Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diamonds in her hair.

So, this article by Checker publisher Mark Thompson about their split from Diamond Comics Distribution is really insightful. I've heard a lot about how Diamond will weather this storm but it has been from people who are dependent on them for new stock. It is interesting (and sad for the people involved with Diamond) that the landscape is really changing. Moving towards a less monopolistic approach.

I can of course throw in a little "told you so" when I hear about these sort of migrations (including Marvel Comics recently) but the truth is that bigger businesses become dependent on their distributors to make, break and support them. As Thomspon says,
"The results with these new distribution outlets once supplied has been immediate. Our shipping success went to 100% with them as opposed to a 40% success ratio with Diamond Comic Distributors over the previous two years."
Any small publisher could have told you that a decade ago but there is a need and safety in working with "the big boy". Of course this doesn't just apply to a monopoly like Diamond, it applies to any organization where there are so many people involved that it seems like they must have something right. And, of course, if you've ever worked for a big organization you realize exactly how paper thin that kind of stability is. Organizations are only as good as the some total of the people involved in running them. And, obviously, it is sad that when companies get so big and fail, they inevitably end up taking a bunch of people with them. And the reality of the situation is that big companies employ tons of great people whose jobs are also at stake.

If you are at all interested in the way comics get to you, Thompson's article exposes the flaws in the process quite well. Of course if you are interested in getting good comics, go to small distros and the artists themselves. The solution to panic is to stay focused and support the people you like. And if you want to be a comics retailer, I'm betting this book is out of date. Thanks to Tom Neely for forwarding this to me.


tom Neely said...

and thanks to Kate Moody for bringing that article to my attention.

aaron said...

i agree. i worked at a comic shop for three years, and during that time it was almost a weekly occurrence that we would have to call diamond about books missing or being damaged. we always joked that we wanted to work in the diamond warehouse, because there were no standards. while there were several great people at diamond that we talked to (mostly the people in charge of fixing the mistakes), i don't know many people who will be upset when diamond goes down.