Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Diamond in the rough: Steven Grant suggests a 21st century alternative to Diamond's byzantine Previews catalog by creating an online version, complete with five-page samples and a searchable database. I liked this paragraph:

"The main tool of promotion in comics is the Diamond Comics PREVIEWS catalog, a headache-inducing monthly 'phone book,' where, as Lemmy Caution put it in ALPHAVILLE 'many philosophers had gone astray, where even a secret agent could get lost.' Particularly once you get past the DC and Marvel sections at the front of PREVIEWS, finding a comic unless you're already specifically looking for it is like finding a precisely shaped snowflake in a blizzard."

His plan calls for Diamond to operate the database, and for most comics shops to have Internet access and, most likely, a computer station available for customer use.

It's an intriguing idea that, in the long run, might help retailers and publishers. But I can see it hobbled by a number of problems, namely the industry's resistance to change, from top to bottom. I wonder, too, how much money Diamond makes from sales of the "phone book," and how many "Talk Back" responses ICv2 would receive from retailers outraged by the mere suggestion that they should have Internet access in their stores.

Ah, well. It's an interesting thought, though.