DC Comics has officially ended their distribution deal with Diamond Comic Distributors.
The move comes after the publisher started distributing books through Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors back on April 28. Although DC announced that Diamond would still be part of the distribution model, at the time Diamond was still shut down due to the pandemic lockdown. Diamond had announced plans to re-open operations in May — using the #BackTheComeback hashtag — but DC maintained their deals with Lunar and UCS.
The new distribution model was criticized by some local comic shop owners, who argued that the connections Lunar and UCS have with Discount Comic Book Services and Midtown Comics, respectively. Both outfits already had distribution operations in place in connection with their mail-order services.
A DC spokesperson issued this statement to SciFi4Me: “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.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the news came in an e-mail to retailers on Friday, June 5.
[UPDATED]: Here’s the full text of the e-mail that went to Direct Market retail shops.
Dear DC Direct Market Retailer,
First and foremost, we hope this finds you safe and well especially during what has been an incredibly challenging year. We are writing today to share with you that DC’s long-standing relationship with Diamond Comic Distributors is coming to a close effective following Diamond’s distribution of product offered on DC’s FOC list of June 1st. We want to thank Steve Geppi and the great people at Diamond for all the years of service.
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.
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.
Moving forward, we will continue our distribution relationship with Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors for distribution of periodicals and graphic novels, and Penguin Random House for distribution of graphic novels, worldwide.
We believe this new distribution system will bring you world class service using top of the line and modern systems that will provide you the most efficient operational supply chain. DC will continue to look for ways, together with our new partners, to better serve you and the fans to the best of our ability. We remain committed to the Direct Market and look forward to partnering with you to grow your business and to get the best comic books and graphic novels to the fans in the most efficient and seamless manner.
We also now have a copy of the response from Steve Geppi at Diamond:
Diamond Response to DC Comics Announcement
This evening, I shared the following message with all the members of our Geppi Family Enterprises teams. I also wanted to share it with you, our many industry partners.
Today, DC sent out a retailer communication indicating they are ending their long-standing relationship with Diamond. In April, we were informed that DC was going to begin distributing products through additional partners. At that time, they asked us to submit a proposal for a revised agreement with the understanding that Diamond would continue to be one of their distributors. Which we promptly did. They then requested an extension to June 30 which we also accommodated. Last week, DC requested an additional extension through July. We responded with questions and DC indicated they would reply today, June 5. Instead of receiving a response, today we received a termination notice. While we had anticipated this as a possible outcome, we, like so many others in the industry, are disappointed by their decision to end our partnership so abruptly at this time.
Although we had hoped to reach an agreement with DC, every great change also presents great opportunity! Rest assured, Diamond is a strong company and our success does not depend on the actions of one business partner. While we recognize this change impacts the industry, we are well-positioned to seize growth opportunities and are committed to the success of our publishing partners, the Direct Market and our industry as a whole.
We continue to be excited about the growth potential in the comic, game and toy industries as well as growth opportunities for our other Geppi Family Enterprises companies. I truly believe that our comeback will be bigger than our setback and our best days are ahead.
Thank you for you continued support and for all you do.
Chairman, Geppi Family Enterprises
Founder, Diamond Comic Distributors
DC and Diamond have had an exclusive distribution deal for the past twenty-five years. Diamond will fulfill orders up through the June 1st Final Order Cut-Off. DC plans to suspend the June 8 FCO, making those books available through the June 15 FCO to facilitate the transition.