As the businesses continue to innovate amidst the growing the coronavirus pandemic, Image Comics has rolled out a few new guidelines in hopes of making the coming months easier on retailers and customers alike. Effectively immediately, the leading independent comic publisher is making any new release between now and the month fully returnable. Though the company says in a statement the returnability of the comics only lasts through the end of the month, there is a suggestion it could draw on longer should quarantines and lockdowns last longer than expected.
In addition to allowing retailers to return the titles they may have over-ordered, Image is also helping retailers market their business model should the comic store decide to offer delivery, curbside pickup, or mail order delivery methods in this time of self-quarantining.
"This is a difficult situation for everyone, and while we commend both retailers and consumers for putting their health and safety first, we don't feel all the burden should be placed on the Direct Market," Image chief creative and publisher Eric Stephenson says in a press release. "We want stores to order with the confidence they're not going to be stuck with stock they can't sell, and we hope everyone recognizes the part we all can play by joining together to help one another weather this crisis."
The Image marketing team also notes it will be sending out e-mail blasts to the 80,000 customers it has on its email distribution list to remind them to purchase and pick up existing pull lists from their comic store. The publisher also mentions it's actively lobbying Diamond Comic Distributors to delay billing to stores during the coronavirus pandemic, likely to help minimizing losses across the industry.
"We stand with you during this uncertain and frightening time, and we share in the responsibility to support this medium we all love by supporting the local retailers who are the bedrock of our industry – absolutely essential businesses that drive the exposure of comic books to fans, readers, and collectors all over the world," Image's statement concludes.