Yesterday I went over to my favorite comic book shop to see if they had the new Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware. When I arrived, all of the new shipments from Diamond (Diamond Distribution is practically the monopoly disto.) had been neatly placed on their shelves and I was shocked to find out that the book I wanted wasn't among them. I asked the proprietor when she would expect the book to be in their stores. Once she looked up the book with Diamond's online catalog system she told me that Diamond wouldn't have it available until almost next year, December 27 or something close to that. What!? This is a book that has been available on Amazon since Nov. 9th.
Now there are only a hand full of books that I am too impatient to wait for my local comic book shop to order before I buy it. I remember last year it was Joe Sacco's new book and today it is Chris Ware's beautifully moody Acme Novelty Library #20. The proprietor agreed with my frustration and listed several other books that Diamond doesn't have available yet, which have been selling online at Amazon with deep discounts for the past two weeks. This year's Best Of American Comics, by Houghton Mifflin was among them.
In my weakened state I continued on to Powell's books whom I knew had plenty of copies of the new Acme. I bought the book and although Powell's is local and good to me they do not quite support my community in the way my local friend/owned comic book shop does. I love Powell's and it is far far better than Amazon.com but it is a siphon that often diverts my book dollars with relative ease.
Of course there are ways that comic book stores can get these books that Diamond doesn't deliver quickly, like say, ordering from one of the book-book distros that do like Baker and Taylor or Hatchett or whomever carries it... there are minimum orders to deal with and such and such but aside from all of that it all goes to show how lame Diamond Distribution really is. I have my own problems with the disto which is all subtext you can guess at, and there are a million other reasons why Diamond is bad for everyone, but I just wanted to point out one big flaw with Diamond's inability to get good books to stores on time. Just another good reason to circumvent Diamond and order for other distros... Although this brings up another subject which is too long to get into like, Drawn and Quarterly not dealing with stores directly anymore, or their no longer wanting to deal with small press comics reps. I am getting off track and out of my knowledge area. The short story is, I'm spending less money at my friend's store because Diamond sucks.