Recently at the Comics Reporter website, Grant Goggans talked about recent issues that he believes have caused problems with the distriubution of the British weekly sci-fi comic 2000AD in American comic stores.
There’d be a six-week gap between issues and then four would show up. Six weeks later, the missing two would show up, along with two of the next four…. So to combat this problem — a recent problem of their own bungling creation — Diamond decided to start soliciting the prog in a monthly polybagged package of four-five issues… Atlanta stores — three of them anyway — got the July-offered “September pack” the day before Thanksgiving.
So I had a chat with Diamond Comics Distributors’ Bill Schanes who told me that, far from a solution for shipping issues, the bagging of a month’s worth of 2000AD was to keep the comic distributed in the US under Diamond’s increase in minimum revenue-per-item.
Diamond has distributed 2000AD for well over 15+ years in the US. While the creative teams involved in these issues are top notch and extremely popular in a wide range of comics, graphic novels and trades from a wide range of publishers, unfortunately, the sales response to the 2000 AD weeklies has always been much smaller than anyone would like to see. We’re not sure why that is, but a long sales history can’t be disputed.
When Diamond adjusted its purchase order benchmark in early 2009, 2000AD was one of the titles which we reviewed very closely, as we know it has a dedicated set of consumers in the US, but the overall sales were well below the previous purchase order benchmark, so we knew we needed to make an adjustment. We really didn’t want to stop distributing 2000AD, so, we decided to offer them in bundles of 4-issues at a time Vs singles. Sales have only dropped off slightly (less than 15%) but now Diamond is profitable on this Vs before we weren’t. I also checked to delivery time-lines and we’re basically delivering 1 bundle of 4 issues of 2000 AD on a monthly basis and have been doing so for the last 6-months. The is a natural delay because these are published weekly in the UK, plus transportation and bundling time, but we think we’re still offering the line in a fairly responsible and timely manner.
So basically the bagged packs of four create a higher revenue-per-item to justify Diamond’s distribution of the comic. It may not be ideal, and retailers are of course able to break the bagged 2000ADs open if they wish for individual sales, but it’s a move that has kept the Galaxy’s greatest comic book in American comic shops. And for that, I know a fair number of people are grateful.
But here’s the bigger question – why don’t more Americans buy this most entertaining of comic book anthologies? Any answers anyone?