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New threshold ‘probably means the end of independent serialized comics’

Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond Comic Distributors

Reaction continues to what likely will be the big story for some time to come for small publishers and creators –  news that Diamond Comic Distributors is increasing its order minimums from $1,500 to $2,500:

• In a post ominously titled “Beginning of the End for the Direct Market,” retailer Christopher Butcher says the increase in the order minimum “is going to hurt the DM worse than Marvel’s Heroes World Debacle did.” He also points out that the first volume of Scott Pilgrim wouldn’t have met the new marker, based on its original orders.

• Jennifer de Guzman, editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing, asserts the rising threshold “puts all smaller publishers in a difficult position, and probably means the end of independent serialized comics.”

• Heidi MacDonald has a response from Oni Press Publisher Joe Nozemack, who stresses that the direct market isn’t his company’s only sales outlet. He also suggest that, in light of the higher minimums, Diamond reconsider its 3-percent reorder fee for non-Premier publishers.

• Rich Johnston looks back at the previous minimum-order increase, and considers what the new one means in the current marketplace: “Most well-selling indie books will remain. But entry to market will be severely restricted. You’re going to see less of the kind of books that come from nowhere to suddenly take prominence, like Mouse Guard.”

• Creator Dwight L. MacPherson tweaks Johnston, who’d criticized him in August for choosing print-on-demand over Image, and Diamond, for his current book. A back-and-forth ensues in the comments.

• Simon Jones of Icarus Publishing rounds up reactions, and clarifies some figures regarding retail versus wholesale. His conclusion? “[T]he news is actually slightly worse, and may affect a larger number of books than originally thought.”

• At Comics Waiting Room, Strangeways creator Matt Maxwell writes that he doesn’t see how “small startup books” will be able to clear this higher hurdle: “The independently-published single issue was already beginning a press into rarity. This merely hastens it. Well, not ‘merely.’ More like ‘majorly.’ As it stood, serial publication of a new project, unknown team or not, was already a losing proposition. This just sorta puts it into stone.”

• Cartoonist DJ Coffman predicts the shift will “spell doom” for many current and future titles from small publishers, and lays out how creators can successfully work outside of the direct market. (via Dirk Deppey)

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