Canadian Retailer Update – September, 2010

What is the biggest rumour/bit of news to come down the pipe regarding retailers? The main supplier/distributor of comics, Diamond Comic Distributors, surveyed retailers to gauge interest in Tuesday delivery. Recently, Bleeding Cool reported:

In December (2010) … comics deliveries will be staggered through the month, with a number of comics distributed a week in advance so as to avoid the Christmas skip week of last year. (T)hen, as of January 2011, the word is that all US/Canadian shops will get their comics on the Tuesday, for sale on Wednesday.

Why is this such an issue? Comic shops in Canada typically receive their comics on Wednesday mornings. Yet, as most people are aware, Wednesday is New Comic Day. So retailers are required to receive, sort, count and stock (as well as gather up pull lists) within a matter of hours. [note: the vast majority of stores, 99%, receive Wednesday delivery, while some stores receive Tuesday delivery. This is typically a result of grandfathered distribution deals that date back more than 15 years, to the days of multiple comic distributors.]

Diamond is investigating nationwide Tuesday delivery. While the books would not go on sale until Wednesday, that wouldn’t change, the benefit would be found in the ability of comic stores to properly prepare the inventory, the store and themselves for the sales the next day.

There has also been talk of a $5 service charge added to the bill each week. This money would go towards the hiring of a team who would police the street date of the books. In most other businesses, the magazines, video games, movie dvd’s they sell have a street date: the date that sales are allowed. Retailers are required to adhere to this street date, else they are penalized by the manufacturer/distributor. Diamond will implement the $5 charge as a way to pay for staffers to travel and monitor stores to ensure street date adherence. I don’t know how often other businesses violate street dates, but it seems that comic publishers and distributors don’t believe all comic shops intend to adhere to street dates. I have no real opinion on this likelihood, but I do know that comic retailers, as small business owners and not as club house directors, should be mature enough to follow the rules. It’s that basic. At the same time, a $5 weekly charge is not a lot to pay to ensure across the board fairness in meeting street dates. Further, anyone caught violating the street date should receive harsh penalties.

Here are the results of the recent Diamond survey, of which over 1000 retailers participated:


1. Do you think your business would benefit from receiving products a day early? My business would:

Benefit significantly

52.17%

Benefit modestly

23.82%

Not benefit

15.14%

I’m not sure

5.40%

It would hurt my business modestly

1.35%

It would hurt my business significantly

2.12%


2. Do you think the Direct Market would benefit from receiving products a day early? The Direct Market would:

Benefit significantly

44.65%

Benefit modestly

28.25%

Not benefit

13.50%

I’m not sure

11.38%

It would hurt my business modestly

0.96%

It would hurt my business significantly

1.25%


3. Under this proposal, retailers who elect to receive their shipments a day early would be charged a weekly fee – not to exceed $5 – to help fund 3rd party monitoring of compliance with the new comics on-sale date and associated Diamond costs. I feel that this fee would be:

Very reasonable

30.09%

Somewhat reasonable

38.28%

Not reasonable

26.52%

No opinion

5.11%


4. Retailers electing to receive their shipments a day early would be required to agree to hold their shipments for sale until 10:00 a.m. on new release day, and – if found in violation – agree to accept penalties ranging from suspension of day-early delivery privileges to complete revocation after three violations. I feel these penalties would be:

Very fair

70.49%

Somewhat fair

7.62%

Not severe enough

16.01%

Not sure

2.70%

No Opinion

3.18%


5. One motivation for moving new release date to Tuesday is to get comics in-sync with other entertainment media – such as books, DVDs, and video games – that release new titles on Tuesdays. Do you think your business would benefit from getting in sync with other media? My business would:

Benefit significantly

21.02%

Benefit modestly

22.47%

Not benefit

34.62%

I’m not sure

11.48%

It would hurt my business

10.41%


6. How do you believe the majority of your customers would respond to the proposed Tuesday release day? I believe my customers’ response would be:

Positive

37.42%

Negative

19.09%

Neutral

35.00%

Not sure

8.49%


7. If given the choice between Monday delivery for Tuesday on-sale, and Tuesday delivery for Wednesday on-sale, what would be your preference? I would prefer:

Monday for Tuesday

27.10%

Tuesday for Wednesday

51.98%

Either Mon. for Tues. or Tues. for Wed.

10.80%

Neither

8.20%

Not sure

1.93%


8. Would you prefer the status-quo (Wednesday delivery for Wednesday on-sale) over either of the above options if schedules could be adjusted to prevent day-late on-sale for weeks with Monday holidays? (Note FOC and Reship Reorder lead times would still increase under this scenario.)

Yes

29.89%

No

55.06%

Not sure

15.04%

.

I’ve seen a lot of odd comments from US based retailers, quite a bit of hyperbole and, what appears to me, a fundamental lack of understanding as to what the changes will be and what they will mean.

What do Canadian retailers feel about these results and the potential/likely changes? I’d be interested in hearing your opinions.

______________________________________________________________________

Other news, happenings and events at comic shops across Canada:

    British Columbia

  • Gotham Collectibles new Vancouver location is opened and it’s looking good. Their first event is a Transformers night on September 18th.
  • Metropolis Comics & Toys have put up photos of their new (and very large) location
  • Curious Comics has opened their new location on 844 Goldstream Avenue, Victoria, BC
  • The Comic Shop has a new location as of Sept 1, 2010. They can now be found at 3518 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
  • Lucky’s Comics will be hosting John Porcellino and Noah Van Sciver to for a signing, slideshow, and Q & A. Beginning at 7pm on August 31, 2010.
  • Alberta

  • Warp 1 have posted their 2010 Eisner nominee video.
  • Saskatchewan

  • 8th Street Comics will be on CTV’s News at Noon on Thursday, September 16th.
  • Ontario

  • Conspiracy Comics South has moved to a new location, now found at 2388 Fairview St., Burlington, ON
  • The Dragon is hosting Kean Soo for a Comics For Kids event at the store on Saturday, Sep 11, 2010. 10 kids will spend time with the acclaimed creator of “Jellaby”! Signing from 12-1, workshop from 1-3. Sign up in store or by email.
  • 4 Colour 8 Bit have moved to a new location… 2 doors down. It’s a mirror/Bizzaro move, and none of their customers really notice. See them at: 346 Princess St, Kingston, ON, K7L 1B4
  • Lookin’ For Heroes turns 21 on September 1, 2010. Legal to drink in the US of A.
  • L.A. Mood, in London, ON, will start selling used vinyl in the near future, as Gord Mood is selling his collection.
  • The Gauntlet will be moving to a new location in September, 2010. Find them at 14 Mill St, Orangeville, ON, L9W 2M2
  • Paradise Comics will be hosting author Jim Zubkavich on Wednesday, September 22nd, 3:30pm-5:30pm for the launch of Skullkickers #1
  • The Beguiling will be hosting author Jim Zubkavich on Wednesday, September 22nd, 7pm-9pm for the launch of Skullkickers #1
  • On September 22nd, Jim Zubkavich will be having dinner somewhere between Lawrence Ave and Bloor St. Probably around 5:30-7:00
  • Carry On Comics celebrated their 30th Anniversary on August 28th; current owner Andy’s 19th!
  • Nova Scotia

  • Strange Adventures will award a shopping spree if you to fill out 10 ballots for the ‘Best of Halifax’ poll. One man, one vote is out the window.

[note: this information was gathered by perusing the retailers websites, as well as email I’ve received from stores across Canada.  If you have an event to promote, let us know! Send an email to retailers@joeshusterawards.com. And if you have an upcoming event that isn’t listed here, then I was not able to find it on your website. If I can’t find it, your customers can’t find it.]

One thought on “Canadian Retailer Update – September, 2010

  1. Hey, this is Jonny form Metropolis Comics and I just wanted to say that we appreciate being included on your list. Our new location is pretty big and word of mouth always helps.

    As to changing the release dates to Tuesday, I don’t really think it’s such a great idea personally. We’re not DVDs or CDs and as much as Chapters and HMV would like to compete with the real comic stores, I think that setting Wed as a comic day sets it apart from that other stuff in a good way. Plus, I don’t relish the idea of people having to make a decision on a Tuesday as to what they should spend their money on today; movies and video games or reading material. Wednesdays are comic days and I love it!

    Now getting our comics a day early so we have time to organize it and price it… that I can get behind. People always want to buy their comics right out of the pile as we’re sorting through it because they’re there and the comics are for sale and they don’t want to have to come back. Makes complete sense to me, but it can get confusing when you want to make sure you don’t sell books that were specially ordered for others. Bla bla bla… I could go on forever but that’s my two cents worth anyway,

    thanks for posting our location on your site!

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