Last week comic fans and stores were hit with a huge blow thanks to the coronavirus pandemic when Diamond Comic Distributors announced that they will no longer receive shipments of new comics at its warehouses due to the ongoing pandemic, a move that means product dated on or after April 1st will not be shipped. Now, ComicBook.com reports that DC will be going forward with releasing a limited selection of new DC comics digitally on Wednesday, April 1st.
Full details of what DC will release digitally tomorrow were not available, but what is known is that at least some of the week’s planned new releases will be made available for customers on digital platforms.
Last Monday, Diamond Comic Distributors announced that they will no longer receive shipments of new comics at its warehouses. In an official statement Steve Geppi, chairman and CEO of Diamond’s parent company Geppi Family Enterprises, stated that the move was prompted from what they were hearing from retailers — specifically that due to stay at home orders put in place by various state and local governments, stores were no longer able to service customers in a business as usual manner. Additionally, Geppi cited the strain and challenges being experienced by supply chain and others due to the coronavirus pandemic as part of the decision to cease weekly distribution of new product at this time.
Bob Harris, DC Comics’ Editor in Chief sent out this note to comic freelancers:
On Saturday, DC released an official statement to their retailers and partners regarding the ongoing issues of distribution and returnability, indicating that they are looking at other distribution methods, something that could long run lead to the end of Diamond’s position in the industry and open up other avenues of sales and shipment.
First, the entire team here at DC hopes that you, your family and your employees are staying safe and healthy during this very tough and precarious time. We know that you have been waiting for DC to comment on the state-of-affairs and to address any measures we will take to help our community lighten the burden of the disruption to our business, and we’ve been working hard on a long-term, solution-focused plan. Here is how we will help:Periodicals and books with in-store dates between March 18, 2020 and June 24, 2020 will be fully returnable. We’ll even provide credit for your separate return shipping of these items only.
Additionally, because we anticipate that continued disruption to business operations will create regional volatility, DC is exploring a multi-distributor model to provide us with the flexibility needed during this crisis to get new content to our readers on an ongoing basis,” that statement reads. “In the short-term, we continue to engage in active conversations with Diamond to help us solve the distribution issues that have arisen and hope to get new product to stores that want or need it as soon as possible. We will provide additional information about how we’ll make that happen in the coming days.
Thanks for your patience with us. DC will continue to monitor the situation, continue to speak with you directly, and continue to support you through the days ahead. You are the lifeblood of this industry.
DC Comics also later added in a note to retailers:
Here’s where we are on digital. All our data shows the digital consumer and the physical consumer are two different audiences. For now, we’re going to continue to release digital comics, but will revisit this if the pipeline for physical distribution continues to be challenged and disrupted
No word on if the digital comics will be available for cheaper than the normal cover price of the print editions, or how this will alter their distribution model.