Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
There is an explosion of thoughts going on in my head, so proceed with caution. Part of me is so fiercely angry that it is hard to function; the other wants to make a viable, committed post. Scary, huh?
For the second week in a row, the West Coast is experiencing shipping delays from Diamond Comic Distributors. Last week several DC titles were affected; this week it is Civil War #6, which is being strictly allocated, and will not satisfy retailer's needs. There are also other books that will be late, such as Irredeemable Ant-Man #4 and Red Sonja #18. Over at Newsarama, there is an informative article that gives the full list, so check that out for details. Over at Comic Book Resources, there is an article as well as an interview with a Marvel bigwig. Check that out as well.
I also want to say how much I appreciate Lisa at Sequentially Speaking and her well constructed article which features contact information not just for Diamond, but for it's California warehouse. West Coast dwellers, head over there and grab the information so you can drop Diamond a line. Only our collective voices are going to make a difference.
For the record, I am not upset just to blow off steam. I genuinely think that Diamond has a problem with it's personnel and it's commitment to excellence. I work for a company that ships nationally and even in the horrible weather that has been so pervasive in Colorado and the Midwest we have shipped in a timely fashion. Since Christmas and New Years Day are the same exact date every year, we thought ahead and planned around it. I don't think Diamond did the same thing. There is a definite problem with their traffic management and shipping that is not being addressed. That is the bottom line.
How to resolve this? We all need to let Diamond know that this is not acceptable. It isn't fair to our retailers and it certainly isn't fair to us as customers. Let's make our voices heard.
In a quick aside, when I went to Newsarama and read the article, I made the mistake of reading the comments below. I was completely pissed about the low quality of people that post there. I saw everything from "And this is why I'm glad I live on the EAST COAST." to worse. Another favorite is "The West Coast SUCKS!! East Coast RULES!!! And Australia... well, it's Australia". Nice.
What is even more interesting is that part of the posts I saw earlier today that were worse were deleted, and that there were a few people trying to be the voice of reason. If nothing else, it reminded me why I quit going to message boards.
To my East Coast friends, thank you for the sympathy you have extended me personally. I am by no means singling you out, just some of the detractors that thought it was pretty funny to be smart alecks.
There has been a call to the internet to not post spoilers about Civil War #6 until next week when all the customers have equal opportunity. Whether this happens or not remains to be seen. Newsarama took a stand that they will post "SPOILER" in front of any article and encourage their message board posters to do the same. I don't plan to look around for articles, but I am hoping that fans of the book are not doused with spoilers left and right. It isn't fair to ruin a book for others just out of spite, though I do know it happens more then I would like to admit.
On that note, I really hope that Diamond pulls it's proverbial head out of it's ass and decides to try and fix this problem. I am not holding my breath, but I plan to make my opinions known. Please do so as well if you get a chance.
Let me know how it goes for you all tomorrow and if you experience any problems. I am very interested to know.
We've said it before and will probably say it again...Diamond really isn't that worried. They're a monopoly. It's like when I have problems with my cable bill, Charter. Whenever they have to come out to fix a problem they promise a day or two and end up taking at the mininum a week. I call to complain but it does no good. What can I do? Nothing and they know it. There is no where else to go. And unfortunately that's the problem with Diamond. My LCS has more problems with Diamond, but all he gets is the runaround. He is always complaining about the way Diamond treats him, but he's stuck. If he wants the comics he has to go through them.
If I was Marvel or DC I would be pissed at Diamond for not getting their books out in a timely fashion. But I guess they're more worried about just selling them to Diamond, not what happens afterwards.
It's a rotten situation and I wish I could figure out a solution.
Well, there IS a solution, but fans and retailers would never have the balls to do it.
The solution is: all fans and retailers boycott any comic company that has an exclusive contract with Diamond. If the big boys of publishing can't sell through Diamond, because no one is willing to buy from them, they would either get on Diamond to fix these other problems, or go to other distributors, which would break the Diamond chokehold on the distribution side of the direct market.
But that will never happen. Because if the retailers were willing to do it, the fans would never accept it. They'd find some way to circumvent the retailers to get the stuff, then all that happens is the retailers are out of business.
And it probably wouldn't even get that far, as some unscrupulous retailers would still make and accept oders from Diamond, while others stood by to do the right thing, and attempt to soak up all the fans who'd be looking for somewhere to get the books.
The reason Diamond and the big publishers don't have anything to fear, is because they know the fans have no willpower and can't do anything more than bitch on their online blogs about things. The fans will never take the drastic steps to force them to fix things, because no one is willing to make the sacrifice. Oh, they all think it should be done, just not by THEM. And that's where they know that have the retailers by the short hairs.
I encourage EVERYONE to share the Diamond contact information. I'd like to see them bombarded with letters. I'll even send one - while my stuff comes out of Plattsburgh NY I think it's important to show solidarity as a fan and as a store owner.
James I think your idea would make a big difference, but you are right. It will never happen. All the big comic publishers have exclusives with Diamond, so that would mean all the big comics...never happen unfortunately. I wonder why the big companies have exclusives with Diamond now, where could they go? There is no other distributor to jump ship to.
There actually are a very few smaller distributors out there. Nothing that could ever hope to compete with Diamond (and is why Diamond is not considered a monopoly, according to the justice department), but they do exist. Of course, with Diamond having exclusives with any publisher of note, that can never change, either.
It is the exclusivity that Diamond has with the main publishers that gives them the power they have to do whatever they want, however they want to do it. If that was broken, so would Diamond's "armor" against treating retailers and fan as insignificant ants. But as we've said, what would need to be done to do that will never happen. Mores the pity....
James, you are right, as unfortunate as it is - the only way to really convince publishers to end exclusive contracts would be to stop buying. But stores can't, fans won't... I do think that we're at another peak in comic book consumption and if the lateness and "big event" gimics continue we will see another crash, not as big as the 1990's, but a slump for sure. Who knows what the comic book landscape will look like after that. Maybe the exclusive contracts will end, maybe not, maybe comics will be sold mainly in digital format and via subscriptions from publishers. But in the short run those of us who can, should stand up for ourselves and let publishers and distributors know that we're mad and deserve to be treated better! We need to come together as a community rather than all saying, "Diamond won't do anything anyway."
Wow, after reading these insightful posts, I don't have much to add! I just want to reiterate that we need to try and solve the problem rather then just being upset. Even if it never gets better, at least we know we tried.
Oh, please, don't take my points to me we should just "bend over the barrel" for Diamond. I completely agree that we should speak up to Diamond, if for no other reason, than our own piece of mind on the situation.
I guess I just wish there was more we could do than "formally complain" and hope for the best. I've always been the type of person who likes to have a hand in things that effect me (even something as minimal, as making sure my LCS gets my comics in on time). Knowing I don't have that kind of option here, is just a bit disheartening and frustrating. All of which is only heightened by the fact that I KNOW the right course that needs to be taken to ultimately fix this, but must live with the fact that very few (if any) of the fans and retailers would be willing to follow through with it. Sort of feels like have the answer to curing cancer, but no one wants to believe or listen to you.
I still plan to do whatever I can, though, to help make Diamond see reason on this issue. I just wish I could do more.
So right, james! The only REAL solution is for Diamond to loose business, and without competition that's not really possible. It does stink! However, I do think that anyone upset about Diamond's poor service needs to speak up. Maybe if enough people swarm them they'll finally hear something.
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