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Tuesday, March 24, 2020 

Diamond distribution stops operations amidst Corona crisis

Entertainment Weekly announces the main comics distribution company, Diamond, is halting their business during the Coronavirus crisis. The way the magazine speaks about this though, doesn't sound very thoughtful:
Big news for the world of comic books: Diamond Comics Distributors, the primary distributor of comic book product and the key player in the current "direct market" system, has announced it will no longer be accepting new issues of comics amid the coronavirus pandemic. [...]

Needless to say, this is a major development for the comics industry, and specifically comic retailers all over the country that already operate on thin margins. Since Diamond is the major player in the direct market system that distributes comics from publishers to stores, this news effectively means that there may not be new issues of comics in stores for the foreseeable future.
What do they mean "big", and "major"? A troubling and unfortunate situation would describe the situation better. A misfortune isn't something you describe in positive-sounding words, considering the current developments grind the industry to a standstill, complicating business procedures for publishers and specialty stores.

But, this does point to a serious problem that's permeated the industry for nearly a quarter century - they have only one main distributor, and almost no alternate businesses to distribute their wares, if at all. I'm sure that, if there were some more, they too would encounter problems at a time like this, but apart from the current crisis, maybe the industry wouldn't have fallen into such bad shape if Diamond hadn't become such an alarming monopoly.

If Diamond's main specialty is distributing pamphlets, and other businesses are comfortable distributing and delivering paperbacks/hardcovers, it's got to be one more reason why the time's come to make the shift to book format, and cease with the extra cost-carrying pamphlets. As I've argued before, serious changes have to be made for the better, and if there's other distributors out there willing to carry the considerably better formats, then that's what the industry should go for.

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the appears we don't believe in free speech after all

Many of the stores have temporarily closed their doors, so the orders have probably dropped through the floor. Some of the stores are offering delivery and curb-side pick-up even though they are not open to customers, but that level of sale will not be enough to justify the distributor keeping its employees on site in the midst of a health crisis.

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