Milton Griepp, one of the founders of the direct market comics distribution model, is getting back into comics distro…..sort of. On his ICv2 news site, he just announced ICv2 Direct“a new platform for sales direct from publishers to stores.”
The idea is to make it easy for stores to order directly from publishers…which sounds simple, but often isn’t.
On ICv2 Direct, retailers will be able to order from multiple publishers with a single account on an easy-to-use platform. ICv2 will process the order, send the orders (and payment) to publishers, and publishers will ship retailer orders directly out of their inventory to stores.
“We started working on ICv2 Direct during Covid, and we’re proud to finally bring it to market,” ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp said of the launch. “It’s been clear for some time that the supply chain for game and comic stores has a problem with backlist, lesser-known, and limited-quantity products that may not be as profitable to stock at distributors. More and more publishers are building the capacity to ship directly to stores. We’re launching ICv2 Direct to help retailers looking to source those products in a convenient way, and to help publishers looking to connect with retailers that can sell their products. Thousands of stores and hundreds of publishers visit ICv2 for our daily business news, and we’re going to help connect them in a new way that will benefit the entire industry.”
ICv2-D (as I’m calling it) won’t have any inventory – it’s just an ordering system.. Like I said, a simple idea, so simple I’m wondering why no one ever thought of it before. In some ways it’s like Bookshop.org, another project that opened just before the pandemic hit but became an important conduit for surviving those times. Bookshop.org offers tons of books on its platform (we use its affiliate links when possible) but orders are fulfilled by the giant wholesaler Ingram.
Griepp co-founded Capital City Distribution, one of the largest comics distributors of the previous multi-distributor era, which was a sturdy competitor to Diamond until the whole Marvel/Heroes World debacle put everyone but Diamond out of business. So he certainly knows the game and how it’s played.
I spoke with him briefly about the venture and I noted that it’s mostly for small publishers who have a hard time getting their product through the current PRH/Lunar/Diamond system. And there are certainly a lot of small publishers out there, and seemingly more all the time. Retailers complain all the time about having to use so many different distributors, so having smaller publishes aggregated in one place could be a time saver for them.
Retailers interested in setting up an account can click here.
Publishers interested in becoming an ICv2 Direct seller can click here.