In a dramatic move that transforms the landscape for comic stores, DC Comics has announced that its comics and graphic novels will no longer be distributed to independent retailers by Diamond Comic Distributors. The change will take effect with any titles that have not already hit Final Order Cut-Off with Diamond.
In a message to retailers today, DC explained its decision. “DC has been analyzing its Direct Market distribution for some time, long before COVID, specifically in light of sustained stagnant market growth,” the message said. “The timing of the decision to move on from Diamond was ultimately dictated by the fact that DC's contract with Diamond has expired, but incidentally, the disruption by COVID to the market has required DC to forge ahead with its larger growth strategies that will benefit both the Direct Market and DC.”
Distribution of DC periodicals and graphic novels to comic stores will now be handled by the two new distributors DC opened in April, UCS Comic Distributors and Lunar Distribution, operated by large ecommerce retailers Midtown Comics and Discount Comic Book Service, respectively (see “DC To Resume Releasing New Comics April 28”). Distribution of graphic novels will also be handled by DC’s book channel distributor, Penguin Random House Publisher Services.
DC emphasized that a change in distribution has been under consideration for a long time. “[W]e 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.”
Diamond owner Steve Geppi said as much in his interview with ICv2, in which he revealed that in its most recent contract, DC had a 60-day out that allowed it to begin selling to other distributors (see “ICv2 Interview: GFE CEO Steve Geppi, Part 2”).
DC thanked Geppi and Diamond for their decades-long relationship. “We want to thank Steve Geppi and the great people at Diamond for all the years of service.”