As this column continues to examine the state of the comics industry, I often find myself looking at steps being taken to try and keep local comics shops alive.
The latest one was recently discussed by site Head Honcho Stephen Schleicher as he examined Diamond Announcing a Pull and Hold Service.
You know what? If it works, I’m all for it!
WHAT’S A PULLBOX, ANYWAY?
Those of us who have been around LCS’s for a time are familiar with a “pullbox” or a “pull list,” or whatever they’re called at the various stores.
You want your books each week, so you tell the store in advance what it is you want to have pulled for you when you get there, whether it be Wednesday or Friday, these days.
I have all too many times arrived at my LCS to find issues missing from my pull list. A favorite reason for stores to give is that they were “shorted” by Diamond—they didn’t receive all the issues they ordered.
Drives me mad when that happens!
I also have found several apps on my smartphone that can help me know what I’m expecting this week. But they don’t connect to my local shops–at least, the ones I’ve come across haven’t!
GOING NATIONAL WITH A PULL SERVICE
One of the big benefits of a national pull service like Diamond’s is that it can link you up with your local shop and, barring a communication problem, you’ll get what you want when you get there.
Of course, the big hope is that all will work well, including the notion that the shop will have ordered far enough in advance to get the books. Now, one of the benefits of this service is that, if you forget to order a book or saw something new you didn’t notice before, they can help the store order them for you.
That’s pretty helpful, in my opinion!
Now PULLBOX is powered by comicshoplocator.com, a service the vast majority of LCS’s are a part of, so if you are looking for a store in a new location, that can be helpful as well.
Another thing I really like is that customers will be able to track weekly purchases. It might save me having to print out my weekly list of comics, which I would consider a real time-saver!
THIS ALL RESTS ON DIAMOND’S SHOULDERS
If you’ve read this column over the years, you probably remember that I have some problems with Diamond. I don’t like that they act as a gatekeeper so many times, such as limiting the number of superhero comics that come out. In Diamond’s eyes, this genre is limited to only a few “big” companies.
I have to say that I’ve read a LOT of great longjohns’ books that didn’t come from DC or Marvel. And I hate that I have to go through cons or websites to access these books. I don’t like that at all, frankly.
Now, Diamond will have even more control of the marketplace. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
I’m sure Diamond is benign in all this, of course. They want to keep the LCS’s alive, after tall. How much can it hurt things if Diamond helps manage more of the process?
All I can say is that if Diamond stumbles, we’re all in big trouble.
If local stores stop offering their own subscription services and it all falls to Diamond, then Diamond suddenly decides they don’t want to run that service any longer, it will take some time for the various stores to get that kind of process back up and running well, if at all.
So, I’m looking at this with my usual jaundiced eye, worrying that Diamond will become the Disney of comic books. Too big is just too big, in my opinion!
What do you think? Are you going to use Diamond’s pull service? Or does your local shop do such a good job you don’t need to consider it? Whatever your opinion, please share your thoughts in the space below!