Corona is having profound consequences across the nation, but one of the least talked about will be comic shops.
There’s already so few of them, and they’re struggling to pay rent in many cases. This quarantine was already responsible for at least one closure of a long time store in California, but news that even the remaining ones won’t get product from the sole distributor of Marvel/DC came yesterday.
“Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice. For the time being, however, we have been able to develop procedures with our teams at the distribution center in Olive Branch, MS to safely continue fulfillment of direct ship reorders for the retailers who are able to receive new product and need it to service their customers.”
This creates a precarious situation for those who were attempting to do curbside or delivery comics during the crisis, meaning shops won’t even be able to get new books — which make up the vast majority of their sales.
We’re going to see a complete collapse of the comic model. In some ways, this means Marvel/DC won’t be able to flood stands anymore and crowd out indies, but it’s a sad state for local businesses as well.
There’s not much that can be done about it. But the amount of specialty shops that will go under because of this will make Diamond and its current monopoly something which won’t be viable for much longer. The question has to be asked: how many shops need to be open to sustain these companies?
For better or worse, we’re going to start to see a big change in the comic industry. As I’ve been putting all of my books for kindle on Amazon, I’m prepared for this as an indie, but many aren’t. I’ve already heard from a few long-time professionals who are too old and ill-equipped to transition to a new market they consider their own careers to be over.
What do you think’s going to happen?
You can get my Clockwork Dancer #1 through amazon in print and Kindle editions, a great book no comic shops carried anyway, but became a #1 Bestseller regardless. Check it out here.