone else. Stores are already taking risks right now, and to add to those risks is a very robotic, odd, and irresponsible move from DC. I'm sure (and I really hope) there's more to this than the little we know, but it would be great of DC to ease people's minds sooner than later.

  5. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samm View Post
    The comic industry would collapse of Marvel/Diamond did that. And 30% or 1/3 of the comics industry is DC... thatís a huge chunk of the market that you canít just laugh off! This decision by DC is a huge game changer and itís been a long time coming!!!
    Its hypothetical situation but youve given marvel the nuclear option with zero options of yr own.

    At the minute 75% of dcbs business is coming straight from diamond. How long diamond are just going to say... yeah ok thats fine as they basically fund their competition. At the same time the shops are funding dcbs distro arm. Its an unsustainable situation.

    If diamond want they could say ok.. dcbs its $3 to buy a book from us, shops its $2 and thats the end of dcbs and the huge numbers of their customers will go back to shops or another discount mail order retailer.

    By splitting off from the collective distro youve now opened the door to all sorts of power games that did not exist before. The so called monoply had zero power as DC and Marvel kept the whole thing in equilibrium.

    Im sure marvel are highly confident they can cripple DCs marketshare even further and fill the void with their own product. They are the ones on the rise whilst DC are on the decline. Dc dont even have any new product to launch their new distro deal to drive more customers to them. Theyve got shrinking market share, a load of aborted ideas and work (if 5g rumour is to be believed), disaffected their retail customers, shutdown their euro distro, and basically said to marvel ok if you want to nuke us heres the button. The levels of incompetence are staggering.

  6. #141
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holt View Post
    That's his problem right there. AT&T (like Time Warner before them) doesn't give a rat's ass about the direct market or even comics themselves.
    And I think that's what a lot of people are missing.

    This doesn't strike me as DC just shifting to new distributors. This strikes me as DC sliding away from the direct market completely and this is just their first step. So Iron Chimp is right, this could put DC in a weak position where Marvel uses their market share to pressure shops into boycotting DC (I don't see that happening but it's theoretically possible). But I don't think DC cares if they're edged out of the direct market, it looks like they're walking out on their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by SanityOrMadness View Post
    It doesn't really matter what Lunar/UCS do. There are three major losses in buying DC comics from them rather than Diamond:
    [list][*]Terms of Service. [*]Person-hours. [*]Freight.
    All true, but there's nothing here that can't be worked around in one way or another.

    On the costs account, do we have details on the new distribution yet? DC may be including some kind of benefit/relief package to help offset the additional costs to retailers. This *could* end up being too costly for shops, or it might even out, we'll have to see the details to know. And of course, we're assuming that DC's end game here is just new distribution and not a new format and focus. If I'm right about DC wanting to shift into the OGN/manga sphere, then a LCS doesn't have to worry about stocking a dozen+ floppies a week, they'll only have to worry about ordering a few different trades as they come out.

    On the man hours, I feel like that's a relatively minor issue. What're we talking about here, really? Opening a second program to punch in the DC orders (which you'd be punching in anyway), signing an extra check or two a week, getting two shipments instead of one, and adding a couple extra lines to your tax forms. Now, I've never worked at a LCS so maybe there's more to it than that, but if I can spend less than a couple hours a week ordering hundreds of supplies from multiple suppliers and still get the rest of my time-sensitive job done, a LCS can muddle on too.

    But again; I don't think this is DC trying to play nice with retailers. I think this is DC edging out of the direct market, and AT&T doesn't care if they crush small businesses in the process.
    Last edited by Ascended; 06-06-2020 at 04:59 PM.
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  7. #142
    Fantastic Member The no face guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SanityOrMadness View Post
    AOL have nothing to do with DC any more. Time Warner sold them (at a massive loss) years ago.

    You mean AT&T, a completely separate company.


    It doesn't really matter what Lunar/UCS do. There are three major losses in buying DC comics from them rather than Diamond:
    • Terms of Service. Most shops are in good standing with Diamond (those that aren't tend not to last...) and so get to receive books on credit and so pay Diamond for them in arrears, after they've sold them. When moving to a new distributor, you don't get that - they'll be paying faster, possibly even cash-on-delivery in many cases. That means they need to have money to pay for books before they've sold them. This would hurt many shops anyway (when a chain of shops is in trouble, suppliers starting to demand COD usually finishes them off quickly...), but even if that doesn't happen (e.g., DC advances a bunch of money to UCS/Lunar to enable them to match Diamond's TOS for individual shops), it's not the end of the story...
    • Person-hours. Dealing with two companies need not necessarily take fully twice as long as dealing with one, but it takes a lot longer. This translates to increased costs for a shop in terms of wages - someone spending even as little as five extra hours a week on dealing with additional forms/calls/packages/etc is five hours they're not spending on everything else. And "everything else" still needs done.
    • Freight. Even for shops in the USA, this will cost more - simply on the basis that they'll need twice as many deliveries, and Lunar/UCS probably don't have the networks or volume Diamond does. Also, see "person-hours" above - but this will go CRITICAL for international shops. Diamond have an established international network - especially in the UK, and countries served from there like Ireland and mainland Europe - that means they can send stuff from the USA in bulk and deal with stuff relatively locally, which keeps costs containable. If each shop needs to get a separate international package from UCS/Lunar, the break-even cost for each individual DC comic sold will be multiple times that of a Diamond-served comic with the same cover price (basically, they'll be in the same position as a UK retail customer ordering a package from Midtown/DCBS, without the benefits of wholesale shipping). Which means any sensible UK shop will need to have pre-paid preorders for any UCS/Lunar-served comic, because they'll be too pricey to risk them sitting in a pull box for an extended time, let alone shelf copies.

    And all that would still be true in "normal" times. But lots of shops have taken a major hit from Covid-19 (being shut for weeks doesn't help anyone) and don't have the ready cash to pay the extra-and-quicker costs associated with the above.


    Diamond have literally NOTHING to do with non-DM comics, or any of DC's non-DM book sales (they do serve the "book market" for some other companies, like Image).

    DC's "newsstand" sales gradually died off from the 80s onward (and went completely extinct in the 2000s) because comics were too cheap and too fragile for newsagents to spend the time and space on stocking them vs. a more expensive and more robust set of magazines. And this was before magazines started dying in earnest as people shifted to digital.

    UCS/Lunar will still have nothing to do with shipping to non-DM stores. Penguin Random House do with respect to HCs/TPBs/OGNs, but they already did that and have done for years, that's not changing (except in that DM stores are now being formally encouraged to order from them. Some already did). Magazine distribution is a whole other field again.

    And on digital... ComiXology have a near-monopoly on digital comic "sales" (thanks to decisions made the better part of a decade ago) and now they're owned by Amazon. Who get to do whatever the F they want to you, because they're the figurative 800lb gorilla and you can't live without them (when other publishers have tried to push back, Amazon stopped selling their stuff, and they ended up crawling back because the losses got too great). The only other game in town for DC is DC Universe, and that's not even available outside North America. (And who knows how long it is for this world, with HBO Max being WarnerMedia's main streaming service now).
    I recall a push for a return to comic stands in grocery and department stores in the early 2000's and to my recollection comic shops alongside Diamond Distributors opposed it. I'm not sold on the whole cheap and fragile argument because Archie & Betty & Veronica comic sales survive because they're sitting at the front of Wallmart cash registers, alongside Time magazine. I would gladly pick up comics if they are available everytime I go grocery shopping if they were there printed on any type of paper, In fact I would prefer it. It's a pain in the butt to drive to comic store everytime I want to pick up print copies.

    As for digital yes, the comiXology is a big blow, Marvel has shut down their digital sales which is a big mistake, "I've already been slapped on the wrist for mentioning this once on here", so I will let you read between the lines. It is essential that comic book companies make digital issues as easy & accessible to download as possible, because there are plenty of other websites that make it completely hassle free for a much reasonable rate, and it is for that reason, I'm not going to sign up for comiXology, unless I see some great advertising deal, because I can't be bothered.

    If I see ComiXology or Amazon directly selling links through Netflix, next time I'm watching a superhero show, my curiosity will probably enough to log in, but otherwise, when I go to download a digital comic I don't want to be redirected to Amazon kindle, or ComicXology. I want all the issues up on digital for direct download at DC and Marvel. I wasn't even able to find a download link for the Many Deaths of Vic Sage, I kept getting redirected to a print copy that would have to be mailed to me. So that left me with two choices, either drive to the comic book shop, or go for the uber convienent method.

  8. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberstrike View Post
    Look there never was, is, or will be for DC to break away from Diamond. Diamond isn't exactly a paragon of virtue this is the same company that unless you get over 5,000 orders they won't carry you and it was Diamond that basically helped put indy publisher Claypool Comics out of business with their attitude.
    No-one loves Diamond. But lots are dependent on them, and most are worse off in the short-to-medium term from this, at the point where very many of them are at their weakest. And everyone still needs Diamond, since Marvel and the medium-sized publishers are still exclusive to them.

    This would have been disruptive if it had been announced in, say, late-2018 that UCS/Lunar would start distributing DC Conics, with a full year's transition before DC dropped Diamond fully at the end of 2019. Doing it this way, at this time, with no meaningful international distribution? That's punitive.
    Last edited by SanityOrMadness; 06-06-2020 at 05:44 PM.

  9. #144
    Invincible Member Digifiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyvolt2000 View Post
    If you treat DC like an INDY and only order what you WILL (not THINK) sell. Do a FOC and have folks prepay for the books. Maybe order 1-2 store copies.

    You are still selling DC. And if I think would happen when comic chron lists those numbers-a NASTY reality check for DC and many should happen.

    Lets take Flash his last issue order was 29K.

    Stores take a stance and do the above. We see books ordered (and prepaid for) is 19K. Can you imagine the backlash to stores would be?

    So in the past there was tons of copies of Flash on shelves not selling but all we heard was WHAT about books like Ms marvel? Power Rangers and Buffy average that and still sell out at stores.

    It's not like we don't know this by looking at the shelves and seeing what is there in bulk.

    Now if the opposite happens-DC is looking good.
    Comichron's charts come from Diamond, so DC will no longer be on them. We'll have to wait and see if the new distributors have their own sales charts.

    https://blog.comichron.com/2020/06/d...ship-with.html
    Last edited by Digifiend; 06-06-2020 at 05:13 PM.
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  10. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by The no face guy View Post
    I recall a push for a return to comic stands in grocery and department stores in the early 2000's and to my recollection comic shops alongside Diamond Distributors opposed it. I'm not sold on the whole cheap and fragile argument because Archie & Betty & Veronica comic sales survive because they're sitting at the front of Wallmart cash registers, alongside Time magazine. I would gladly pick up comics if they are available everytime I go grocery shopping if they were there printed on any type of paper, In fact I would prefer it. It's a pain in the butt to drive to comic store everytime I want to pick up print copies.
    Archie's digests are a bit different - they're thicker/more robust (and mostly reprints) than single comics, at a historically higher price (although the ludicrous inflation of single issue prices has largely closed the gap there over time). Last time Marvel sold actual single issues to the "newsstand market", they were a full dollar or more higher in price than the corresponding DM version for similar reasons

    (Please note, DC's "100-Page Giants" are sold *IN* Wal-Mart, but not *BY* Wal-Mart. They're sold by a company that has concession space in WMs).

    Quote Originally Posted by The no face guy View Post
    As for digital yes, the comiXology is a big blow, Marvel has shut down their digital sales which is a big mistake, "I've already been slapped on the wrist for mentioning this once on here", so I will let you read between the lines. It is essential that comic book companies make digital issues as easy & accessible to download as possible, because there are plenty of other websites that make it completely hassle free for a much reasonable rate, and it is for that reason, I'm not going to sign up for comiXology, unless I see some great advertising deal, because I can't be bothered.
    Marvel's sales app was just a ComiXology storefront anyway, IIRC.

    Easily the best official value proposition to read Marvel's comics is Marvel Unlimited ($10+tax per month to read virtually Marvel's entire line, minus a few licensed books, and a huge chunk of the back catalogue. Yes, there's a six-month delay, but that's no worse than waiting for the trade...), but it's never really been pushed hard by them.

    Quote Originally Posted by The no face guy View Post
    If I see ComiXology or Amazon directly selling links through Netflix, next time I'm watching a superhero show, my curiosity will probably enough to log in, but otherwise, when I go to download a digital comic I don't want to be redirected to Amazon kindle, or ComicXology. I want all the issues up on digital for direct download at DC and Marvel. I wasn't even able to find a download link for the Many Deaths of Vic Sage, I kept getting redirected to a print copy that would have to be mailed to me. So that left me with two choices, either drive to the comic book shop, or go for the uber convienent method.
    You're never going to see a link to Amazon (and, by extension, ComiXology) on a Netflix show, because Amazon Prime are Netflix's direct competitors.

    This is leaving aside that with Disney+, Marvel are yanking everything of theirs from Netflix/Amazon Prime/etc the moment contracts permit. DC's a bit more complicated, since HBO Max (and DC Universe) aren't available worldwide, but the same is true for Netflix US at least.

    The rest of it is DRM-related. Publishers were more interested in (ineffectively) trying to make things awkward to make them easy by just selling CBR/CBZs. (Image did for a while, but in a slightly "too little, too late" way).

  11. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    And I think that's what a lot of people are missing.

    This doesn't strike me as DC just shifting to new distributors. This strikes me as DC sliding away from the direct market completely and this is just their first step. So Iron Chimp is right, this could put DC in a weak position where Marvel uses their market share to pressure shops into boycotting DC (I don't see that happening but it's theoretically possible). But I don't think DC cares if they're edged out of the direct market, it looks like they're walking out on their own.



    All true, but there's nothing here that can't be worked around in one way or another.

    On the costs account, do we have details on the new distribution yet? DC may be including some kind of benefit/relief package to help offset the additional costs to retailers. This *could* end up being too costly for shops, or it might even out, we'll have to see the details to know. And of course, we're assuming that DC's end game here is just new distribution and not a new format and focus. If I'm right about DC wanting to shift into the OGN/manga sphere, then a LCS doesn't have to worry about stocking a dozen+ floppies a week, they'll only have to worry about ordering a few different trades as they come out.

    On the man hours, I feel like that's a relatively minor issue. What're we talking about here, really? Opening a second program to punch in the DC orders (which you'd be punching in anyway), signing an extra check or two a week, getting two shipments instead of one, and adding a couple extra lines to your tax forms. Now, I've never worked at a LCS so maybe there's more to it than that, but if I can spend less than a couple hours a week ordering hundreds of supplies from multiple suppliers and still get the rest of my time-sensitive job done, a LCS can muddle on too.

    But again; I don't think this is DC trying to play nice with retailers. I think this is DC edging out of the direct market, and AT&T doesn't care if they crush small businesses in the process.

    Who buys trades from an LCS though? My shop doesnt even stock trades as they cant compete with amazon. Its singles and back issues only.

  12. #147
    Extraordinary Member Holt's Avatar
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    The situation got me to think about SF Debris' Rise and Fall of the Comic Empire video essay series. He brings up how in the 80s, Warner considered cutting the entire DC line and then licensing out a select few titles to Marvel (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Teen Titans, Green Lantern and Legion of Super-Heroes). He brought up that that WB didn't really give a shit about the comics themselves (which weren't making a lot of money) except as a way to provide some sort of basis for the characters, and that their real interest in DC was just the merchandising and media stuff.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same...

  13. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digifiend View Post
    Comichron's charts come from Diamond, so DC will no longer be on them. We'll have to wait and see if the new distributors have their own sales charts.

    https://blog.comichron.com/2020/06/d...ship-with.html
    Comicchrons sales numbers come from surveying shops and extrapolating. Diamond dont publish sales figures only a list of books. So its easy enough to just drop dcs figures in.

    comicchron is just an educated guess and they have zero idea how much dcbs, midtown and the other huge mailorder discount retailers sell.

    The actual figures for books sold will be way higher than comicchrons numbers

  14. #149
    Astonishing Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Pardon my ignorance, but what makes this a particularly big time change/bad news as some people are making it out to be?

  15. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by iron chimp View Post
    Comicchrons sales numbers come from surveying shops and extrapolating. Diamond dont publish sales figures only a list of books. So its easy enough to just drop dcs figures in.

    comicchron is just an educated guess and they have zero idea how much dcbs, midtown and the other huge mailorder discount retailers sell.

    The actual figures for books sold will be way higher than comicchrons numbers
    Comichron's figures, like icv2's, are based on Diamond publishing their top 500 comic & GNs's North American comic shop orders as a percentage of Batman's orders (presumably, they will now switch to Amazing Spider-Man or something). All they need to do from there is find out the actual orders (on the same basis - i.e., not non-North American sales, nor sales in rather than to comic shops) of *one* comic on the list - the higher the better, since there are more significant figures, but using multiple lower-selling books can compensate somewhat - to extrapolate everything else.

    Without that list of percentages as a basis, the whole thing falls apart, and whatever surveys they can do for DC will be less accurate, especially since there won't be any small publishers on the list that they can quietly get their sales numbers from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Electricmastro View Post
    Pardon my ignorance, but what makes this a particularly big time change/bad news as some people are making it out to be?
    Short version? Everything becomes more expensive for shops at a time when they're short of cash from Covid, especially for non-US shops who will have to pay full retail-cost international shipping.

    Long version? I made two long posts already:
    https://community.cbr.com/showthread...36#post4999636
    https://community.cbr.com/showthread...43#post4998743
    Last edited by SanityOrMadness; 06-06-2020 at 05:48 PM.

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