Comic Retailers React to Dark Horse Exclusively with PRH
Yesterday, Bleeding Cool shared the news that Dark Horse Comics was dropping exclusive comic book store distribution from Diamond Comic Distributors to Penguin Random House Publisher Services, along with the response from Diamond owner Steve Geppi, who was, basically, “we’re going to miss the one percent that was Dark Horse.” A number of comic book store owners and employees got together to discuss the change on Facebook…here are some of their up-and-comings.
Brian Hibbs owner of Comix Experience in San Francisco: “If you hadn’t heard otherwise, Dark Horse is moving all periodic distribution to Penguin Random House starting 6/1/2023 – Diamond will then be wholesaled like they do with Marvel (AKA: your cost as a retailer goes up about 5% of the margin if you stick with Diamond)… Anyway, I thought that letter from Geppi was *surprisingly* petty (that 3rd paragraph, wow!), and, if I were a remaining DCD editor, I would certainly wonder what they say about YOU behind your back. Diamond has now had about 3 years to resolve its underlying shipping issues. , cost, inventory control and courier since DC announced its departure I’ve had about THREE DECADES of retailers complaining to the management team about shipping (I have the receipts emails to VPs, yes I do) – and they SOLIDLY refused to do anything e be about it. Even MODEST changes would have solved most. But they did it all. I *want* a healthy Diamond comic s, and would rather buy all my comic products from them (centralization brings several efficiencies) but *Diamond* made that impossible, sorry. Don’t blame others for your inability to change, yo.”
Randall Armstrong Manager at South Tampa Comics: “Wooooooo! Down with Diamond and their ridiculous overcharging on their shipping. All I need now is Boom and Image to move and we’re in business!”
Marc Arsenault from Sparkplug Books & Alternative Comics of Portland, Oregon: PRH was a little difficult at first. And yes, I mean the packaging issues. They overcompensated well in my experience. It’s hard to argue with the soft reduction and lack of monthly minimums. Oh yeah, and the book industry standard free shipping. The move into the 21st century of shorter advance order/FOC lead times is also a welcome change. Diamond screw. Go Image, bury the beast and move on.
Jean Harter from Waterfront Comics, Suisun City, CA: The 4 points I lost from Marvel’s move to PRH was more than offset by the 10-15% I was paying Diamond for shipping.
Richard Evansfrom Bedrock City Comics, Houston, Texas: I can’t imagine wanting to go back to a time when all orders were done through Diamond, especially after realizing how much money we saved by diversifying suppliers. At this point, the more suppliers that allow us to order their products elsewhere, the better. Kudos to Dark Horse.
Brian Hibbs: Our overall margins on comic products have dropped significantly since DC left Diamond. Glad your experience was different.
Marc Dickson, former owner of a comic book store in Chillicothe, Ohio: Diamond should have consolidated Alliance Games/Comics distribution a long time ago. Alliance always has free freight on $$$ orders. If a retailer had a game product released on a Monday, the comics could be included for free shipping. And all from the same warehouse. This would have helped retailers tremendously. At least one chance per week to get free cargo comics. It would only have worked if some warehouses were closed and all the products were in one place. Company policy is to wait and react when problems arise. So if a fire breaks out and the house burns down, you run around like crazy to try and put out the fire. In business thinking, this is a cost cutting measure. Do not change the policy until absolutely necessary. But another way of doing business is to change when the problems start and find a solution before the fire starts. The house of diamonds is currently burning, it remains to be seen if it will be saved or if it will be a total loss.
Brian Hibbs: no, what they SHOULD do is listen to retailers like me who patiently and carefully explained to the Vice Presidents of Diamond how shipping worked everywhere else, and how we were moving our business around unchanged, and explained exactly how much THEY were losing as a result. As I said, I have the receipts….
Few people have suffered from the age-old advice of listening to Brian Hibbs about things.