After months of rumblings about Diamond Comics Distributors potentially changing either the shipping schedule of comic books or new comic book day itself, Diamond has announced that it will now offer retailers the option of receiving their new comics on Tuesday each week, for sale on Wednesday. As the company announced on its website this morning:

Effective in January, 2011, retailers in North America and the UK will have the option of "day-early" delivery of weekly product shipments on Tuesdays for sale on Wednesdays.

Day-early delivery – which will allow retailers more time to merchandise their stores and ready for customers on Wednesdays - will take effect with shipments delivered on Tuesday, January 11, that have a scheduled on-sale date of Wednesday, January 12.

Receiving the books a day in advance will make Wednesdays easier for comic book retailers for obvious reasons, most of all the ability to organize and display hundreds or thousands of single issues before customers start walking into the shop. The major stumbling block to earlier shipping has always been the publisher concern about spoilers; particularly when so much of the value of mainstream comics is orchestrated around the plot points and shocking reveals in each issue, an early spoiler can leak to the internet in no time, as when an advance-shipped "Blackest Night" #6 scans made their way to the web within 24 hours of reaching stores last December.

Retailers who wish to participate in the program will then be subject to a "mystery shopper compliance program," where an agent of Diamond visits the store anonymously visit the store and make sure that no embargo dates are broken.

Only time will tell what kind of impact the shipping change has on the proliferation of pirated scans and spoiler, but all in all, it seems like a big win for retailers, who favored the change with an overwhelming 75% in a Diamond survey. Asked about a shift to a Tuesday release date, 63% favored the Wednesday release date, where it is currently planned to remain.