In a note to his fellow retailers giving them Diamond codes for this year’s Eisner nominees, Brian Hibbs made a rather interesting discovery: Diamond has only 59% of the 101 individual SKUs in stock. Meanwhile, Baker & Taylor, the world’s biggest book distributor, has 83% of them in stock.
Hibbs points out the irony of the biggest comics distributor having fewer books in stock than a generalist mega-distributor. What he doesn’t mention is that a lot of the nominees are from traditional book publishers, and the direct sales market traditionally has a very hard time getting and keeping those books in stock.
A lot of comics shops that deal in mainstream reader materials have taken to using B&T for just that reason. As far as we’ve seen, Diamond has always been fairly open and honest about this: if you have to go somewhere else you can.