The announcement of Marvel’s new retailer initiative – the New Stores initiative, to give it it’s proper title – is an interesting one, both in terms of timing (Coming, as it does, at a time when DC seems to be concentrating on opening up its digital space as much if not more than it is concentrating on print) and what it’s actually offering – or, more specifically, who it’s offering it to.
According to Marvel’s press release, the initiative includes (but, it adds, “is not limited to”) the following discounts for participating retailers:
A six-month 53% Discount (Marvel’s new inclusion in the ongoing Diamond “stocked to the Max” program, following the same Diamond rules with onetime Stocking discount of 59% on all in stock items!)
FREE copies of nearly two-dozen of Marvel’s top-selling collections featuring the world’s most popular super heroes
FREE recent variant covers
Unprecedented discounts on Marvel product for the first six months of membership in this program
Exclusive sales calls from Marvel and Diamond staff
FREE access to first looks on the Marvel Retailer Resource Center
FREE access to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited
Promotion via Marvel.Com and Marvel’s social media networks
Extensive promotional material to create greater consumer awareness of Marvel product
All of which is pretty impressive, right? (I admit, I’m surprised that “exclusive sales calls from Marvel and Diamond staff, as well as free access to first looks and extensive promotional materials” seem to count as extras. Shouldn’t these just be regular publisher-supporting-retailer kind of deals? Are they? Retailers, please chime in.) But here’s the catch: They’re only available to new retailers. Yes, that’s why it’s called the New Stores initiative; the offer is only open to new bricks and mortar stores.
So, here’s my obvious question: How much of this is available to current retailers? I’m not being snarky or asking a leading question I already know the answer to, I genuinely want to know: Does Marvel do this for existing retailers? And if not, why not? I can understand Marvel wanting to help new stores launch successfully – not to mention, doing so with a heavy Marvel presence – but if Marvel doesn’t have a similar program for current retailers, I’d expect some kind of outcry (and, likely, some course-correction from Marvel) before too long.