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Diamond eases minimum-order cancellation policy

Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond Comic Distributors announced today that it’s modifying minimum-order benchmarks enacted last year that led to numerous small-press titles being dropped from distribution to the direct market.

According to a Diamond Daily dispatch posted by Heidi MacDonald, the distributor now will fulfill initial orders that don’t meet the benchmark but cancel subsequent offerings that fall short. In other words, publishers and creators get a little breathing room with the first issue, but the second (and third) better meet the quota.

“We feel that this modification allows us to better serve our retailers so they in turn can better serve their customers,” Diamond Vice President of Purchasing Bill Schanes said in the retailer newsletter. “If a title or item underperforms, we will still place a purchase order to fill initial orders. We’ll then address our need to avoid unprofitable SKUs [stock-keeping units] by not listing subsequent issues or like products in future issues of PREVIEWS so both retailers and their consumers should order with confidence.”



Mysterious Stranger

January 27, 2010 at 3:33 pm

So they’ll list the first issue, which is solicited 3 months in advance, but won’t sell the second issue if it doesn’t meet the quota even though statistically second issues are ordered lower than first issues? And what happens if the first issue is a hit but retailers can’t order the second issue because Diamond won’t relist it? How is this a good thing? Granted for graphic novels and one-shots it helps but not publishers trying to start a series. I don’t claim to understand the whole Diamond minimum order policy but from the wording of this article it sounds like they are only giving you one shot at making the minimums then you’re if you want to sell more than that first offering.

This is absolutely a good, compared to what happened before:

1. Comic gets picked up by Diamond.
2. Publisher spends money promoting it for a couple months.
3. Retailer orders books for people, might have taken deposits.
4. Book doesn’t get enough orders.
5. Diamond says no thanks, cancels all orders. Retailer has to break news to disgruntled customer, publisher wasted money on advertising.

Believe me, Diamond made a concession here. It’s a step in the right direction, and commendable.

I can think of a few books, publishers, and creators the old policy fucked hard. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

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