The first Monday of the month is normally when the Top 300 lists are released — but against the great snowstorm, not even comics sales charts can stand. Power is out at the Diamond home offices in Timonium, Md., this morning, affecting all websites (including the Comics Shop Locator service), e-mail, and phone traffic, according to Cheryl Sleboda, Diamond's customer service manager for technical support. Sleboda writes on the Comic Book Industry Alliance forum that crews are working on the problem, and that Diamond hopes to reopen this afternoon.
The Memphis area, which has Diamond's huge Olive Branch, Miss., warehouse, has also seen several inches of snow this weekend, though no shipping problems have been reported. Winter 2010 has spared few corners of the comics universe!
Update: Dan Manser, Diamond's director of marketing, says Diamond's home office will not reopen today but will try again tomorrow (Tuesday the 9th). He also notes to the CBIA that the snow in Olive Branch may affect re-ships, some drop points, and customers serviced out of that location. The snow has not affected the drop points in Baltimore, although he notes that more is predicted.
Update #2: Manser reports that Diamond's website operations are back to normal. But the real-life challenges of shipping thousands of books across the continent every week were brought home by the news that the severe weather contributed to an accident involving a truck carrying comics to the Plattsburgh Distribution Center. "Unfortunately, this was major accident with two drivers hospitalized with serious injuries, and our thoughts and prayers are with each of them," Manser said on the CBIA forum.