Fried Gold wrote:Distribution gets worse here. Seems to take an extra 2-3 weeks before we get these new issues.
And don't you folks have another price increase coming your way, as well? I believe I read on CBR's Lying In The Gutter's that Diamond has raised prices for the UK again.
Here is the story:
Last December, LITG reported that Diamond UK was upping prices across the board for retailers, as a result of the crash of the pound against the dollar and increased fuel prices. While many retailers were visibly upset, it was a fairly unarguable case.
However, last week, UK retailers were informed that it was happening again. With another raise in prices of around 12%.
At the end of 2008, a $2.99 comic used to cost customers in central London £2. Currently the price is £2.20. With another rise in the net prices around 12%, you might expect to pay £2.50 in the near future. For a $3.99 book expect an increase from £3 to £3.15 to around £3.50.
This rise is above and beyond the rise of the dollar against the pound. There has certainly not been any significant changes in that since the last price rise in December. And in an economy with wage freezes, pay cuts, redundancies and deflation, it represents an even greater rise. And for a book such as "New Avengers" which made the $2.99/$3.99 price jump, it means the price of that comic, for a UK buyer will have more than doubled in fifteen months.
Graphic novel/TPB prices are also rising. A $7.99 book that was priced at a retail value of £5.99 will now be £6.99. A $19.99 price point currently at £14.99 in the shops will now be £16.99. This is almost parity between the pound and the dollar.
Diamond UK charge for the increased shipping, storage and distribution costs on top of the exchange rate, but this charge represents a greater mark up on that than traditionally charged.
It will be cheaper for some customers to order their comics from American stores and have them shipped air mail directly, rather than buy them through their local comic shop. And for some stores to engage in contract-breaking deals with American stores, to sub-distribute copies, rather than go through Diamond UK. And for Amazon.com listings of certain titles to be cheaper than the Diamond UK cost price.
There is the potential for a tipping point to be reached. If some stores increasingly leave the Diamond UK distribution model that is meant to deliver economies of scale for the international distribution of certain American product, this will prevent those economies of scale from being reached, which will lead to higher prices, and could feed the vicious circle until the current system collapses.
That so many publishers are tied in, willingly in most cases, to Diamond exclusivity, means that there are no other contractual alternative ways to source the majority of a comic store's stock.
I have spoken to some retailers who are in despair, some grateful at least that everyone will be affected in the same way, and some who are talking about selling or closing their stores.
Look for more on this story in weeks to come…