Time, time, time, is on my side, yes it is.

§ November 19th, 2021 § Filed under question time § 3 Comments

Back to doin’ the Question Mash as I take on another of your queries!

Daniel T bones up on

“How much extra time does having three main distributors cost you? If dealing with Diamond took (x) amount of time, how much does Diamond, Lunar and Penguin Random House take?”

Well, yes, as you’d expect having the number of primary comic distributors suddenly treble does impact my workday, primarily when it comes to entering the monthly comic order. Diamond takes less time than normal, naturally, as I’m no longer ordering several product lines from them (DC, Marvel, Ahoy, Scout, a couple of other publishers). Ordering those now missing products (save Marvel) from Lunar doesn’t take any longer from them than it did from Diamond. And doing the final order cutoffs for Diamond/Lunar (where I can adjust my initial orders just prior to items going to print) hasn’t really been impacted timewise either. Just doing the same thing, only on two websites instead of one.

But Marvel over at Penguin Random House. Hoo boy.

The retailer website isn’t quite as streamlined as Diamond’s or Lunar’s. Placing initial orders takes forever…I can pretty much forget about doing anything else with my day if I’ve decided to enter the monthly Marvel numbers. Things work very slow there with order entry, and that’s not even talking about the seemingly random “log out due to inactivity” no matter if you’ve been typing numbers into the damned thing for the past hour. We’ve been promised ease-of-use changes for a while, but it’s got a long way to go before it works as smoothly as the other two distributors.

And the final order cutoffs…Diamond and Lunar present your order numbers on every item eligible for alteration right in front of you, and you can enter new lower or higher amounts for each item as you wish. PRH doesn’t give you your numbers, meaning repeatedly referencing past paperwork. And you can only add to orders on your own…if you want to drop any numbers you have to email a sales rep with a list of item codes and your adjustments and have them do it. So, yes, it takes quite a bit longer to do those for Marvel, too.

The other big change is in taking in the orders, breaking them down, and then doing the weekly comic pulls. When I used to get everything from Diamond on Tuesday (assuming no delays and no missing boxes), breaking down the pulling the order was often an all-day job, possibly lasting way past closing time. Going home at 10:30 or 11 at night wasn’t unheard of. Opening up the Diamond boxes, getting everything into some kind of order, checking it all off the invoice (if they remembered to pack one into my shipment), noting all the damages and shortages (of which there always were), then doing the pulls…it made for a full day.

When Diamond and DC split up, I started getting DC a little earlier in the week to accommodate their new Tuesday on-sales dates. Which meant having to break them down earlier and getting the pulls done…and since Lunar’s shipments, with very very rare exceptions shows up with no damages or shortages, and almost always already sorted to some extent, it takes a lot less time to process the DCs (and the other publishers once they started to add them to the distributor’s roster).

As such, I’ll do the DC pulls on Monday, then do the Diamond breakdown/pulls on Tuesday…with Diamond taking a little less time now that the DCs have already been handled.

And now that Marvel has also been separated out from Diamond, it also takes less time to process. They now show up, also mostly presorted and, at least for me, only with very rare shortages and damages (neither of which I’ve had for the past three or four weeks, after the pretty awful first couple of weeks). Like the DCs, I check them off the (slightly less readable) invoice and get ’em pulled for for the comic savers in relatively short order.

Thus, when the Diamond shipment comes in on Tuesday, the Marvels and DCs for the week have already been done. The leaves me with a much simpler task that day, getting everything sorted out and having more time to deal with damages and shortages. Overall, despite doing pulls three times a week instead of just once, it takes less time. One, it’s kinda easier to do pulls a company at a time for me. Two, a lot of the work before was untangling the mess of books that were packed with no discernible rhyme or reason in Diamond’s boxes, meaning more time to straighten everything out and putting them in an order where I can easily check them off the invoice. With Marvels and DCs now separate and mostly sorted, that means less set-up time. And few damages/shortages means less time spent sending in those reports (and making notes for the comic pulls on comics they have have missed due to those errors).

So overall…yes, probably more time spent once you add in the extra work dealing with PRH, but the perceived workload is lessened due to being able to split the burden of new comic shipments over a couple of days. Trying to do it all in one day was a real bear, but now it’s a lot less stressful. You know, so long as everything shows up on time and very little is missing or damaged.

3 Responses to “Time, time, time, is on my side, yes it is.”

  • Thom H. says:

    Good question! I was wondering the same thing. It sounds like having items organized in advance is a real time saver. Who would have thought that distributors could make life easier for comic shop owners?

  • Snark Shark says:

    O.O

    “HEY, KIDS! COMICS!”

  • This is an interesting question for me. Back in my FantaCo days, we got our comics primarily from Seagate (Phil Seuling) in Brooklyn. But he didn’t carry Cerebus, for instance, so we got that and other items from Comics Unlimited in Queens, NYC.

  • Leave a Reply