In what is apparently an effort to correct the glitch thatcaused the wild discounting of graphic novels on Amazon.com, the onlineretailer has been forced to remove the buy buttons from all comics publishers distributedby Diamond Comics Distributors. Right now, graphic novels from Marvel, IDW,Dark Horse, Archaia, Image Comics, Top Shelf and others—comics publishers distributed by Diamond—cannotbe purchased on Amazon.com except through resellers.
A source knowledgeable about the situation told PW that Amazon has been forced totemporarily take down buy buttons for all titles supplied by Diamond in order to correct theproblem. According to the source, Amazon has to do an audit to figure out whichcustomers got books and at what prices. While the situation is temporary, thesource said, "there is no timetable for when this will be completed." The problem has also affected at least one prose book publisher, Night Shade Books, a science fiction house that is distributed by Diamond. The buy buttons were still off Friday morning.
In an e-mail response to questions about the removal of buy buttons, Amazon.com spokesperson Drew Herdener said, "We do not have enough inventory to satisfy all customers who ordered these books at the incorrect price. These customers will receive a $25 gift certificate for the inconvenience and misunderstanding."
However, his response seemed to address original questions posed about whether Amazon will honor purchases of mispriced titles and indeed there are many reports now of purchasers receiving $25 gift certificates instead of their original orders. However, it still remains unclear whether every single title distributed by Diamond is now out of stock. Amazon has not responded to PW's follow-up questions.
While neither Amazon nor Diamond has commented officiallyon the cause of the pricing snafu, there has been speculation that the glitch was caused byerroneous data entry by Diamond Book Distributors, the trade book unit of Diamond Comics Distributors. The removal of buy buttons on Diamond-distributed titles seems to confirm that scenario. Graphic novel titles fromcomics publishers distributed by Random House (DC Comics), Simon & Schuster (Boom! Studios andViz Media), HarperColllins (Tokyopop), FSG (Drawn and Quarterly) and W.W. Norton (Fantagraphics)are all available for sale on Amazon.com.
News that Amazon stopped selling all Diamond distributed titles was reported on the comics news blog The Beat. And over at Bleeding Cool, the comics blog that first reported the pricing snafu, there are reports that the problem may be spreading to certain graphic novel listings at Barnes&Noble.com.