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In a seismic shift for the comic book industry, DC has cut ties with Diamond Comic Distributors. The announcement was made via an email to retailers sent Friday morning, with the company telling customers that all orders for DC product will be fulfilled by Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors for periodical releases and Penguin Random House for graphic novels and collected editions.
An email sent to retailers explained, “We recognize that, to many of you, this may seem like a momentous decision. However, we 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.”
The message continued, “In the near term, Diamond will only be fulfilling orders placed through June 1 Final Order Cut-Off and will not solicit the sale of new DC titles further. To ensure a smooth transition for retailers, DC will suspend Final Order Cut-Off for June 8, making those books available to order on Final Order Cut-Off on June 15.”
A spokesperson from DC told The Hollywood Reporter, “After 25 years, DC and Diamond Comic Distributors are ending their long-standing relationship. Moving forward, comic book retailers can obtain their DC books from Penguin Random House, or their books and periodicals through Lunar or UCS comic book distributors. DC continues to be committed to providing the Direct Market with best in class service and the fans with the world’s greatest comic books.”
DC’s periodical product had, until earlier this year, been exclusively distributed by Diamond Comic Distributors, which holds a virtual monopoly on comic book distribution in the North American market. Following Diamond’s decision to close down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March, followed by Diamond announcing that it would withhold payment to publishers, citing cash flow problems, DC announced plans to find alternative distribution.
The company eventually settled on two newly created companies — Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors — to handle periodical distribution while Diamond was closed. All parties involved, including DC and Diamond, publicly stated that DC would continue to release product through Diamond when the latter resumed distribution in late May.
DC parting ways with Diamond means that the latter loses the second-biggest publisher in the North American market, responsible for roughly 30 percent of the entire market in 2019. It’s a significant blow to the distribution company as it re-opens after two months, especially with publishers across the board significantly pulling back on releases in the wake of coronavirus closures and furloughs of their own.
THR has reached out to Diamond for comment.
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