The PRH team has been meeting with ComicsPRO and several retailers since the PRH/Marvel announcement was made in order to understand the needs of direct market retailers and make sure these needs are fulfilled. They are paying close attention to past similar situations to avoid making mistakes. They chose to announce six months in advance of the first comics FOC in order to give retailers enough time for adjustment.
ComicsPRO has talked with them at great length about the importance of accurate data, POS integration, control over damages, buying clubs, and more. With each conversation, we have communicated updates with ComicsPRO members, making us the most up-to-date on the information that is most useful to us and our day-to-day operations.
Down below are some things that retailers should understand about the PRH/Marvel switchover. It’s not a complete list, but it should give you enough information to get up and running with PRH.
(Note: This is our understanding of how things stand as of July 14, 2021. We are providing this information as a service for store-front retailers. It’s not mean to replace any information put out by Penguin Random House. Please check with PRH if you want to verify anything).
Setting up an Account:
Once you are set up with a comics account, when you login to the PRH site you will immediately see information about FOC, Marvel, and links to the current catalogues, right on the main page.
Terms with PRH
PRH provides a 50% discount with free shipping to all accounts. Your discount is not tied to any purchasing threshold. 60 Day end of month terms are available to accounts in good standing, but you can also pre-pay via credit card. Please check with your PRH credit rep for any other payment options.
All shipments are free from PRH. This includes your regular shipments, restocks, and damage replacements.
They are looking into an LTL option for customers whose shipments would qualify.
Books and comics will be shipping from two different warehouses. Books will be coming from the central PRH warehouses, however a new warehouse has been built to handle comics. Additionally, replenishment shipments will come separately from new releases.
PRH is very aware of the concerns around damages and have been working hard to develop strategies to handle this. For one, they have been working on a new box for comics and met with a ComicsPRO member for a hands-on tutorial on the advantages and disadvantages of the current boxes.
The average length of employment of PRH warehouse staff is 19 years. Every quarter, they refresh their training on shipping and packaging. They address significant issues thoroughly.
Ordering with PRH
Once you are set up with PRH, you can place orders through their website.
PRH has done a great job of creating a monthly catalogue of all the comic shop relevant publishers they carry. This includes:
- Archie Comics
- Dark Horse
- DC Comics
- Dial Books
- DK Publishing
- Little Golden Books
- Random House Kids
- Seven Seas
Once you are logged in, you can use the search box to order your backlist item(s). You can search for books, authors, series. PRH has recently overhauled its whole site, with another update coming with comics FOC, and it is extremely easy to use.
Manga has all been tagged with the word “manga” in the title, so you can use that as a search term and then filter by things like publisher, format, availability, and more.
For FOC/Initial Order, you can select a catalogue.
You can also filter the data by using the filters down the left hand side of the screen to filter by FOC date, publisher, and more.
When adding items to your cart(s), please note that some items are labeled “Add to FOC Cart” and others are labeled “Add to Cart”.
‘Add to Cart’ is generally for backlist and reorder items. ‘Add to FOC Cart’ is for items not out yet and with an upcoming Order cutoff date.
Once you check out, you will see your backlist stuff put in the General Cart. And the FOC stuff put in a cart by FOC date. Make sure you view the carts and confirm! You MUST check out your cart(s) at the end of the process, otherwise they are not committed.
Each month, a new catalogue will be made available on the PRH website which includes all the above publishers.
FOC is every Monday at 11:59pm EST, and will be locked each week on Thursday. The first time comics will be added on the website will be July 23rd with the first official FOC happening sometime later.
Currently, FOC will only allow you to adjust initial orders up. The PRH team is working on allowing a full editable FOC, but this will not be ready until the fall.
Switching from Diamond (or not)
You are not required to select a specific distributor for your Marvel comics. You can order from both PRH and Diamond if you so choose. At least until the end of 2021, these will be the only two sources for Marvel comics. It is possible that PRH may choose to wholesale to other distributors in the future, once they feel that their current system is stable.
All items listed on Diamond with the vendor name Marvel PRH are subject to the new discount terms at Diamond, discount code M. Several of these collected editions were offered in the June Initial Orders catalogue. Those items will be cancelled by Diamond and resolicited under the new terms at FOC.
All books and comics with an on-sale date of October 1st 2021 or later will be subject to the new discount structure at Diamond.
Not sure what your discount is? On the Diamond website, under My Account Overview, you’ll find Your projected Marvel Discount Tier, as well as your average monthly product invoicing. The Terms of Sale on the Diamond website have not been updated, so for more information, visit this Diamond Daily article: https://retailerservices.diamondcomics.com/DiamondDaily/108/251860
FOC for Marvel comics and books with Diamond is on Sunday, as Diamond has to put their order in with PRH to meet their Monday FOC deadline. This differs from the FOC deadline if you are ordering directly from PRH which is Monday.
There is a dedicated customer service team, which includes Matthew Klein, formerly of Valiant, as well as former Diamond staff. This allows them to have greater understanding of our needs.
As a PRH customer, you should be getting a weekly Marvel Mailer in your inbox that includes upcoming FOC information, as well as title updates, promos, and more.
Information on your customer service rep can be found under Account –> Account Reps
You can reach customer service at 1-877-888-2918 or by emailing CSComicMarket@prh.com
Submitting a damages claim is extremely easy. As long as you are under $150 in damages you will simply select Orders from the top right of your screen on the website. Then select the invoice that has the damages and click on Place Claim at the top right.
This will bring up a list of the books in the invoice. Select each one and choose the quantity and reason for the claim. By default, PRH does NOT replace books, so make sure you toggle on the request for replacements, if you so choose.
If you are over $150, you will need to submit the claim with your customer service representative.
These damages will be replenished separately from your regular shipment, so that you can get them faster for your customers.
There is a physical print catalogue that you can order on FOC at whatever quantity you choose. You will be ordering this from PRH or Diamond as you choose, but this will no longer autoship at the same quantities as your Previews order.
Marvel is still committed to participating in FCBD and PRH is too.
This program will be continuing with PRH.
Point of Sale systems
PRH is invested in working with the various POS systems. They have their own data needs (comics are a very small fish in their very big pond), so it is up to each POS provider to work to integrate that data. That said, they are very clear on the importance of series codes and are using the existing Marvel series codes and then creating their own for new series, which will be unique from Diamond series codes.
Downloads of publisher data and cover images are available via csv on the Catalogue page for each month. Updates to this information will be provided in the Marvel Mailer as well as in the News section (top right). Cover data is updated at 10pm EST every night and provided in a single zip file, within which you can find each individual file.
You can choose location from the Location dropdown at the top left. You will create a cart for each location and you must check out the cart at each location.
PRH are aware that establishing qualifiers for ratio variants is to occur across all locations within an account.
Comics for Canadian accounts will also ship from the central PRH warehouse in the US. Shipping is free. Books will continue to be shipped from the PRH Canada warehouse.
The 50% discount is off the Canadian cover price. It is not a discount off the US cover price, converted to Canadian dollars. This allows for much more informed control of ordering. As there are no Canadian cover prices on comics, the discount will be off a par US cover price. The possibility of including a Canadian cover price in the future is very much up in the air at this time.
Aleks Wrobel is the head of the Canadian Direct Market Sales Team, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For More Information
For more information, you can consult the robust FAQ on the PRH website: https://selfservice-help.penguinrandomhouse.biz/ This FAQ contains information for traditional book stores as well, but any comics retail questions are noted with the descriptor “Direct Market” in the title.