SDCC 12: Diamond offers incentives for new stores

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Realizing that getting new stores out there is crucial to growing the comics business. Diamond has announced a couple of new programs to help get new stores up and running by softening the financial blow of assembling opening inventory. New business director Chris Powell announced these at todays Diamond retailer lunch. One program is allows stores to order two month’s worth of books and make returns before being charged. The other is a bigger deeper discount.

Details via pr:


As part of its ongoing efforts to grow the comic book specialty market, Diamond Comic Distributors today announced a new initiative with leading suppliers to encourage existing retailers to open new locations and/or relocate their current stores to larger, higher traffic locations.

BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment, Diamond Select Toys, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Image Comics and Marvel Comics have all signed on to provide incentives to qualifying retailers.
“Promising retail sales for comic book stores in 2011 and 2012 have encouraged a growing number of retailers to expand into larger stores or to open new ones,” said Diamond Executive Director of Business Development Chris Powell. “Together with our leading publishers and suppliers, we’re excited to announce a program that will allow these retailers to expand with confidence and, by doing so, continue to strengthen the entire comic book industry.”

Programs initially offered to qualifying retailers vary by supplier, but will include:

•​Increased discounts of up to 69% off orders of backlist products from Diamond and participating publishers and manufacturers;
•​Backlist consignment programs, allowing retailers to fully stock their stores with graphic novels, trade paperbacks and other pop-culture merchandise with extended payment terms and the ability to adjust stock levels after 6 months;
•​Increased discounts and/or consignment billing on a new store’s initial orders of comics for its first two months of operation, with consignment billing deferred until retailers have the opportunity to return overstocked product after keeping it on sale for a period of 6-12 weeks; and
•​Store Starter Kits, offering selections of free trade paperbacks and graphic novels from participating publishers that showcase the vast breadth and depth of comic stories that retailers can use to attract any audience into their stores.

Under the new programs, Diamond will continue to provide professional advice and in-depth instruction on Diamond’s systems from Powell and a team of Diamond personnel.

Expressing views held by many in the industry, DC Entertainment SVP-Sales & Marketing Bob Wayne said: “The weekly experience that the comic book specialty market provides for our fans is extremely important to all of DC Entertainment. We’re excited about this opportunity to work with our retail partners to expand the size of the market, in cooperation with Diamond and our fellow publishers.”

According to Powell, most retailers opening new locations of existing businesses must invest a significant portion of their cash-flow to fleshing out their backlist inventory and preordering monthly comics based on projected sales.

“With this new initiative,” he said, “we will work with retailers to minimize these risks and outlays. This allows the retailer to stock the hottest graphic novels, trade paperbacks and other bestselling merchandise from day one, which lets them make a great first impression on new customers. It also gives them more flexibility in their budgets for marketing their new store so that they can continue attracting customers and generating sales.”

Existing retailers who wish to learn more about the program should contact their Diamond Customer Service Representative for more information.

Comments

  1. So what stops a store-doing-not-so-well from closing shop and then opening a new company in order to take advantage of these benefits?

  2. Rob J. says:

    These deals are a good start, but they aren’t really going to go all that far to help retailers out without full returnability of all new floppies. If you want to get more comics on the stands, give retailers more incentive to keep floppies on the racks longer than closing time on Wednesday.

  3. Most of the offer concerns trades, which are much easier to handle as returns, as they can be recirculated back into the supply stream. Comic books have a short shelf life.

    One could offer returnability, but that’s what the newsstand offered in the 1970s, and it almost killed the comics industry.

    Who pays the cost of shipping the comics back?

    Can comics shops handle lower margins on returnable issues, since the publisher will have greater costs? Or maybe the publishers ship them newsstand copies, which cost an extra dollar to help finance the returns system. (See: Marvel)

    The smarter retailers won’t order for just one day (unless a series has meager sales, in which case that one sale on New Comic Day might be the only sale during that month). They order for a month, and then reorder each week if sales are unexpected.

  4. A store could close, but why?

    Why not just move to a slightly larger storefront (with cheaper rent), and use the incentives?

    Of course, Diamond will probably require certain paperwork from the “new” store, such as tax information, business licenses, bank accounts, contact information. If they find a match, they could deny the store the incentives.

  5. Hrm. Sounds intriguing.
    I had a shop several years back that I had to close thanks to the economy. I’m thisclose to trying again, and these seem like some very nice programs. They might even actually HELP! Gasp!
    As for the commenters so far, let me give a quick insiders’ view:

    Gianco: My past dealings with DCD showed that they were willing to work with me on stock and advice. Of course, this was in 2007 before the recent industry implosion, when they had far less incentive to help. If a shop is struggling, I doubt a shut-down and restart of the business will be required to qualify. YMMV, of course.

    Rob: My own rebooted shop will open in 2013. And, yes, full returnability would be nice. It also won’t happen with a Direct Market model. Some comics are available through newsstand distributors, if you can find a good one. I’ll likely be conservative with floppies in the new shop, with a blend of popular titles, high-quality titles, and event stuff, along with full availability for pullbox subscribers. I’m planning for most of my stock to be TPBs and collections, though, likely through Baker & Taylor or another traditional book distributor (for full returnability).

    Torsten Adair: Point-by-point:
    *It was not newsstands that nearly killed the industry in the 70s, it was a glut of product and a severe economic turndown that did it (thank you, Mr. Carter).
    *Return shipping is the responsibility of the shop. This is the way it works, and needs to be factored into your cost, though the cost of shipping is negligible compared to the value of the stock.
    *I would LOVE the option of lower margins for returnability. That means that my shop’s precious capital (cash) won’t be permanently sunk in a comic that didn’t sell. I’d rather get at least part of that money back so I can get another comic that will sell. This, BTW, is why comic dating is so wonky. Those extra months between release date and cover date helped retailers know which comics were stale (not selling).
    *True. Shops order for the month. Reordering helps keep the most popular titles available for sale, and less popular titles will sell out without restock. Which is fine. That’s what TPB collections are for.
    *”New” stores (as per Gianco) are still going to need DCD accounts linked to an OWNER. Namely, that owner’s SSN. Now, if a spouse or someone else wants to put themselves on that hook, then hey, follow your bliss. But if a shop is doing that, they’re REALLY rolling in the deep. For such owners, my best advice would be: get out now before you amass more debts…

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