This move seems surprising or expected, depending on how you look at it. In a email sent to retailers, DC announced that they will no longer distribute their products through Diamond Comic Distributors. They had already backed off a little previously, now they are going all in.
The message was printed by The Hollywood Reporter and reads: “We recognize that, to many of you, this may seem like a momentous decision. However, we can assure you that this change in DC’s distribution plans has not been made lightly and follows a long period of thought and consideration. The change of direction is in line with DC’s overall strategic vision intended to improve the health of, and strengthen, the Direct Market as well as grow the number of fans who read comics worldwide.”
Here is the plan as it stands now. Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors will handle periodical releases and Penguin Random House will handle graphic novels and collected editions. Diamond will no longer solicit DC books after the final order cutoff date of June 1st. Any books with a final order cutoff date of June 8th will now have a FOC of June 15th.
This all seemed to start when Diamond ceased operations in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. DC was apparently happy with their alternative that they chose to seek out in splitting distribution. Does this now finally create competition in the comic book distribution game? For years, Diamond has pretty much had a monopoly. The key will be to see if any other publishers choose to follow suit. What this does give DC is options, should something not operate the way they want it to.
As for Diamond, the future was already uncertain. They obviously lost money during the shutdown, and now they’re losing about 30% of the total market. It might not seem like a lot, but one more loss could leave a significant impact. Only time will tell to see of this leads to any changes.
Photo Credit: DC Comics