Wednesday, September 17, 2008

HOW OUR RESERVE SYSTEM WORKS.

In an effort to better serve you and to improve our ordering I thought it might behoove us to better explain how we pull books so you, the customer, can get exactly what you want. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and the answers to them:

1) Can I get all the covers to this title?
Well, the answer is both yes and no. The easiest way to get exactly which cover you want is to place a Previews order. That let’s us know exactly what you want and we can order accordingly. Because of the incredible number of variants coming out these days, and the added headache of trying to track which customers want which variants, it's easier just to do this on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if you ask for "all covers," that may or may not include the retailer incentive variants (example: the 1-in-75 Secret Invasion #1 variant, which retailed for over $75). For some of these we only get a limited number and often they are more expensive than the regular cover. If you really want a variant you can always send me an email at shawn@heroesonline.com. But the variants are first come first serve and I can’t guarantee that we will have a copy for you.

2) Why did I only get the first two issues of this mini-series?
For most mini-series that relate to a current title we pull the first two issues and by the third expect you to put it on your list if you want to keep getting it. For Ultimate Origins we pulled the first two issues of it for anyone who got an Ultimate title, but we only pulled the third issue for people who had "Ultimate Origins" on their list. That being said we don’t always pull mini-series for related titles. For some of the X-Men minis, like the new X-Men Manifest Destiny we only pulled for people who had "X-Men Manifest Destiny" and "X-Men Annual" on their list. We just didn’t think that everyone who wants X-Men would want X-Men Manifest Destiny. That is pretty much how we decide how to pull books. Will the people who get this title also want this other title? So the moral of the story is: If you want a particular book, add it to your list.

3) Can I add this one-shot to my list?
Most of the time for one shots we make that a Previews order. That means we add it to a separate list that is generated when the book comes in. A pull sheet is like a standing order for a title. A Previews order is a one time order. Previews comes out around the end of each month, and is the catalog for everything Diamond is shipping around 2-3 months in the future. There is an order form in each copy if you'd like to place an order, OR if we know you pretty well and you just want one or two things, we can take care of that for you.

4) Can I add trades to my list?
With trade paperbacks it is easiest and most effective to place a Previews order rather than to put it on your list. That way you get exactly what you want. For example, if you have Wolverine TP on your list does that mean you want any trade that has to do with Wolvie, including mini-series, hardcovers, original graphic novels, etc.? It can get confusing. But if you place a Previews order than we can get you exactly what you want and we don’t end up over ordering on any trades, which are much more expensive than your regular $2.99 comic.

5) Speaking of Previews, how do I place a Previews order?
It is super easy! If you see a book in Previews that you want then tell us and we can write it on the special order list and we will then put that into the database (those orders don’t stay on the special order list). Or if you make a lot of orders you can buy a Previews and fill out a consumer order form. That way you can take it home and look through it at your leisure.

6) Can I get all books written by a particular writer or artist?
Sadly, the answer is no. Our database doesn’t work that way. We pull books by title, not by writer or artist. And for that matter we can’t really stop pulling books for you after a story arc is over. You need to tell us to take it off of your list.

7) Can you pull ALL the Warhammer books and ALL Transformers titles for me?
We can if you add each individual title to your list. It is just too difficult to have a blanket pull list for Warhammer or for Transformers. Plus some might want Transformers Animated but not Spotlight. So for clarity’s sake we need you to put the individual title on your list. This not only helps us order the correct number, but keeps you from having a lot of stuff in your bag you don't really want.

8) Do you offer a discount if I’m a subscriber?
We do! If you get 10 or more monthly titles (mini-series DO NOT count) then you get 10% off new comics and trades and 25% off regular back issues. There isn’t a discount on variants, silver and golden age back issues, or hot books. The discount does NOT apply if your bag is not EMPTY. We pay for books each week, so when you leave a lot of stuff in your bag for a long time, it makes Shelton sad (and poor).

9) How often do I need to come in to get my bag?
We really prefer for you to come in ONCE A MONTH. We always try to get in touch with you by email or phone before we cancel your bag. So if you don’t make it in very often make sure your contact information is up to date. If we can’t get in touch with you we are much more likely to cancel your bag. The most important thing is to keep in contact with us. If you haven’t been in to get your books in a while send us an email. We like to hear from you!

10) When will you cancel my bag?
We have on the reserve sheet that you sign when you start your bag that we hold books for 30 days and that we can cancel a reserve bag anytime at our discretion. Generally we'll send you an e-mail (or call if we have no e-mail address) once 3 issues of the same title gets in your bag, meaning you probably haven't been in in at least 2 months. If we don't hear back from you within a couple of weeks, or haven't made some other arrangements with you, we will likely cancel your bag and return your books to the shelf. If you're out of town or are just feelign the economic blues and are definitely coming in, just let us know: we're more likely to cancel your bag if we don't have any information. Believe me, we'd rather sell these books to you than return them to stock, but the longer we wait, the less likely that we'll be able to sell them to anyone!

11) Can I get all the issues of this big crossover event?
YES! For Secret Invasion we can pull all the crossover mini-series and the tie-in issues. That is the tie-ins that are solicited in Previews as tie-ins. BUT, it is an all or nothing for that though. You can add the individual titles if there are some you want and don’t want. But if you put "Secret Invasion X-Over" on your list (or "Final Crisis X-Over", etc.) then you will get everything. If you only want one or two of the tie-in series--for instance, "Final Crisis" and "Final Crisis: Superman Beyond", then just add those specific titles.

More questions? Let us know in the comments section below, or you can always get me by e-mail here.

9 comments:

Neil said...

I'm curious as to how you handle filling your pull-list orders once the comics arive. Do you open late on Wednesdays? How may staff does it take and how long does it take them? Etc.

Like I said, I was just curious how a bigger shop like your handels the weekly ordeal.

Thanks.

Shawn Reynolds said...

We open at the regular time on Wednesdays, 10 am (or very close to it). We pick up the books and start unpacking around 9:30 so we can have some pulls ready by 10 when we open up. There are usually around 6 people pulling books or putting books on the shelf. And we usually have everything pulled and on the shelf by 1 o'clock.

Rich Barrett said...

I understand the issue with pulling trades for something like Wolverine that may encompass a number of titles but what if I wanted to have each new trade for something like DMZ pulled for me.

Not saying I want to, just curious about the options.

Shawn Reynolds said...

Rich, that is a good point. People do put the DMZ trades on their list. But I think we are trying to break from adding trades to lists so so we can order more accurately.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider it an unfair competitive advantage for the stores that get their books on Tuesday afternoons and can open as early as they want on Wednesday morning, having all the pulls and shelves ready to go when the door opens?

I was talking about this issue with my LCS owner, and it appears that Diamond grants this option to shops that have more than one location. The interesting thing is that the specific shop we were discussing only opened the second location for two purposes: 1) to get the books in Tuesday afternoon, and 2) a tax shelter for declaring losses, since it's set up in a part of town that gets virtually no traffic.

Just wondering what your opinion was...

Dustin Harbin said...

I don't think I'd consider it an unfair advantage, especially as having two stores doubles your risk, etc. It's only an unfair advantage if you're selling the books early, before other stores might be able to.

But if you can get your books counted and on the rack sooner than later, bully for you. There are enough comics to go around for everyone.

Phil Southern said...

Bookstores, music outlets and DVD sales all function on the "Street Date" concept, wherein they receive the product a date before the on-sale date. Having only done the pull a handful of times, I would imagine such a concept would decrease stress and increase store professionalism across the board.

Shelton Drum said...

Phil is absolutely right. We should be trusted to keep a street date and get our books at least a day early. Diamond's requirement to have at least 2 stores to qualify for early shipping to process the order is absurd. There are single store operations... I can think of at least one offhand... that order and process as much as 5 times the product that some multi-store operations around the country do. Does Diamond think we have less processing needs than a chain-store of 2 or 3 locations doing half of our volume? The early shipment criteria should be determined by volume as well as logistics. Don't think I haven't voiced my opinion to the "Gods of Baltimore."

Anonymous said...

Very well stated, Shelton!

Incidentally, I was wondering if you had a chance to send me that Heroes Con 2005 documentary dvd that I never received from Chimera Media, although since we haven't spoken since Christmas 2006, I should probably give you a call! :-)