It’s a hard game, comic book distribution, sending a product that created to be throwaway around the world to customers who demand pristine out-of-the-printer condition. There will always be instances where there is damage. And while the distributor states that damage percentage has unchanged, anecdotal reports of damage seems to be on the up. Maybe more are just more willing to speak out?
Could this have been part of the philosophical differences that saw Diamond Comic Distributor VP Cindy Fournier to step down, replaced by John Wurzer?
Well, here is one solution.
Typically, if a retailer calls in too many damages over what Diamond consider is the accepted norm, they ask to see their damages ahead of time so they can view if there are indeed any issues.
This week, Diamond have chosen six lucky retailers to take part in their quality control measures. Instead of calling in damages, getting replacements sent immediately, and once a month returning the damaged stock for credit (and debit to Diamond) these golden ticket retailers get to have their damage replacements shipped to them as usual, but must immediately must return their damages to Diamond for inspection, for immediate credit, a boon to those comic stores’ cashflow.
However, the books will then be inspected by Diamond’s in-house Baltimore team to determine if they were correctly or incorrectly returned. If it is deemed that they are sellable, they will be returned to the store and the credit revoked. If Diamond feel that the retailer is being overly critical of what’s acceptable damages, they will discuss the issues on what should be and should not be counted as damages.
The selected retailers who receive damaged books will have to do added work each week with their processing, will have to track the books going back and forth to Diamond to ensure books they sent back won’t get charged or double debited for non returns, process a third time for books deemed sellable by Diamond.
So who are the lucky six? Is it your store?