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Marvel Comics leaves Diamond Distribution
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Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Kennywood
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Marvel Says Goodbye to Diamond, Chooses New Comics Distributor in Penguin Random House
Charles Pulliam-Moore

After decades of Diamond Comics serving as the exclusive distributor of Marvel’s comics to the direct market, the House of Ideas is moving on to greener, slightly less monopolistic pastures in a move that might signal a larger industry shift.

In a press release, Marvel announced plans to partner with Penguin Random House to bring new comics to the direct market beginning this October. Diamond first became Marvel’s exclusive distributor back in 1997 following Marvel’s failed attempt years before at bringing all of its distribution in-house by buying Heroes World Distribution. In response to Marvel’s initial go at independence back in the mid-‘90s, Diamond gobbled up as many contracts as it could with smaller distributors like Capital City Distribution and turned itself into the only other player on the board. By the time Marvel was looking at bankruptcy in the late-‘90s, the company basically had no choice but to work with Diamond and did so for almost 25 years. Now, though, that’s all changing.

“After a thorough analysis of the market environment, Marvel has chosen Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS) as its distribution partner to create a sustainable, productive supply chain and enhanced infrastructure for Marvel publications that will benefit comics retailers and fans alike for years to come,” Marvel stated plainly in its announcement. “Penguin Random House is known for its state-of-the-art multi-ranging services that enable independent booksellers to increase efficiency and profitability.”

Marvel’s move comes months after longtime competitor DC Comics made a similar pivot away from Diamond last year as the comics industry was rocked by the covid-19 pandemic. In response to the unexpected challenges presented by the early days of the pandemic last year, comic book publishing companies and distributors like Diamond alike were forced to find ways to keep things running at a time when comic book stores themselves were shuttering across the country.

In response to Marvel’s announcement, Diamond CEO Steve Geppi expressed his fond memories of the relationship his company’s had with the comics giant, and emphasized that while Diamond will no longer distribute Marvel’s comics, it will continue to move other items for them.

“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,” Geppi told Newsarama. “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.”

Geppi’s insistence that everything’s fine could be honest, but his warning of discounts shifting suggests that Diamond may see Marvel’s move as an adversarial one meant to impact its bottom line. As Newsarama also points out, the only way Diamond will be able to sell Marvel’s books—you know, the thing they’re known for—is to buy them as a wholesaler from Penguin Random House and then distributing them to comics stores that have established relationships with Diamond. That may be something that Diamond can do, but with Marvel taking matters into its own hands and presumably offering to move product to the direct market without Diamond’s involvement, one has to imagine that store owners are looking forward and contemplating whether the time to switch things up a bit more has come.

Gizmodo.com

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Lucy Van Pelt: How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
 
Posts: 7298 | Location: the wonderful state of Denial | Registered: January 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I talked with two shop owners with two vastly different responses to this news
The first told me that since most of his profits are in toys and statues that losing a bit of a discount on Marvel comics is not going to hurt him too much. Back issue sales are way up. Current issue sales have been lagging for years. The cost per issue has moved more people to trade paperback format and digital has changed the buying habits of a lot of customers. He calls himself more of a “pop culture” store then a comic book store now, even though comics is in his shop’s name.
The other owners said that margins were so thin and already getting the Covid punch are it. He expects to close down by the end of the year. I should note that his shop is pretty
Much comics only.
 
Posts: 5708 | Location: Meridian, Mississippi | Registered: November 23, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The other owners said that margins were so thin and already getting the Covid punch are it. He expects to close down by the end of the year. I should note that his shop is pretty much comics only.[/QUOTE]

Just the other day, while I was watching a rerun of a Big Bang episode, I was struck by a line Sheldon said to Stuart, the comic book store owner.

Don't have the exact quote but it went along the lines of, be happy I'm supporting you "I can get anything here online'. Now that episode had to be 10 years old at least.

I honestly don't know how any brick and mortar comic book or card store stays in business after this unless they are in a very good location and have diversified inventory that isn't dependent on a single hobby.

Wait till later this year or next, when regulations ease up and landlords want back rent or raise the rent to make up for losses. Weak or cash strapped store owners, really of all varieties, will be closing up in a new wave.

Maybe that's another good reason for Marvel to break away from Diamond, as DC did already. The direct market has lost and will be losing more places to go and they don't need Diamond's monopoly.
 
Posts: 8332 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My wife and I live 10 minutes away from where I went to college, back in the early 1990s.

Sad to say, last year the comic store that I used to frequent in my college days closed after 29 years. Frown It was the end of a era for me.
 
Posts: 4448 | Location: Bayonne, NJ, USA | Registered: May 06, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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One local comic shop stopped selling trading cards years ago. They were staying alive selling Magic cards and hosting games in the store. It experimented with G.I. Joe and other action figures from the 90's along with Disney stuff and souvenir superhero glasses. It still has a big selection of comics, graphic novels, and Magic cards.

Another shop also has a big assortment of comics but has more toys and is still selling some 90's cards. Both still have walls of old collector comics. I wonder if those are slipping in value.

Jess


quote:
Originally posted by Raven:
The other owners said that margins were so thin and already getting the Covid punch are it. He expects to close down by the end of the year. I should note that his shop is pretty much comics only.


Just the other day, while I was watching a rerun of a Big Bang episode, I was struck by a line Sheldon said to Stuart, the comic book store owner.

Don't have the exact quote but it went along the lines of, be happy I'm supporting you "I can get anything here online'. Now that episode had to be 10 years old at least.

I honestly don't know how any brick and mortar comic book or card store stays in business after this unless they are in a very good location and have diversified inventory that isn't dependent on a single hobby.

Wait till later this year or next, when regulations ease up and landlords want back rent or raise the rent to make up for losses. Weak or cash strapped store owners, really of all varieties, will be closing up in a new wave.

Maybe that's another good reason for Marvel to break away from Diamond, as DC did already. The direct market has lost and will be losing more places to go and they don't need Diamond's monopoly.[/QUOTE]
 
Posts: 1943 | Location: San Jose, CA, USA | Registered: December 23, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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