Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tuesday's Headlines | Inside DC's New Print Distribution Plan

DC has announced a revised shipping schedule for its upcoming print books, with two new distributors stepping up to facilitate it all. This comes after the near-exclusive Direct Market comics distributor Diamond suspended distribution in late March. And although Diamond has plans to resume distribution in mid- to late May, DC has set-up new distribution deals with two mail-order comic stores that are delving into B2B comics distribution.

"To assist with the immediate distribution of DC titles during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we've secured the assistance of two distributors to help facilitate orders of and shipping of our revised publishing schedule," DC told retailers in an email Friday afternoon. "Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors have agreed to work with us to distribute these new comics."

Sources have confirmed that Lunar and UCS are in fact newly-created sister companies to long-time mail-order comics giants Discount Comic Book Service (DCBS) and Midtown Comics, respectively. These two retailers are among the biggest Direct Market comic sellers, and Midtown has for years handled DC's subscription sales.

So What The Plan?

DC have canceled all orders for titles solicited for April 1 - 15 release, with retailers told to re-submit your orders for upcoming DC titles through Diamond, Lunar, or UCS.

"To that end, instead of simply 'lifting and shifting' the same scheduled titles for each of the missed in-store dates, we've made changes to the publishing schedule," DC explained in the letter to retailers. "The new schedule is designed to allow each of you to begin ordering a limited amount of DC product at first, and then ease back into the number of books that represents a normal release schedule from DC when your business can accommodate it."

As part of this, DC is also changing 'New Comic Book Day' for their titles at least, from Wednesday to Tuesday. The reason given is to "synced up release dates across all our retail channels."

DC is encouraging retailers to choose their distributor based on their location, in order for prompt receival of comic books. At this time, DC says they cannot guarantee on-time distribution outside of the United States. The distribution map is generally splitting North America to "East" and "West" sections.

Lunar is talking the lead on distribution to comic retailers based in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. They are also handling distribution to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

USC is taking point on distribution to stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, West Virgina, and the District of Columbia. The Canadian provinces they're taking point on are New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. For retailers outside those territories, they are encouraged to reach out to UCS, Lunar, or Diamond.

DC does reassure retailers they can continue with Diamond, with comics coming based on when Diamond is able to distribute them. Also, retailers' wholesale discount for DC titles ordered through Diamond will be carried over to UCS and Lunar. DC also confirms that collectibles will not be distributed by UCS or Lunar.
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