Quick Follow-Up: 1000 Viz Manga Delisted at Diamond


Brian Hibbs gets cranky at me because this news casts Direct Market shops in a bad light, when it shouldn’t, because no one is buying any of these books anyway so it doesn’t matter if stores have access to them, even though they’re largely in-print. I declare my aesthetic superiority in the comments.

Tom Spurgeon reframes Hibbs’ argument to point out that, no, really, this is not a good move and a major paradigm-shift for Diamond.

Heidi MacDonald kind of agrees with Hibbs, but she’s been in kind of a doom-and-gloom funk for the past few months, and so she can be forgiven.

David P. Welsh has a great, personal response. And follows it up with the rumour that Viz didn’t have any idea this was happening.

Brigid Alverson gets the straight scoop from Viz, which you should read.

– Christopher

5 thoughts on “Quick Follow-Up: 1000 Viz Manga Delisted at Diamond”

  1. Just a couple of thoughts, I’m sure I’m bringing coal to West Virginia..

    1. While it makes sense for Diamond to de-list catalog product that has low sales potential (and Viz doesn’t help at all because like all the anime companies in their failure modes, they don’t promote old manga titles or even back catalog of current titles. Not like in Japan for sure.) the way they’re going about it, telling their customers to, in effect, go somewhere else and buy this, seems a really unwise move to me.

    Because if you’re a comic shop with strong manga sales (more than the top 5) and you have to jump thru the hoops of finding a vendor, setting up the account, dealing with the different minimum orders and discount structure and the billing- you just might figure why even deal with Diamond for that, do ALL your manga buys thru the vendor to meet those minimums and maybe even up the discount. Heck, you might even be able to work out a return account for unsold copies, do the whole ‘strippable return’ deal with the Viz and TP and a couple of others…which is more work, more man-hours, more accounting and tracking. The thought of same which may make some folk say ‘screw, I’m out, let the kids get this crap at the bookstore, gives me more open-to-buy for those rare collectable mini busts’, right?

    2. I think Diamond made a HUGE mistake classifying manga as ‘graphic novels’. I’m sure they saw the blooming anime/manga bubble as a sure ticket to promote GNs as big sellers, so they could go to ABA and other shows and puff their chests and say “Hey, look how HOT GNs are NOW! You gotta sign up with us, you indy book stores, wow look at the MONEY and these NUMBERS” when, of course, it’s all smoke and mirrors. Like most anything else you get a handful of key titles that are ‘evergreen’ and a whole bunch of stuff that just sits there. But boy, from 2003-2005 manga sure pumped up the numbers,didn’t it? But now, the manga/anime bubble is mostly gone, the statement from 2004 by 4Kids Entertainment’s Al Kahn that “Japan is over” has come true, the pending closing of Borders (if they make it to the end of ’09 I will be so shocked) will put a SERIOUS hurt on the manga biz just like the death of Suncoast crippled the anime biz and Diamond doesn’t want to be dragged down. Right NOW Watchmen is HOT HOT HOT so that means comic book…what, maybe better Superhero book GNs will be the push, the focus. but of course not all books are Watchmen….

    3. Viz is hurting themselves. They have terrible communications, they seem clueless to the Japanese model of selling those volumes where you KEEP THEM IN PRINT and if one volume gets a poor listing and even worse distro you make more and pimp it and get it out to the market. If you have an ongoing series you HAVE to keep all the volumes in print because EVERY volume has the potential of being the FIRST one someone buys. These books are NOT supposed to be sold like monthly pamphlets where you snooze you lose, they’re BOOKS, that’s the selling point.

    4. it strikes me as interesting that Diamond makes this move on the heels of making the announcement that they were going to sell Diamond Select Toys (their house brand manufactured product) to Toys R Us. Boy, that’s got to be a kick in the face for the comic shops, I seem to recall DST was created to give comic shops something that COULDN’T be bought outside of a comic shop…so maybe they felt the need to free up some money and warehouse space to service TrU. maybe. Of course that’s not going to work out as well as Diamond hopes, as TrU has been on the rocks for a couple years now…hurm.

    OK, I’m probably pushed to the crazy train pile now.. 🙂

  2. I just have one question, since this has never been brought to my attention before and everyone discussing it seems to understand it already, so obviously I’m coming in late, but:

    These books are still in print, as per Viz’s statements. Diamond lists them because it keeps a certain number of copies it’s purchased from that print run in stock, right? So … what happens when those books (which are part of that print run) get delisted? Do the copies Diamond has in stock get sent back to the publisher or what?

    I mean, gut instinct and optimism lead me to believe that if Diamond delists something it just ships the stuff back to the publisher, but it’s never been stated outright in this discussion, and I’d just like to be reassured that I can, at least, trust that in delisting this product Diamond isn’t, I don’t know, willfully destroying pieces of backlog that people might actually want and would be willing to get through other sources.

    I mean, personally, the only reason I still buy comics at my local comic shop is because it’s the only place that I can get certain singles and if I’m getting singles there already I might as well get the other singles I’d like, and their manga stock is laughable so I’ve never even considered getting this stuff through them anyway, but I’d really hate to find out that because I don’t like buying manga from places that think it’s porn, Naruto, or Naruto porn that I’ll be hurting my chances (and anyone else’s chances) of getting this stuff elsewhere.

    I’m probably overthinking this, but all the teeth-gritting and grimacing and doom-y thinking has me paranoid. So any clarification would help. Because I really know next to nothing about this aspect of the process. It’s a shame, but it’s the truth, I am totally ignorant of how this works.

  3. T:

    To the best of my knowledge, whatever stock Diamond has on hand (and to pick a single example: DRIFTING CLASSROOM v11, they have 99 copies on hand — I just made a fake order of 250 copies, and 99 was what “filled”) is theirs, and they can’t send it back to Viz.

    Generally speaking, Diamond isn’t going to destroy those copies — they’re going to try to sell them at higher and higher discounts until they’re finally gone from their warehouse.


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