This week marks the beginning of an improvement in the way comics primary distributor, Diamond, distributes its comics to its customers — direct market retailers, aka ‘comic stores’. Up until this week, comics were delivered to comic stores on the intended day of release: basically, the sooner you could get them out of the shipping boxes and onto shelves, you could start selling. Now, retailers have the option to get their books a day early, as a way of easing the brutal turnaround time expected for Wednesday on-sale dates. As part of this early-bird shipping though is an iron-clad agreement for the stores not to sell their comics early in an attempt to outflank competitors. Diamond will levy fines to those they discover do so.
As with the first week of any new initiative, expect some mistakes along the way — late shipments, retailers discreetly breaking the Wednesday on-sale date, pirated copies (or news from) major events leaking its way online a day early. But if Diamond and comic retailers can make it work, it will get them in line with what other major retailers have been doing for years and allow them a more organized stocking over a Tuesday afternoon & Wednesday morning rather than a tremendously rushed Wednesday.
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