Big changes coming to comic shops

Posted on by Adam Bunch

Changes coming to the way you get your comic books.

My LCS: Flying Colors Comics Concord, CA

If you’re anything like me, first I’m sorry, but second, you know the importance of having a well planned and updated pull list at your local comic shop to ensure you get all the four-color titles that release every Wednesday.

There are roughly 400 new single issue comics released each month, couple that with graphic novels and trade paperbacks, and that means there are about 600 items to be looking through every month to decide what you want, and that doesn’t necessarily separate out variant covers either.  That’s where the aforementioned Pull list comes in.  Your LCS will undoubtedly have a list they compile of your wants/requests/orders and have them held for you between visits.  These pull lists may be a nicely organized computer flied system where you have a card on file and pre-buy, or something as simple as legal pads they copy from each month.

My LCS: Flying Colors Comics Concord, CA

On the positive; this ensures you can get the books you want when they arrive, they won’t be sold out and you won’t forget to pick them up.  On the downside; the shops are fronting the cost of holding these products, they don’t get paid until you come pick them up (check out this story of this extreme example here), and you may also miss out on possible variants that came out as well.  The comic industry is now looking to change how those pull lists are handled.

            Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics and comic merchandise have announced the upcoming release of PULLBOX.  Pullbox will be “A cloud-based software application that will allow comic ship customer a better way to preorder titles and products from their local comic book specialty shop”

 

From Previewsworld.com:

 

Developed from the ground up to help customers place orders with their local comic shop, PULLBOX handles monthly comic subscriptions, preorders for upcoming titles and products, and special orders all from Diamond’s consumer pop-culture website, PREVIEWSworld.com, while also providing comic shop retailers with the back-end tools necessary to manage their pull-and-hold customer base.

 

            The new cloud-based software is part of a broader strategy by Diamond to create an easy way to funnel orders to local comic book shops and make the preorder process a much more viable and vital process for the entire comics industry.

 

            “We’re excited about the potential of PULLBOX to help comic shops and their customers,” said VP-Retailer Services, Chris Powell. “We want to make ordering from a comic shop as easy as possible for customers, and in turn, further improve our retailers ordering efficiency.”

 

            PULLBOX has a variety of included features to help customers order and purchase from comic book shops:

            Manage Preorders. Add titles to your monthly pull-and-hold list, order additional titles and products from that month’s PREVIEWS preorder catalog.

 

            Synch with Your Participating Local Comic Shop. Powered by comicshoplocator.com, customers can choose a local participating comic shop and synch with them to send their monthly preorders, special orders, and more.

 

            Place Special Orders or Keep a Wishlist. Forgot to order a title or saw something new coming in to comic shops that you want to purchase? Customers can use PULLBOX to place a special order with their comic book shop to purchase. They can also keep a Wishlist of other items and then send it to their retailer to see if they have any items in their store.

 

            Enhanced Search and Ordering. Customers will be able to access a more advanced search at PREVIEWSworld.com that allows them to search the complete database of items offered by Diamond and place orders with their local comic shop.

 

            Track Your Weekly Purchases. Customers will get additional tools to track which titles and products they ordered are releasing that week to stores, see future week’s orders, and more.

 

            Retail Functions. Retailers will be get a full suite of functions available from the Diamond Retailer Services website: Back-end approval of new PULLBOX Customers, Alerts to new orders, Set ordering dates, and Upload your own ordering requirements and guidelines. Retailers can synch orders with their initial orders online, or export orders into ComicSuite or other POS software.

 

            Comic-Suite Integration. Seamlessly integrate PULLBOX Pull List, Subscription and Special Orders directly into ComicSuite for approval and ordering, manage new pull-and hold customers, synch customer data and individual orders.

 

            PULLBOX is slated for release later this Spring, and will be available for free from PREVIEWSworld.com to comic shop customers. Retailer pricing and additional retailer information will be released in the coming months.

 

            To see PULLBOX in action, retailers are encouraged to attend the upcoming Diamond Retailer Summit, April 4-6 in Chicago, where demos will be available, as well as sign-up for initial release.

My LCS: Flying Colors Comics Concord, CA

So, while there is a LOT that appears to be beneficial on the surface, reduced unsold inventory for shops, simplified ordering process for those that can’t get to a shop easily, (I’m personally a 37 miles each way drive from mine) there is the potential to have something lost in the LCS experience as well.  Chatting with employees, owners, other shoppers and getting to find new comics to read.  While I personally like the idea of having a record online of all my purchases for tracking purchases, I worry about Diamond using this technology to push the retailers aside and simply be a direct to order.  I see myself using this service the way I currently use my pull list, have a few mandatory pulls, but always spend time in the shop trying to find and expose myself to some new titles for myself and the family.  Thoughts on this new Pullbox service?  Share them in our comments

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