Coffee With Comics is a new comic book store opening in Glendale, Arizona, within an existing store, Jesse James Comics. And it is having… teething troubles. Jo Thomas just posted her latest issues to Facebook. Or rather her latest lack of issues.
I don’t know how any small comic shops that are just starting out, have survived working with Diamond Comic Distributors.
First, they put me on pre-pay, meaning I have to pay for July’s comics in May. So I can’t possibly make the money back for 1.5-2 months.
Second, they started me out on ordering a month behind. My first order was placed in March (for May) and immediately after placing that I am told I have to now place June’s order. If I would have been told I was so close to the cut off for May I would have skipped it and just placed a June order so as not to stretch myself too thin (again I have to pre-pay so now they want 2 months worth of orders paid for within weeks of each other and I hadn’t even opened yet).
Third: My first order never arrives. I contact my sales rep who tells me oops she didn’t realize my account was active so those books will arrive next week. What good are new releases when they aren’t new?!?!
Fourth: I have to again request my order form and Previews link be sent to me because I still haven’t gotten them for July’s order so now I’m late on this order.
Fifth: I never got the previews for August order so my regional rep dropped one off for me.
Sixth: Last week’s order never arrives. I am told because I paid late (again I struggled to pay for 2 orders back-to-back) that they will be coming with this week’s order.
Seventh: Out of 60 books I was supposed to receive this week for last week and this week, I recieved 31 books!!! They shorted me HALF my orders from this week and last week!!!
I am dead in the water before my store has even officially opened! I am scared to actually open because I don’t want to let people down and not have their books!
I heard all the horror stories about Diamond but hoped they were exaggerated. I now see they were not and that my hopes of being a successful store are greatly diminishing right before my eyes.
Sorry for the rant but I am scared, frustrated and feeling very hopeless and overwhelmed.
I did speak to Chris Powell, former comic book retailer and now Vice President – Retailer Services at Diamond Comic Distributors. He told me;
Obviously, I can’t comment on the specifics of a particular account. What I can say, however, is that we take pride in our efforts to help new comic retailers succeed. Our industry can’t thrive without “new blood” coming in, and we (and many of our publishers) have dedicated significant resources to that. From a pricing standpoint to free product provided to a store that’s opening to special account representatives who are trained to help a new store navigate the ins and outs of our very unique industry, we leave virtually no stone unturned when looking at how we can help new stores while continuing to do our best to serve current customers.
We encourage all prospective customers to have sufficient capital or a line of credit with their bank before opening, as opening a new business comes with many initial expenses. When an account submits their application, they’re assigned payment terms based on their circumstances. We consider their personal or business credit histories, banking relationships, and references from other vendors. In cases where we must require an account pay in advance for their orders, it creates additional work for us and for the account, so this is not a decision we take lightly.
If anyone has any advice, I am sure Coffee With Comics would like to hear it.