Last year, Diamond Comics Distributors changed their terms, first increasing the minium retail order at which they would deem it acceptable to continue distributing an ongoing comic book, or other product. And then stating that they wouldn’t distribute any order that came below that figure.
This move was to both maintain profits on each line item that the company distributed, and also to discourage people who used Previews as a way to market ideas and concepts for multi-media exploitation without actually following through with product.
What this meant however was that some comic book creators and companies would create a comic book, see it listed in Previews, drum up what publicity they could to generate orders, only to find the distributor unwilling to pass those less-than-stellar orders on. And retailers would find that they might order titles, bucking the national trend, only to find Diamond unwilling to supply them with what they’d ordered.
Well, there appears to have been a sea change at the distributor. In a piece in Diamond Daily, the distributors’ newsletter to retailers, Diamond states that they will commit to distribute a title that has been listed in Previews, even if that issue of the comic does not bring in the previously required numbers. Bill Schanes, Vice President of Purchasing, is quoted as saying;
We feel that this modification allows us to better serve our retailers so they in turn can better serve their customers. If a title or item underperforms, we will still place a purchase order to fill initial orders. We’ll then address our need to avoid unprofitable SKUs by not listing subsequent issues or like products in future issues of PREVIEWS so both retailers and their consumers should order with confidence.
Naturally Diamond won’t continue to list a title that fails to meet those minimum terms, month after month. But, at least for now, creators, publishers, stores and customers will know that if they see a comic book listed in Previews and order it, it will actually get distributed.
If there actually is a comic to distribute that is.