Diamond Comic Distributors has announced the details of its Day-Early Delivery Program, which will launch on Tuesday, January 11th, when comics will arrive at participating retailers’ establishments for sale on Wednesday, January 12th. Wednesday will remain the “street date” for new comic releases, and Diamond’s invoices will continue to carry a Wednesday date, even if the product is delivered to retailers on Tuesday.
Retailers have until October 25th to opt in to the program. After that date Diamond will charge an administrative fee of $50 for retailers to opt in or out of the program. New accounts will have up to 90 days to decide whether to take advantage of the program or not.
For retailers who decide to join the program, Diamond is charging a fee of $4 per week per account number (retailers with multiple locations who file just one Previews order form will be charged $4, while those who send in multiple order forms will be charged $4 per order form/account number). Diamond is using the $4 fee to pay for a “secret shopper” type of program to insure retailer compliance with the Wednesday street date for comics. Diamond plans to report all fees and expenses incurred by the program and its enforcement. After the first year any surpluses will be used to lower the cost of the program for the next year, or donated to promote Free Comic Book Day or the Comic Book Store Locator.
Diamond has announced penalties for retailers who put comics on sale early. Except for special "Midnight Release" events, comics are not to be sold by brick-and-mortar retailers or shipped by mail order or Internet operations before the start of normal business hours on Wednesday. A first offense will result in a one-month suspension of Day-Early Delivery (though the $4 charge will still be assessed during any suspension period). A second confirmed offense will lead to a 3-month suspension. A third offense will result in an indefinite suspension. Diamond will also levy similar penalties against retailers who make false accusations about other retailers participating in the program. All violations will be determined by Diamond at its sole discretion.
Day-Early Delivery will provide retailers with a buffer in case of bad weather and will allow Diamond to maintain the Wednesday street date during most holiday weeks (rather than going to Thursday delivery as is currently the case). On the typical week following a three-day holiday weekend, retailers will receive their books on Wednesday and will be able to sell them that day as well, which should strengthen the “Wednesday as new comics day” pattern. A substantial majority of retailers surveyed by Diamond approved of the concept of Day-Early Delivery (see “Diamond Announces Day-Early Delivery”).
Retailers interested in participating in the program can download an application at the Diamond Retailer-only Website.