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Comic News:
Marvel Changes Terms of Sale
By Brian Jacks


On Friday, February 28th, Marvel Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors announced to the retail comic book community brand new Marvel Terms of Sale for Direct Market retailers. These sweeping changes involve perhaps some of the most significant changes to how comic books are ordered in the Direct Market since its formation.

The following is the letter sent to Marvel's retail partners announcing and explaining the changes...

Dear Retailer Partners,

Marvel Comics is very pleased to announce new Terms of Sale, effective with the February Order Form and orders placed after March 10, 2003. The new terms eliminate the need for an initial order cutoff date, allow you greater flexibility to adjust orders all the way up to the Final Order Cut-Off date (while still receiving your full monthly Standard Discount), and change the way your monthly discount is calculated.

As a result of the new terms, you're no longer required to submit orders by an initial order cut-off date to set your discount. In fact, Marvel product will no longer have an initial order cut-off date at all!

You now have the ability to place, increase, decrease, and even cancel orders up until the Order Increase Cut-Off Date for any product, while still receiving your full discount for all products invoiced during the on-sale month. This gives you the added flexibility to budget closer to actual on-sale dates, and better judge potential reader interest.

For example, under the new terms, you now have all the way up to the FINAL ORDER CUT-OFF (OIC DATE) of 3/13 to place, cancel, decrease, or increase orders for the MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA Vol. 2: X-MEN Hardcover (on sale 4/2), while still receiving your full standard discount on those orders.

Or, for you retailers projecting strong interest in VENOM #1, the debut issue of the new ongoing series (on sale 4/23), you now have until 5/8 to place or adjust orders on VENOM #2 (on sale 5/28). These new terms eliminate the "ordering blind" period you face with new series, new story arcs and new creative teams, allowing you to place more accurate orders on subsequent issues using weeks of real reader response as a gauge.

Article continued below advertisement

Under the old terms, your Marvel discount was set each month based on your initial orders, with the retail value of those orders determining your discount plateau for the month. Reorders and orders placed after the initial order date would not positively affect your discount. Under the new terms, every month Diamond will use your entire monthly invoiced orders (both invoiced initial orders and reorders), averaged over the previous twelve months to calculate the average retail $ value. That average retail $ value will then be matched to the same discount plateaus to set your discount.

For example, for products on-sale in April 2003 (solicited in the FEB. 2003 PREVIEWS), your Standard Marvel Discount Plateau for April 2003 will be determined by calculating your average monthly invoiced retail dollar value for the period of March 2002 to February 2003, with February being the last "closed" month (meaning ALL invoiced sales - including reorders) have been captured) in this cycle.

There has been no change to the Standard Discount Plateaus or to Net Cost coded items; only how the monthly retail $ value is calculated. Your new discount will take effect April 1, 2003, beginning with the February Previews product on sale April 2, 2003, and any orders placed after March 10, 2003. And with the new order adjustability, you will be able to increase, decrease, or cancel your orders for all April 2, 2003 (FEB03) on sale product until March 13, 2003.

This new system will reward you for ALL Marvel invoiced product over the last year, make discount calculations a less complex process, and help temper the effect of down months you sometimes experience because of volatile economic conditions or changes to Marvel's own publishing schedule.

We're confident these new Terms of Sale will offer our retail partners more options and flexibility in placing their Marvel Comics orders and we look forward to working with the retail community to continue to improve our Terms of Sale in the coming months.


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