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:
AMAZING SPIDERMAN #39
FANTASTIC FOUR #53
IRON MAN #52
X-TREME X-MEN #11
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.