Retailer Tim Davis of Alternate Reality in Chicago, Illinois was prompted by our article on an Ohio retailer now splitting Marvel business between Diamond and Ingram (see 'Ingram Fast Enough on Marvels for Comic Stores?') to send us this earlier letter he sent to Comics & Games Retailer on his experience with Ingram.

Something odd has been happening recently with two of my distributors and Marvel's street dates and I wanted to throw it out for some feedback.


I've been a Diamond account since they gobbled up Capital City back in the bloody nineties.  I've also had an account with Ingram Periodicals for the last three years.  I opened an Ingram account because they had a wide selection of RETURNABLE magazines.  Many of the titles they carry parallel Diamond's selection and while their discounts on these mag's is a few percent less than Diamond's and at the end of the month I can strip cover return the unused portion and pay only for what I actually sell.  Late last year Ingram's sent through a sell sheet with a list of the more popular mainstream Marvel titles on them.  So I put down some monthly pull numbers (about 20% of my average Diamond totals) and figured I'd use these returnable 'Ingram's NEWSTAND Marvels' as a hedge when/if I sell out of my 'Diamond DIRECT EDITION Marvels'.  Since these issues were intended to be supplemental to my main order I didn't mind if they showed up a few weeks late.  As we all know one of the reasons we are in the DIRECT MARKET is because our street dates are a couple of weeks ahead of the NEWSTAND editions.  In fact I was always under the impression that these earlier street dates, along with a higher discount and Diamond's commitment to the collector market, are the only reasons we aren't all buying returnable NEWSTAND comics.  Or so I thought.


As we all know 'New Comic Day' is Wednesday, while (as I'm sure you don't know) I receive my Ingram's shipment on Friday's (UPS permitting).  I've been getting 'Ingram's NEWSTAND Marvels' now for about a month and a half and almost every shipment I've received from them on Friday has had exactly the same Marvel titles that I received from Diamond on Wednesday.  In other words, NEWSTAND EDITIONS and DIRECT EDITIONS of Marvels are shipping ON THE SAME WEEK!!!  HUNH?!  Now I'll be the first to admit I don't keep up on all the industry news like I should, but when the hell did we lose our street date advantage over Newsstands?!  For the record, on Friday 3/15/02 Ingram's sent me:


CABLE #103
X-FORCE #125


All of which Diamond sent through on Wednesday 3/13/02.  Like I said this has been going on for weeks.  Is this just a fluke?  Is it just Ingram's Periodicals that are shipping out Marvels the same week as Diamond?  Does this mean everyone from Borders Books through the corner '7-11' are getting Marvels at essentially the same time I am?  Is the evil and nefarious Marvel Uber-lord Bill Jemas behind all this or is DC in on it as well (I'm currently not down for any 'Ingram's DC's').  And of course the big question is: Why the hell don't I just order enough Marvels from Diamond to get me through to Friday of that week?


A lot of questions but one thing I am sure of is we are getting SCREWED somewhere along the line by somebody.