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Has Diamond finally gone too far?, UPDATED 8-10-11
Decapitated_Dan
post Jul 1 2011, 08:16 AM
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My comic guy emailed out this message yesterday. IMO Diamond has gone way to far. This is his business we are talking about

We have had our biggest issue with Diamond yet. When we received our shipment this past Tuesday 6/28/11, there was an entire box of product missing. This box contained over half of the items that we were invoiced for. Upon speaking to Diamond about the issue, they donít care, itís of no concern to them. Despite the fact that we spend $60,000 yearly with them, their response was that they wanted to close our account. They said that all the damages that we have received, and reported and now with this lost box of product, that it is not justifiable to them to keep the account going. We have spoken to our service rep about the situation, and he is trying to locate the package, or the contents. We were already charged for the product that was in the box and it was reported to our service rep as shorted. We are not sure as to the status of our account at the moment, only that they have expressed the need of Diamond to close it because it is costing them too much money to keep it open. Due to the holiday on Monday, July 4, 2011, all of the offices in Diamond and UPS will be closed. With today being Thursday already, I will not find out something till next week, either about the lost package, or the status of the account. I will keep you all posted. If Diamond closes the account like they want to do, the main thing that is going to affect is our subscriber base, we will no longer be able to provide our subscribers with current books because we will no longer have access to them. We will continue to be open on comic collector live as long as we can, to continue providing our services as long as people continue to use them.

This post has been edited by Decapitated_Dan: Aug 10 2011, 02:47 PM


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Greg G.
post Jul 1 2011, 08:33 AM
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It's a good thing comics are kids stuff and we don't have to worry about monopolies, unreliable distribution, and anti-competitive practices. Right? </sarcasm>

Diamond is one of the major reasons I'd like to see digital comics take off. If it can work for Penny Arcade and other comic strips, there's absolutely NO REASON (other than vanity) that an up and coming creator shouldn't be producing their content for the web / consumption on tablet devices. Sell merchandise on the side and when the time comes print up vanity copies in a nice big trade paperback and sell it to the fan base you've established.

Again, look at Penny Arcade and other wildly popular online comics. It is the business model to follow, it will cost you the creator less money, and over all less financial burden / risk involved on the start up.


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Fred Lang
post Jul 1 2011, 10:33 AM
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Dan, that's just horrible. Fingers crossed for you big time. I can't imagine the feeling of having your sole distributor tell you it's not worth sending you product anymore! Ugh....horrible.


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Cary
post Jul 1 2011, 12:59 PM
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Sadly, I am not surprised. Diamond can do what it wants, since it's the only real game in town. I too am looking forward to digital crushing the print industry, but mostly because that will be a swift kick in the balls for Diamond.


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Ron Fortier
post Jul 1 2011, 01:05 PM
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When Diamond was born all those years ago, I predicted (like lots of my colleagues at the time) that one day the tail would wag the dog. Welcome to that day.
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SapphireGypsy
post Jul 1 2011, 04:54 PM
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That's horrible. sad.gif I kind of hope digital goes avaliable same day... I know Andy's said that if he could get his subscriptions delivered to the ipad every wednesday, he'd got to that and only buy copies of things he really wanted to keep.

I hope they find their merchandise.... Diamond telling them basically "You're too much trouble. Time for you to go out of business." is pretty shitty.


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G-Man
post Jul 1 2011, 09:26 PM
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I know for a fact this happens all the time....spent over a year behind the counter at our local store and not a month went by without something happening of this nature. It still happens.

No love loss for Diamond....they are scum.


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cougar18
post Jul 2 2011, 01:12 PM
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Nothing to add, 'cept I agree with G-man.

Shock is my reaction.
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tbrotomo
post Jul 3 2011, 10:22 AM
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This is a terrible story, and this is a great case study as to why monopolies are horrible things. Anywhere you have a monopoly in the chain, be it supplier, labor, whatever, it ends up screwing someone. There's not that many retailers left, it's unbelievable that they'd treat someone like that.


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Gordon_D
post Jul 3 2011, 02:13 PM
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Sounds like I need to call some legbreakers, er, I mean, "associates" to handle this....smile.gif

All kidding aside, I can see now why people who advocate digital comics are increasing in number - being able to get the work directly from the publisher without handling floppies, and having them DRM-free, I think would be a benefit to both the industry (removes some production costs), dealers (who could possibly earn an affiliate commission), and readers.

Now, if only Kindle would put out software that could work on PCs and laptops - I have it on my Android phone, and reading public domain texts is much easier. Although Kindle's available for Android, I have no funds for an Android tablet. (Although if a fan of Zone 4 and/or TV Party wants to give me one as a gift, well....I won't stop them wink.gif)


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G-Man
post Jul 3 2011, 04:03 PM
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Not to rain on the happy go lucky digital comic parade...but I don't buy into this yet either. And don't know if I ever will. I know a few people "attempting" to go this route including my own brother....and if you're into getting "whatever" is available with no real consistent order...meaning stories that are sometimes months behind what is available on the newstand....fire that Ipad up and have at it.

Personally it appears both methods of delivery are very flawed.

Still....I will do the Dance Of Joy the day the Diamond no longer exist....even if digital comics becomes the "new" monopoly with the attitude of "you get whatever we send you"



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Gonzogoose
post Jul 3 2011, 04:40 PM
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Bill, if DC's initiative in September works, I see more and more publishers going day and date in the near future to be quite honest.


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Fred Lang
post Jul 3 2011, 05:35 PM
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QUOTE (Gonzogoose @ Jul 3 2011, 03:40 PM) *
Bill, if DC's initiative in September works, I see more and more publishers going day and date in the near future to be quite honest.


I'm dearly hoping that DC's "same day as print for EVERYTHING" initiative forces the issue, causing the other studios to fall in line.

I'll say that my spending on comics has dramatically increased since going all digital on the iPad. Too much good stuff I'd have never otherwise seen, and it's just a tap tap away. Awesome.

None of this digital stuff helps Dan out much, though--I'm still interested in what happens on the 5th, after the holiday--what's going to happen between him and Diamond? Still fingers crossed that all goes well...


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G-Man
post Jul 3 2011, 06:55 PM
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All and all....I'm very close to just no longer collecting comics. As a matter of fact if my LCS wasn't 4 minutes away I would have already quit. There was a time I drove 45 minutes every Thursday evening to get my books....those days are long gone.

I wouldn't drive more than ten minutes to pick up comics now...they just don't entertain me that much any more....even with Scott's shop less than five minutes from my front door....I'm just there every two weeks now....sometimes just once a month.


I have never felt this disconnected from comics before...even through the 90's when most books were considered just terrible. Even in the late 80's when I was still married to my first wife and wasn't "allowed" to spend money on comics I was still taking the time to read whatever I could on the stands and"sneaking" a book home every once and a while if I really liked it.

IF comics ever phase out printed books.....or if anything ever happens to Scott's store....I'm calling it quits.

(Wow-this was my 4,000th post. Don't make as many as I used but I still think that's pretty cool....on to 5,000....)

This post has been edited by G-Man: Jul 3 2011, 06:57 PM


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Gordon_D
post Jul 3 2011, 07:35 PM
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First, let me just say that I'm at a similar place to you in terms of Marvel/DC/Image comics - I'm a little less than entertained by them. I hope this post does not come across as patronizing or condescending, and if it does, my apologies in advance.

I honestly don't think that the age of digital comics automatically means the end of "floppies". Unlike several of my CR contributors, I think there's always going to be a place for good old fashioned paper comics, much as CDs are still being sold in the age of MP3 and libraries are still around in the age of Border's. In fact, I think that floppies will be even more important, if only because not everyone has the resources to get an iPad.

(And before several of you counter with assertions that I'm being a little too hopeful and unrealistic, let me remind you - I've done a lot of offline work in community development. I also volunteer with a group that deals somewhat with digital access issues in underserved communities. At the risk of being pretentious, I know better. Everyone is not equal when it comes to tech, sad to say).

The good news (I believe) is that this is a great opportunity for creators to develop their own means of delivery - perhaps it's digital delivery with print-on-demand type services for brick and mortar stores. It may be that other companies that are too small and less entrenched than the DC/Marvel/Diamond clustermess will be able to be much more wily and creative in providing books to the direct market. (To reuse the music analogy - the major labels are dying off simply because musicians are not only more savvy about marketing themselves online, but more importantly, boutique/smaller labels can rerelease music that might not sell as much - to spoil part of the next Zone 4 episode, it's less about mass markets and more about niche markets).

I'm also a little disgusted in terms of the behavior in others, as reaction moves to either one of two extremes: the "everything-mainstream-is-cool-let's-embrace-it" over the top cheerleading, and the hipper-than-thou "we-mock-and-are-ashamed-of-nerds" contingent. (If you follow Twitter, I think you can guess who I'm talking about). It's becoming harder for me to simply enjoy comics when everything is driven less by the work and more by events, by hype, or by the cult of personality. Thankfully, there's enough good stuff out there, and at least one comics site with integrity (big hint: It has the words "Comic" and "Related" in the title biggrin.gif ) that I feel that I can stay on a little longer, and at the very least, channel my inner Patrick McGoohan, and proclaim that I will not be push, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered by the comics industry or small segments of its fandom.

(Oh, boy, I went off on a rant, didn't I? smile.gif)


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Decapitated_Dan
post Jul 4 2011, 07:55 AM
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I'll just do a quick update on the situation here:

So he talked to Diamond on Friday. They said that they were still willing to deal with him on a tight leash. SO he basically said no to them and that the ends did not justify the means. It's not worth the added hassle to deal with them if this is what they are willing to do to customers who have been with them for years and years. So now he is talking to Haven to possibly set something up.


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ChadStrohl
post Jul 4 2011, 08:56 AM
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It's always worse for those at the beginning of a revolution. The casualties are high and not everyone will survive to see the changes to come. Diamond has shown some hubris on more than one occassion, but they do so because of all the others that are still empatriated to their way of doing things. Perhaps in time that balance will swing and things will have no choice but to change.

DC has already (possibly) felt the winds of change and is making an effort to change the way they produce content. We are the customers. We do have a voice. We vote with our wallets. There are other ways to get content around Diamond's stranglehold, but that will mean also bypassing the comic shops, and those places will fall as well. Casualties. Change, if it is to be, will not come until enough people feel the pinch. We, as customers, have been pinched for quite some time.


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Peter Simeti
post Jul 4 2011, 06:49 PM
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wow Dan that reaaally sucks. very sorry to hear that :/


i think the overall sad part in the "diamond sucks" conversation is the fact that SOOOO damn many retailers AND comic buyers won't buy books if they aren't distributed by Diamond. AND even that isn't a guarantee as there are hundreds of titles a year that get canceled out by Diamond because pre-orders were so so low. Diamond isn't really in it for the "love' of comics or supporting up and comers or even someone that has a lifelong dream to get their book into a comic shop regardless if it makes a dime - and I think that's just very apparent and should be well understood by the entire comics community. It just is what it is.

As an indie publisher for like 5 years or so - I'm still frustrated to this day though with the amount of retailers (a lot, but definitely not all) that stubbornly refuse to carry our books unless Diamond carries them. Even if it means we give them a bigger discount, free shipping, and a guaranteed mint-on-arrival condition of the book. If it doesn't have the Diamond stamp of approval on it, they just won't touch it. It's also frustrating to then hear those same retailers bitch about Diamond. There's also a ton of retailers that have blown us off from owing us money on books sold - without so much as returning the books we've sent or giving us payment. Diamond's callous reactions to your comic shop might end up resulting in the fact that so many shops are playing the system, playing publishers, and playing Diamond. It's wrong to clump a good customer in with the bad ones though - and with that, Diamond deserves a ton of crap for it.

I truly hope your shop manages to work something out with this situation because unfortunately it's one of the only games in town - especially when it comes to the Big 2(or 3 or 4 or 5 or whatever the hell it is nowadays).


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cougar18
post Jul 4 2011, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE (Peter Simeti @ Jul 4 2011, 07:49 PM) *
wow Dan that reaaally sucks. very sorry to hear that :/


i think the overall sad part in the "diamond sucks" conversation is the fact that SOOOO damn many retailers AND comic buyers won't buy books if they aren't distributed by Diamond. AND even that isn't a guarantee as there are hundreds of titles a year that get canceled out by Diamond because pre-orders were so so low. Diamond isn't really in it for the "love' of comics or supporting up and comers or even someone that has a lifelong dream to get their book into a comic shop regardless if it makes a dime - and I think that's just very apparent and should be well understood by the entire comics community. It just is what it is.

As an indie publisher for like 5 years or so - I'm still frustrated to this day though with the amount of retailers (a lot, but definitely not all) that stubbornly refuse to carry our books unless Diamond carries them. Even if it means we give them a bigger discount, free shipping, and a guaranteed mint-on-arrival condition of the book. If it doesn't have the Diamond stamp of approval on it, they just won't touch it. It's also frustrating to then hear those same retailers bitch about Diamond. There's also a ton of retailers that have blown us off from owing us money on books sold - without so much as returning the books we've sent or giving us payment. Diamond's callous reactions to your comic shop might end up resulting in the fact that so many shops are playing the system, playing publishers, and playing Diamond. It's wrong to clump a good customer in with the bad ones though - and with that, Diamond deserves a ton of crap for it.

I truly hope your shop manages to work something out with this situation because unfortunately it's one of the only games in town - especially when it comes to the Big 2(or 3 or 4 or 5 or whatever the hell it is nowadays).


@Gordon D Or the traditional LP. The CD was supposed to take over from the Cassette, and the Cassette was supposed to take over from the LP. Yet people still buy LP's. A different experience to CD's and others, yet people still buy them. There is something to be said, also, about having a collection of LP's on your shelf, versus a collection of CD's. For some reason, it is more aesthetically pleasing. I mean, I know it comes down to the collectors who buy these LP's, versus the average consumer who wants a disposable form of music, but there will always be those who buy the better for them option.
Look at the kindle. Does anyone think that this will bring about the end of printed books? Sincerely doubt it. I imagine there will be benefits to having the Kindle, for school/ college and so on, where a bag full of books weighs a ton, versus one kindle/iPad.

@ Peter. I think it is a very good thing that we are able to say 'How many comic book companies are there now?' versus saying 'the three comic book companies who publish monthly.' Shows a healthy industry, versus an unhealthy one. So I am happy. Try to be optimistic about the industry. One has to be, since it is an industry I am very fond of.
The sad thing is that they all go through Diamond, or at least the majority do.

The saddest thing, I see, nowadays, is that alot of people don't read anymore. They believe the TV gives them all the information they need, and that is just wrong. They are missing a wealth of information by not reading. I know someone who is 26 yrs old, nearly 27, and he will not read any book without pictures. Nothing.
And while I read comic books, I also read books, and the news. Gotta, because otherwise I would go crazy.
Or should that be crazier. wink.gif

This post has been edited by cougar18: Jul 4 2011, 07:29 PM
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Peter Simeti
post Jul 4 2011, 07:53 PM
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healthy industry? wow. haven't heard that one in a while. i get what you're trying to say but let's be honest - it's an extremely anemic industry. comic books as far as the Big 2 go - and believe it they still are the Big 2 because they own the vast vast majority of market share - are just a means to an end. It's almost like a tradition at this point that panders to a small niche crowd and even then it hardly panders as much as it runs through the ringer time and time again. Month after month the comic book industry grows slightly weaker in terms of making true comic readers. The properties, characters, merchandise, and more are definitely strong and that's where the money is. Comics are a loss leader to those 2 companies. Characters are properties now - not creations that have respected histories. To think otherwise is just naive at this point. I'm not being cynical here, I'm just stating the way the industry has been run for quite some time now (at least the past decade or slightly more).

It's not to say that a successful company - even an extremely successful one - cannot be sincere. But these companies have gone down the wrong path far too many times, so it's no wonder that Diamond can do the same thing. In the end, Diamond is way more of a business/corporation than either Marvel or DC.

So as far as a healthy industry goes... I just can't buy into that notion. That'd be like saying someone on life support is healthy.


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