Marvel Comics is the first of the Big Two comic publishers to make a move to support comic stores, cutting wholesale prices to retailers served by Diamond Comic Distributors by an average of 18% of retail.  The move takes the minimum discount to comic stores up to 65% off retail, and the maximum discount to 75% off retail for comics that have gone on sale beginning March 18 and continuing through books going on sale April 8; this is four weeks of comics and graphic novels.  This begins the program with the books shipped last week and continues for another three weeks.

The discount changes are being made "…to help alleviate cash flow pressures and give you the flexibility to sell your product in response to customer demand as needed."

Marvel has always preferred discount to returnability as a tool in its relationships with Direct Market retailers, so this move is true to form.  The company made several other announcements on Friday.

Retailers will not lose discount due to sales lost to the coronavirus epidemic, as Marvel and Diamond will maintain retailers’ normal discount tiers regardless of any decreases in order levels.

Marvel will "amplify and create awareness" of comic stores’ efforts to continue getting consumers their comics through curbside pick-up, pull lists, deliveries and other shipping options.

Marvel plans to continue to ship comics "on a weekly schedule as normal to equip your stores and your businesses with new product to sell."

Other steps by publishers and Diamond in the past week include promises of returnability from Image and Dynamite, and Diamond allowing early sales to beat lockdown orders (see "Image, Dynamite Taking Returns, Diamond Allowing Early Sales"); and a reduction in titles shipping from Image and product delays from Aftershock (see "Image Expands Support Measures, Aftershock Delays Releases").

Former DC Publisher Paul Levitz penned a column for ICv2 last Monday suggesting returnabilty, additional discounts, and extended credit terms by publishers to support comic stores (see "Suggestions for Comic Publishers and Retailers on the Coronavirus Epidemic").