At the ComicPRO retailers organization meeting in Portland, Ore., this morning, Diamond Comic Distributors announced a number of changes to its Previews catalog, as well as an innovation long rumored to be in the works.
The innovation first; Diamond, which has long had an online version of its Previews catalog at http://www.previewsworld.com, has developed Pullbox, a system for handling what has been handled store-by-store for years: the pull-and-hold subscription folder. By offering a cloud-based software, Diamond makes it possible to computerize and centralize that process, with preorders managed online and orders fulfilled by the local shops.
The software will allow customers to Previewsworld’s complete item database, placing orders with their local shops as seen in Diamond’s Comic Shop Locator service. On the retail side of Diamond’s site, shops will be able to set their ordering guidelines, requirements for approval of subscribers, and integrate the information with their point-of-sale software programs.
The system will launch this spring, Diamond reports, and will be demonstrated at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago April 4-6. It’s a critical piece of infrastructure the business has long been missing; as any visitor to a comic shop over the last thirty years knows, subscriptions are a major part of the business and key to its success, but systems were far from uniform or as streamlined as they could be. Input from retailers would have been key in making something like this work, and it sounds from the announcement that Diamond sought and received plenty of it.
On the Previews side, magazines and prose books, once kept in their own subsidiary sections, will be merged into the comics/graphic novel listings in the April edition. Comichron does not expect to see any changes in the Top Sellers charts because of this; comics, magazines, graphic novels, and books have long had their own category codes on the retailer end, and these continue to exist.
A new section for manga will be started; again, I do not expect this will result in them being broken out from graphic novels in the charts, though Diamond does monthly release a manga-only sales chart. The non-print material will all be on the other, “flip-side” of the catalog.
DC will be leaving the main catalog in the May edition, gaining its own separate catalog as Marvel has had for more than 20 years. The magazine will be free of charge to Previews purchasers, who will also continue to receive Marvel’s catalog and Image‘s Image Plus magazine.
Finally, a digital version of the catalog through a special app will be made available in May. Read more about the changes here.
UPDATE: In later news from the event, it was announced that Dynamite would gain Premier Publisher status, moving to the front of the catalog. Dynamite had one of the better years for publishers in 2017, according to Comichron’s measuring. Boom was also elevated to that status.
Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 years, including a decade editing the industry’s retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.
He is the author of novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, Star Trek: Discovery – The Enterprise War, and his latest release, Star Trek: Discovery – Die Standing. Read more about them at his fiction site.
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