Diamond Comics is the exclusive shipping and distribution source for all weekly comic books. Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, Boom! — they all send their single-issues to comic book stores through Diamond.
Due to coronavirus concerns, however, the company has halted all shipments for the foreseeable future.
Comic book stores can still sell other merchandise, as well as some graphic novels, trade paperbacks, collected editions, and other bound book-style publications. Single-issues will also continue to be available digitally through Comixology, as most publishers have already announced their solicitations for new comics through at least June.
But what this means for the future of the comic book industry remains to be seen. While graphic novels and trade paperbacks of single issues have continued to increase in popularity, those single weekly issues remain the backbone of the industry, just as they've been for the last 50+ years. The entire serialized structure of the medium depends on it. Even if you prefer to pick up the collected editions of SAGA (also known as "waiting for the trade"), the comic still benefits from the 6 months of promotion that it gets every time a new single issue is released. Each single issue sells around 40,000 copies, compared to 1-2,000 copies per graphic novel (although the first trade paperback continues to sell more than 1,000 copies per month on average, based on a quick glance through Diamond's sales charts). Self-contained graphic novels — those that are created and released as a single, cohesive entity, instead of as a collection of single issues — rarely sell as well as collected trade paperbacks. Without the income and promotion from those weekly issues, it will be harder to maintain a lot of books; depending on how long this goes on, it could change the face of the entire industry.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has put together a resource guide with ways that readers and consumers can help comic book stores stay afloat at a time when their weekly income model has suddenly up and vanished.
Steve Geppi Addresses Coronavirus' Effect on Distribution [Diamond Comics]
Diamond Comic Distributors No Longer Taking In New Comics [Rich Johnston / Bleeding Cool]
Support Your Local Comic Shop During the COVID-19 Crisis [Siena Fallon / CBLDF]
Image: Public Domain via emiliefarrisphotos/needpix