L.E. Becker of WARP 9 in Clawson, Michigan is concerned about the Amazing Spider-Man #583 Obama variant (third printing) and Borders being able to sell it.

Borders.  I never really cared so much about them until today.  I mean, yeah, they were somewhat my competition, but they don't carry the amount of comics and graphic novels that we do, nor do they carry any of the collectibles associated with comics.  Most normal people in search of graphic novels generally go there because, believe it or not, they don't know that comic shops still exist (it's sad but true).  This was evident by the Watchmen trade.  We still sold ours, but Borders sold more because of the lack of knowledge or stigma of comic shops.  Didn't really bother me too much anyway.  Out of sight, out of mind was usually my general rule with them.  Until today that is.

My employee got a phone call asking us to cancel her order on the third print Obama Amazing Spider-Man #583 because "Borders is receiving it today (Tuesday, 2/27), and I'd rather get it there as it is closer."  What?  A quick phone call to the area Borders and I found out that the book WILL in fact be there, but not until later this week (apparently, an over-anxious employee told their customers that it was, in fact, there).  But it still brings up an interesting point... Why does Borders have access to this book?  Isn't this book (albeit a third printing) a direct market variant?

Not so fast true believer (oxymoron)... because Borders goes through Diamond's SISTER company Diamond Book Distributors.  Apparently, Diamond is able to sell copies of this comic to Borders due to some kind of "special arrangement." Of course, this might not stop with Borders, as Diamond Books has accounts with Amazon.com, Walmart, and others (hey...it's right on their Web-site).  Well, gosh... that seems totally fair.

So we, the Direct Market that orders what is presumably a direct market comic on a non-returnable basis from Diamond Comics Distributors, get shafted by the larger stores who order from Diamond Book Distributors, who pretty much get to return whatever they don't sell.

Hey, if Borders and whoever else wants to get into the comic retailing business, let them... but keep it the "fair playing field" that Diamond, Marvel, et al., want you to believe that it is.

The opinions expressed in this Talk Back article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.