For those of you who don’t now, comic books will typically come to your local shop through a distributor called Diamond Comic
Distributors. Now there may be some smaller, independent titles that come right from that publisher, but at the end of the day, odds are the book you just bought came in a box marked Diamond Distribution. These are the people with their fingers firmly on the pulse of the comic book world, and it’s here at the top that there is the biggest opportunity to change.
Now I should start by saying that, at the core of what they do, Diamond Comic Distributors is doing a good job. The comics you go to your local shop to by arrive on time, in good condition, and the shop owners can continue their business (well, to an extent. See part 1 for more on that). But, in an age where a new comic book movie is coming out every few months and Saturday morning TV is flooded with characters that kids should be running down to their local shop to get more info on, why isn’t Diamond doing more to grow their business?
What Can A Distributor Do To Grow?
The very best example of this is anecdotal, but at least it’s first hand. It was some time ago, at C2E2 in Chicago I believe (great show by the way, get more info here if you’ve never been). I walked up to the Diamond booth, introduced myself to the first person there who acknowledged me, and mentioned that I was interested in setting up an account with them. Now, at this point most companies would have a few guys fighting over who gets to put their name down on the new signup sheet, since even if you don’t work on commission, you at least want to look good for your annual review. But, the guy I spoke to reached under a display, grabbed some sheets out of a box, and simply said “fill these out and mail them in”. He smiled and was polite about it, but then turned away, as our time for interaction was done.
I stopped back later, as quite honestly I was hoping for a bit of an expedited process (frankly I would have been ready to place my first order then and there if they had been able to sign me up), but the next person I talked to gave me roughly the same, this time adding that I could call or email them if I had any questions.
So What’s Wrong With Just Not Being Super Helpful
Look, this isn’t a horrible thing. These guys were not rude or arrogant or stand offish. They just weren’t willing to go that extra mile. And in a business that’s still somewhat recovering from almost dying off 10 years ago, that extra mile should no longer be considered “extra”. I lost count long ago of the number of comic shows I’ve worked, but big or small one thing I have never seen was a rep from Diamond going from booth to booth trying to sign people up. I certainly get approached enough by people asking “do you have new comics?” to know that the market at these shows is there.
This is an industry built on the backs of people who don’t really know much about business, but just love super heroes, so certain concessions have to be made. But the industry won’t grow itself. The organizations at the top, the ones who actually send out these comics that we rush out every week to buy, need to start being proactive instead of reactive. Diamond Comic Distributors not actively being bad right now, but just not being bad isn’t good enough. In fact, just being good isn’t good enough. It’s time to be great guys. It’s time to shine like the Diamond you’re named after.
For Part 1 Of This Series, Click Here