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About lighthouse

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    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

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    San Francisco, CA

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  1. That article starts sentences with "Could this be their chance to" and "It is quite possible that". I could write an article saying "Could this be Greggy's chance to move into Steve Geppi's basement?" and "It is quite possible that Greggy owns eleven copies of Action #1". That wouldn't make them true. That website is devoted to getting advertising clicks. Rumor-mongering gets clicks. He's so notorious for not fact-checking his stories that Diamond placed a ridiculous fake story on its own site to see if he'd post it on his site, and he did. But regarding the "half of Diamond's business" question, Comichron reported that DC was 29.23% of the print market in total dollars last year (Marvel was 40.3%). Given that Diamond sells a lot of toys, statues, apparel, etc, I doubt DC's print business exceeds 20% of Diamond's total revenue.
  2. It may also be a simple matter of them choosing a different path with their terms. They might have 1% 10 net 30 terms and they are simply choosing to forgo the normal discount they take advantage of by paying in 10 days, while still being well within their terms. Could be 2/10 net 45, 2/10 net 60. Could be a hodgepodge of different terms with different vendors. But them skipping a "normal" week's payments doesn't automatically mean they are too broke to pay.
  3. I doubt there is all that much business in slabbing newly released coins, and NGC seems to be doing just fine. Yes, there would be a huge volume dropoff from the "brand-new 9.8 prescreen" game, but turn times would likely improve on all other service levels, and that might well coax out inventory that doesn't currently make the trip to Sarasota because the TAT makes the process less attractive. At any given time I probably have 500-1000 books in inventory that might benefit from that trip. But if I can turn over raw inventory three times at a XX% markup in the time it takes to get a book back that might see a net YY% markup after slabbing, the math doesn't always point to shipping them out.
  4. I wouldn’t read too much into Diamond not paying its vendors this week. My guess is most of its vendors expected that. And really what recourse do they have? It’s not like a competitor is ready to swoop in and take over those accounts and buy all the merchandise. Cheesecake Factory announces they’re not paying rent this month. It’s not like all their landlords chain up the doors. They know the transaction cost of replacing them as a tenant is orders of magnitude bigger than missing a rent payment or two. They’d rather eat that cost, have Cheesecake back as a viable entity on the other side of this, and perhaps use a tiny bit of leverage in the next lease negotiation for their largesse. Hasbro, DC, Marvel, Image, Graffiti Designs, TMP, Sideshow, Funko, Kotobukiya... none of those are companies that are going to kick Diamond to the curb over a week (or even a month) of missed payments. Every one of them would rather wait and have Diamond viable at the other end. One of my three biggest subs, a guy who gets 100 titles a month with multiple covers of many of them plus a slew of trades. He’s pretty consistent about coming in every 2-3 weeks. And he always picks up his entire pull (a transaction that usually takes 40 minutes just to ring up). About twice a year he’ll have some family stuff going on and he’ll be in Europe longer than expected. And I give him a couple very polite courtesy calls or texts checking in. If he thinks his absence is going to run longer he’ll usually load a gift card over the phone for $1,000 and burn it off when he comes in. Do I let that guy go past my stated official policy of when I’ll stop pulling books (and later, when I’ll empty the box back to the shelves)? You bet I do. Do I get a little nervous each time it gets to week 4 or 5? You bet I do. Am I going to cut him off? Heck no. Now imagine instead of 100 titles, he was half my entire pull by himself (as Diamond is for those statue and t-shirt companies). Yes I’d be more nervous if he got behind. But if he was upfront with me about it, and I believed he intended to make good (and he’d pretty much never been late before)? Do what you need to do. We’re all in this together. This isn’t a Borders/Crossgen scenario. At least not yet.
  5. My favorite line is the second to last one. Indicating that it will be weeks before they even announce a revised date for the April 1st books. Finally accepting the reality of the situation. As a reminder, 19 days ago my Diamond rep called me wanting to confirm whether FCBD books should be coming UPS or LTL. And that rep was in disbelief when I replied that it would make more sense to push back the date for FCBD altogether. That was only 19 days ago.
  6. A Message from Dan Buckley President, Marvel Entertainment To all our partners in the retailer community, Thank you for all your notes, discussions, and the absolute resolve we have heard and seen from you over the past weeks. This situation has been challenging for everyone, and the safety and well-being of you, your families, and your communities continue to be at the front of our minds. As you know, unfortunately there will not be any new print titles available at your shops this week. Marvel will also not be releasing any new comic book titles digitally on April 1. This is a fluid situation with details changing every day, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we all navigate our way through this. As soon as more information is available, we will outline our longer-term plans and opportunities to support you and the industry. If you have any questions in the meantime, please continue to reach out and share your feedback. Revised release dates for our April 1 titles will be shared in the coming weeks. Please stay safe and well. Dan Buckley President, Marvel Entertainment
  7. The novelization of Phantom Menace was on the shelves four weeks before the film came out. It had no real impact on the ticket sales for the film. Having digital copies of comics released before the floppies will certainly affect the speculator interest in the printed versions (both up and down). But for readers and collectors I doubt there’s much impact. I have customers all the time telling me they saw this comic or that one posted on Reddit or imgur in its entirety and they liked it so much they wanted to find the real thing. We have several subs who only collect trades and hardcovers. They obviously could read any of that material digitally long before the collected editions are out. But they don’t care. It might move a small percentage from print to digital. And will absolutely play havoc with the flipper/speculator market. But I don’t see a big impact from folks with stacks of short boxes at home.
  8. Over maybe 3 months? And it wasn’t as though it disappeared entirely. It went from “people who enjoy the game plus literally everyone else that age trying to not miss out” to “people who enjoy the game”. The folks who genuinely enjoyed playing or collecting continued. It was the folks who were only buying because they needed to be part of what was cool that disappeared. (Likely the exact same story as baseball cards in 1986, football cards in 1990, comic books in 1992, etc).
  9. The mild winter meant February 2020 was up 70.3% over February 2019 for us (we are in an outdoor mall and weather is a major factor in casual walk-in traffic). On the day the pandemic closed our doors we were up 44% YOY. Sigh.
  10. I think the answer to this question really depends on what kind of store you are/were in the years in question. Because for some, the best years would be years where the economy was in shambles and they were able to scoop up valuable collections right and left for pennies on the dollar. For others it would be when the economy was so good that people spent money on worthless detritus. But I will toss out an unexpected answer: May 1999 - April 2000 Every shop that existed in 1999-2000 that had any kind of reliable distribution was printing money with Pokemon. At one point that fall I had a spiral notebook with probably 300 phone numbers from moms who had to have packs for their kids. Didn't matter if it was retail price or double retail or triple retail. Didn't matter if it was a 2 pack per person limit or just one. I had a couple hundred numbers I could call and folks would race to the store to give me money. Between Jungle and Fossil, I was routinely doing 2x rent in margin every month just from Pokemon booster packs. If I misordered a comic series here or there it was irrelevant because the Pokemon gravy train was nuts. It eventually died of course. But it was awfully easy to own a comic shop that year, when a product that took up less that 5 sqft of floor space covered double your rent every month.
  11. DC definitely doesn’t stand for Damage Control. Woof. Personally I’m not going to make a blanket statement that I’ll never stock shelf DCs based on one terribly worded and vague email. But I can tell you that I already shelf more copies of publishers that treat me better. Valiant calls me 5 or 6 times a year to chat for a half hour about what’s selling my shop, what’s going on with their storylines, movie plans, etc. Image calls at least a couple times a year checking in. Last time it was about how I felt about the way they solicit “frontlist” and “backlist” stuff, but that meandered into an hour on the phone about TMP t-shirts, Skybound merch, MillarWorld collections and anything else I wanted to talk about. Heck, when I had a problem with misprinted Monstress shirts, Skybound didn’t even make me jump through Diamond hoops. They sent me replacements themselves that arrived 3 days later. Didn’t even charge the freight. DC’s never called my shop once. I get the same 55% discount from both. But guess which company I more enthusiastically recommend? I’ll wait and see what the “revised” DC stance is. But that was an ugly ugly first draft.
  12. You didn’t misinterpret. It was intentionally sensational. I won’t call it clickbait because it doesn’t quite go that far. But Bleeding Cool frequently stays just this side of South Park reporting cannibalism, because they know it will get them ad revenue. My BIG takeaway from this is that DC is committed to continuing to print floppies. If Diamond folds (unlikely) they’re willing to explore other avenues to keep publishing. It’s not like Lee’s Comics where recent events are enough to bring an end that was likely coming anyway. DC seems to be signaling they’re willing to endure some pain to get to better times down the road. It’s easier to say that at week 3 than at month 3 so it might change. But ending their radio silence gives me a bit of hope.
  13. There’s a huge difference between publishers sourcing TPBs and HCs through Ingram/Penguin/etc and sourcing floppies that way. There are a dozen options already for ordering graphic novels. When I sell to local libraries they’re upfront about their exact terms from several different distributors and they give me a chance to beat it. When Diamond puts a bunch of evergreen Image collections on a 70-85% off sale, one of my first phone calls is to my library clients offering to hook them up. BleedingCool is in the business of selling advertising. And they intentionally framed those articles to make them more sensationalist (something they’ve done for years because it works). But there’s a difference between “we sell our collected editions through several distributors” and “DIAMOND ABANDONED US SO WE’RE ABANDONING THEM !11!!!1!!”
  14. Diamond sent out a survey to retailers yesterday. Ostensibly to help them plan for what the restart will look like. It asked about the current local situation (are you forcibly shut down, can you do curbside, can you do mail order, are you selling gift cards online, etc). It asked about what percentage of your revenue comes from comics and trade paperbacks, then separate questions for statues/toys and for games. Was really odd to me that if they were bothering to ask for breakdowns they would lump comics and trades together. And it asked (open ended response) what assistance would be most helpful when things do restart. I take it as a good sign that they’re trying to get feedback. Though you can tell a lot by what questions get asked and which ones don’t. For the record, my response was 61% comics and trades, though in the essay section I explained that was 28% new books, 20% back issues, and 13% trades. Don’t want Diamond thinking they supply 75% of my inventory when you add in statues and toys, when it’s really around 60% total. In the open ended section I reiterated the same feedback I’ve given all three reps I’ve talked to. Don’t send us 8 weeks of books all at once. Pretend a couple months didn’t exist and just roll everything forward. That’s far more important to me than Marvel increasing my discount to 70% or all the small publishers making everything returnable. Don’t bury me with 3300lb of comics the first week I’m back.