Monday, September 12, 2005

Diamond vs. The Small Press

That scalliwag Rich Johnston reports that Diamond Comics Distributors isa instituting a $600 minimum sales limit on all titles. What that means is, if they offer your book, and it doesn't make them more than that amount, they'll cancel all orders. This will affect reofferings and "Star Systems" items (i.e., trades and other higher-end items) as well. Of course, Bowen Designs and the like can meet that on any of their product with a handful of orders.

But what does this mean for small press and self-publishers? Simply put, it'll be that much harder (maybe impossible) for them to get their work listed in Diamond. And Diamond, as of this writing, is still the only game in town for widespread comics distribution.

Is this a draconian measure that will hurt the little guy and further curtail diversity within the comics community? Or a justified tactic for a business that has a right to growth of profits? U-Decide!

3 comments:

Ragnell said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ragnell said...

(Sorry about the last one, the spelling was horrible).

Personally, I think this is an unfair move. I think Diamond needs some competition.

Ed Cunard said...

You know me, Michael, so you shouldn't be surprised that I've been spending some time thinking about this.

At first, I was all ready for piss and vinegar, but the more I think about it, I find myself getting torn.

Let's face it, for as much love as I have for the independent and small press, there are a lot of titles that are pure, utter shit. I'm not talking "not to my taste" shit, but absolute fucking crap. I mean, the one guy who hit up every forum he could find on it was the guy behind Jester Press.

Plus, as much as I'm all about art comix, it's still just business to a distributor like Diamond.

In some ways, this move could actually strengthen the ties self-publishers have with other distributors like Cold Cut and FMI.

Now, while most comics readers aren't lucky enough to have full-service comics shops buying tons of things in the back half of the catalogue, there are the stores that do act as "tastemakers" that will continue to take chances on the kinds of titles affected, and their support should be enough to make that $600 mark (at least, in part). I'm thinking of the Jim Hanleys and the Comix Reliefs and the Isotopes the Muse Comics and the Beguilings and others.

I'm going to avoid going into this one for now, but Tom Spurgeon has a very good look at this at The Comics Reporter.