Rich Johnston's Lying in the Gutters is always must-reading (it's probably my favorite comic-book column, and one that I will drop everything else to read whenever it goes live), but this week's lead story is especially alarming.
While everyone is dancing around about how great it is that the bookstore market is picking up on comics and manga is booming, Diamond is teaming up with reader apathy and retailer difficulty and publisher talent-raiding to help stomp out the flames of the small press. There's so much great work out there that's being read by about 1% of the comics reading audience, and the decision to enforce a sharper sales cutoff on an already-struggling group seems to be an acknowledgement by what is essentially the monopoly of getting comics to the average reader that up-and-coming creators and a healthy small press is irrelevant to their view of the medium.
Diamond gets a lot of unfair flak in doing what is a tremendously difficult job. But they also get a lot of completely fair flak about favoring the larger publishers, and this is a particularly good example of this kind of thing.