The feedback to my posts on comic book distributors has been great, via email, twitter, comments, conversations and texts. I have never seen a company as universally despised as Diamond Comics Distributors. Decades of screwing over retailers, casually dismissing comic creators, driving up prices and failing to fulfill orders or even ship on time (so I’ve heard from my comic shop owner friends) have resulted in a monopolistic giant that everyone wants to see topple – I know I do. I’m more than happy to play David here… or at least present some alternatives as a champion to the little guy.
If you want to get your books into comic shops there is only one major distributor, and they, as I discussed yesterday, only deal with publishers who clear $2500 monthly (profit after Diamond’s 60% take). What’s a small press Indy comic creator/publisher to do?
Take heart folks – alternatives are out there, and I’m going to spotlight some of them here over the next few weeks.
Interestingly several of these alternatives are coming directly from printers. Which makes sense – they print it – so why not deliver to the shops as well?
Today I’m going to talk about Brenner Printing. Brenner has been in business for 35 years. I’ve dealt with them personally and they are professional, courteous, and deliver high quality work on time. Used to be Diamond Distributors would pick up directly from Brenner’s docks, allowing a nice convenient way for publishers to get their product to them and on to comic shops. Not any more though - that is yet another service Diamond has done away with.
However, notice the name change - Brenner Printing ans MAILING! Brenner has picked up the slack and now offers shipping for its customers! There is no minimum print run for printing and they will ship any amount to any number of addresses for a flat shipping rate. Let me repeat that last part – A FLAT SHIPPING RATE. No arrogant insistence on number of books or amount of money cleared, where you print or don’t print it (POD), no 60% taken off the top, no BS – they simply charge you to take the book from point A to point B. AND there is no limit to what type address they will ship to – comic shops, businesses, people’s homes – it doesn’t matter. They’ll box and ship it for you via UPS and several other carriers at a LOWER RATE than you could get. That’s right – their shipping rate is 30% to 40% lower than what you or I could just walk in and get!!
Want to print only 500 and ship half of them to various addresses and the remainder sent to you? No problem. Print 1000 and ship 400, sure thing!
The key here is hustling to PRESELL those issues – that’s where the great equalizer, the internet, comes into play. You have to be on top of your game, building a website, marketing that book, working those social media outlets, making phone calls, making appearances, giving away free samples and most of all – providing content that people want to buy. I can’t help you there. That part is up to you. But if you hustle to make the product and market it, Brenner can provide a way to get it to your readers.
I recently had a DVD distributor tell me he would distribute almost any DVD as long as it made money. He really didn’t care about content, just whether he could sell it. That’s the way a distributor should operate. They are not content police.
Again, that flat shipping rate is a big deal. I just can’t emphasize it enough. It cost the same amount to ship a book whether its cover is $1.00 or $5.99. Why should the distributor charge more if the cost of the book is more, like Diamond does? They shouldn’t!! Wake up people! This business model stinks, is unfair to the publisher, and is hurting the industry!!
Oh and by the way – the big San Diego Comicon is coming up. Haven’t printed your books yet? No worries – Brenner still has time to get them ready for the show, and they’ll even deliver them right there to the Comicon, so you don’t have to fuss with carrying them on the plane! There is a staging area at the show where you can simply pick up your waiting merchandise – how cool is that?
Check them out at www.brennerprinting.com or give them a call at 1-877-349-4024 and they’ll hook you up.