The Los Angeles Times wrote about how retailers are coping during the Coronavirus crisis, when shipments of new comics have been delayed, and on the subject of how they buy inventory, it says:
These comic book retailers are in a unique situation because they operate in the direct market, where each store has to decide how many issues of each comic it believes it can sell and pay upfront for this inventory, and those orders are generally non-refundable. The cutoff for the orders is usually months in advance of the on-sale date. […]
A number of comic book publishers including Image Comics and Boom! Studios have been vocal about ways to safely support retailers and have begun to announce new measures — such as making more products returnable.
This is something that should’ve been made possible years ago. And if the companies cited implement the measures now, they’ll have to make sure it remains that way, long after the coronavirus crisis is past. I notice the article doesn’t actually say Marvel and DC are among the publishers setting up the measures the smaller ones are. If they don’t follow Image and Boom’s example, they’re only perpetuating a bad perception as corrupt and disrespectful of the retailers they’ve particularly ripped off in the past 20 years with worthless products. That has to change, but I doubt they’ll ever make a convincing effort.
In addition to making all of its new products released through June 24 returnable, BOOM! Studios is also encouraging people to continue supporting their local comic shops that have adopted new services in order to safely serve their customers.
Calling for support of the stores is fine, but if an individual product is of poor quality, we can’t support that. For now, BOOM! does deserve some credit for setting a good example. But if the products are to be returnable now, they should always be returnable long after this. Something this paper may report, but doesn’t actually opine, is necessary to maintain a good business just like an ordinary book store.
Originally published here.