Diamond is in some serious hot water right now.
People are bemoaning how it looks like the direct market is going to die. No one wants the direct market to die, because it's how people can still catch that star and publish their comics, all with determination and grit, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Badger to Grendel to The MAZE Agency to Bone to Beanworld to....
Come on, folks. You really didn't see this coming?
As indies became the enemy to be squashed out by the majors (remembering all the stories of Marvel timing their releases to disrupt and sink Eclipse), comics became an inside group, an insulated group of buyers with nothing to bring in new blood, slowly but surely falling away. You see this with sci-fi writers all the time. Combine that with Diamond creating policies that make it nigh impossible for indies to get out there and build. There has been a subtle but, I think, obvious movement to force comics to only operate through the bigs.
Now, it's coming back to haunt them. When Diamond announced its new minimum orders, I heard plenty of people saying, "Hey, they're a business, just trying to make a buck." Now that others are acting like it's a business and they can turn a buck elsewhere, these same people who defended the Monopoly's actions are mad at the bigs for turning their backs on poor Diamond, basically for them daring to use the same thought process and "It's just business" philosophy. Time and again, I see people who justify screwing others just because they feel someone deserves to benefit more than others, right or wrong doesn't factor into it.
What happens to the comic shops now? They'll survive, I'm sure of that. All it will take is one creative guy to figure something out, and everyone will follow his lead. Since the publishers get most of their exposure from the shops instead of newsstands, they'd be stupid to let the direct market fold. So I'm not that worried. I'm just wondering what it will look like after this next evolutionary stage. I fear for publishers like Image, who I want to see survive but seem them as being on thin ice.
But no sympathy for Diamond. They created their monopoly claiming it was good business. And now, better business is catching up to them.