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December 20, 2008

Some Of Your Thoughts About DCD Curtailing The Employment Of O/As

A few of you wrote in about the likely possibility according to their recent announcements that Diamond is taking a much tougher stance towards "Offered Again" solicitations, whereby companies supplying the distributor can list their existing product as new material in that part of the catalog as opposed to seeing it only offered through the backlist avenues. I saw this as particularly damaging to small publishers that may only have a few items, where listing them in numerous O/A selections was a way to keep a more constant presence on shelves -- in other words, I saw it as one of those things that was dysfunctional (retailers shouldn't be swayed by catalog placement for items of need, but they are) but a largely accepted way of taking care of that unfortunate tendency. Your responses covered that issue and more.


Simon Jones, Icarus Publishing:

Regarding Diamond's toughened stance on O/A items (which was actually part of the same solicitation notice that revealed Diamond's intention to drop the entire posters/prints category), I'd like to point out that since the last major solicitation policy change a couple years ago, O/A items have also had to meet the $600 minimum purchase order requirement, i.e. if total orders did not surpass $600, no purchase order would be issued. Diamond reserves the right to reject products which it is certain would not meet that threshhold.

So there is a possibility this may not be a new policy change, but a hightened determination to enforce existing terms. As a publisher who resolicits products with regular frequency, we ourselves would only know for sure when we see our own listings in February Previews.


Dan Vado, SLG:

I just saw your post about the Diamond restriction on offered again books being cut back or eliminated. While I have not gotten any kind of confirmation on this on my own (it may yet be coming or, as I suspect, probably initially being targeted at publishers who do not list new products every month).

Beyond hurting publishers, in particulat smaller publishers like myself, this will also hurt retailers in a couple of ways. One, of course, the constant reminder about books and new opportunities to sell titles to their customers. The second though is in the discuont range. Books which are ordered through offered agains are not subject to the reorder fee. One of the reasons I so aggressively relist our most current or best sellers is to give retailers an opportunity to maximize their profits.

Seeing it from the Diamond end, though, the offered again titles have been generating smaller and smaller numbers so I can understand the need to cut back on them. I do wonder, though, whether this policy will extend to Diamond Select Toys as they seem to offer almost their entire catalog every month. I would think that the O/A in the toy section probably accounts for more wasted space in the Previews than all of the comic book listings do.

My two cents, worth exactly that.

Or less even.


Bill Williams, Lone Star Press:

I put out a trade paperback of the first of the PANTHEON material by Bill Willingham a few weeks ago and we ran a few ads and people seemed to like the work. If anything, I expected a reorder from Diamond some time in the future as the small bit of overstock trickled out. So, I was surprised to see the unsold books remaindered out in their discounted weekly section in the Diamond Daily.

Instead, they have decided that a product that earns them 18% is not worth stocking. (The 18% number comes from Diamond paying me 40% of retail and charging the stores 58% of retail.)

Since the trade will cease to be available through the DM, I listed it on Here's the book.

I suppose the only chance I have to get my first PANTHEON book listed again is to have that listing next to the one for the next trade.


Dustin Harbin, Heroes Aren't Hard To Find:

Someone like Brian Hibbs will know better than I will, but as far as I know the "O/A" thing is just a relisting in the print catalog, with a new item code. The way that Diamond runs its databases, the original item code remains in effect.

As a retailer, it's always been slightly confusing -- every time I try to train an employee how to order for the store, they end up unintentionally re-ordering old stuff because of the new listings. I would say that only one percent of the time does such a listing actually prod me into ordering something I might not have otherwise. Getting rid of this policy won't reduce the number of items a vendor can list with Diamond, just how prominently they can relist old items. For my money, Previews solicitations mean less and less to me in terms of convincing me or not to order items -- the web just does everything better than print in terms of selling books, anyway.

As a disclaimer, I'm not a publisher, and am likely missing any number of vectors to this issue because of that.

posted 7:15 am PST | Permalink

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