Marvel has announced a new agreement with Penguin Random House Publisher Services to distribute their comics and graphic novels to the direct market, beginning Oct. 1.
The deal is “an exclusive worldwide multi-year sales and distribution agreement for Marvel’s newly published and backlist comic books, trade collections and graphic novels to comics shops.”
This effectively replaces Diamond Comics Distributors as Marvel’s route to comic book stores. Diamond, however, will still act as a wholesaler and will receive product through Penguin, so retailers can still choose to order Marvel’s products through them.
“Marvel’s entire history is built on telling great stories. And as we’ve seen for decades, those stories go hand in hand with equipping the comic shops who share them. Marvel and Penguin Random House stand by that vision, and we are excited to build and expand those opportunities for our talent, retailers and fans,” said Dan Buckley, President of Marvel Entertainment. “Comics are the core of the Marvel Universe, and we are confident this new partnership will continue to grow and evolve this resilient industry. We look forward to advancing our capabilities with PRHPS to serve our fans and the Direct Market. We thank Diamond for their many years of support and partnership as we continue our relationship with them in other areas.”
Hachette Book Group will continue to manage distribution of Marvel’s graphic novels and trade collections to the book market.
“This is an exciting time for comics, and we’re thrilled to partner with Marvel in taking the next steps to support the growth of the marketplace, together with our Direct Market retail partners,” said Jeff Abraham, President of Penguin Random House Publisher Services. “Based on the foundation of our relationships with physical retailers, we’re confident in the significant growth of the comic book industry and welcome the opportunity to further collaborate with and invest PRHPS’ resources in the Direct Market. Combining the standard-setting supply chain and sales capabilities of PRH with Marvel’s renowned universe of stories and characters, we expect to reach even more fans of its artists and writers throughout the world.”
Marvel follows DC in replacing Diamond as their distributor. Last year DC began working with Lunar and UCS to distribute their product to comic shops, eventually dropping UCS and going exclusively with Lunar. Scout Comics is also going through Lunar now, in addition to Diamond.
Interestingly, Penguin Random House distributes DC’s graphic novels to comic shops and bookstores, but not Marvel’s. Penguin also has similar relationships with Archie Comics, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse Comics and Kodansha Comics for graphic novels, so it might be possible we could see other publishers make a switch on comics in the future.
Update: Steve Geppi from Diamond has issued a statement on the news:
“We value our almost 40-year relationship with Marvel and are pleased that we will continue selling Marvel products to the Direct Market and other channels. The change Marvel announced today represents a behind-the-scenes shift in how Diamond interacts with Marvel for certain products, but does not impact our ability to supply our customers with Marvel comics, trades, and graphic novels. I expect the discount terms under which our retail partners order these Marvel products to change, and Diamond will communicate that information to our customers well in advance of any adjustments. While there are still details of this new arrangement to work through, my leadership team and I are committed to making this supply change as operationally seamless as possible for our retail partners and we look forward to our continued distribution of Marvel products.“