Update, March 18, 2020 1:14PM EST: A Direct Market comic book retailer has informed Newsarama that Diamond has informed him that ‘Free Comic Book May’ plans (see below) were not finalized by the distributor and that the statement announcing the plans was not meant for public reporting.
FCBD founder Joe Field has criticized the plan, calling it "not a feasible solution."
We’ll continue to update this story as new information becomes available.
Original Story, March 18, 2020 11:45AM EST: Diamond Comics Distributors has announced that it will extend Free Comic Book Day, planned to take place May 2, will now proceed as Free Comic Book May, in which free FCBD releases will be distributed throughout the month instead of on a single day, to minimize risk of exposure to coronavirus, which has prompted many governments and municipalities to limit public gatherings of 10 or more people.
"To minimize the impact on our primary distribution operations, prioritizing the distribution of weekly new comics and restocks, a number of FCBD titles will be included with each regular weekly shipment for the next several weeks. These titles will be invoiced at no charge, as we extend the billing out approximately 90 days, to the first week in August. The books may not be in separate boxes from the rest of the shipment, except when full cases are shipping," reads a statement from Diamond's Steve Geppi sent to retailers on Wednesday (via ComicBook).
"With a longer period to utilize the books before being invoiced, retailers will be free to use the books in whatever manner suits their individual marketing needs, beginning May 2, 2020."
"We anticipate stores needing to be creative in how they hold events, perhaps having to distribute the books in new ways or to smaller groups of customers than the single big day you typically experience," Geppi's statement continues. "To that end, we will be referring to the event as “Free Comic Book May” and retailers can use their online Comic Shop Locator Service / FCBD profiles to update customers on their plans."
A separate statement from Geppi further clarifies that Diamond's distribution centers have undergone strict protocols to minimize the potential spread of Coronavirus.