Another Comic Distributor Crisis Coming?

Colleen Doran [link no longer available] has news of another distributor bankruptcy, as of yesterday, December 29:

Advanced Marketing Services announced this morning that it has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company said it took the action after its bank, Wells Fargo, refused to extend its loan agreement beyond December 28, depriving the company of operating funds. Up until this point, Wells Fargo has routinely extended the credit agreement though AMS has been in violation of certain lending covenants, which include the distributor’s inability to file updated financial information for fiscal year 2004 and beyond.

Gee, if the company doesn’t know where its money went for the last three years, no wonder it went under. Colleen provides additional information on how this affects comics, specifically:

That’s two major distributor bankruptcies for Dark Horse in six years. LPC was the other distributor, taking a lot of Dark Horse money, as well as Image money, including a year’s worth of A Distant Soil retail sales, just as our GNs were getting their first decent orders in the retail trade. This comes at an especially sensitive time for Dark Horse, which is expecting windfall sales on 300 in anticipation of the release of Frank Miller’s film.

Update: Tom Spurgeon links to the press release and a list of the publishers they distributed through Publishers Group West, which they owned. Other comic or related companies I noticed on the list include Actionopolis/Komikwerks, Broccoli Books International, and Gigantic Graphic Novels. The PR claims “Chapter 11 protection will enable the Company to continue to conduct business in the normal course, make payments to vendors going forward, and continue delivering quality service and products to customers.

2 Responses to “Another Comic Distributor Crisis Coming?”

  1. Ali Kokmen Says:

    It may be worth realizing that Dark Horse’s graphic novels are apparently still distributed to the book trade by Diamond Book Distributors; PGW only handled Dark Horse’s newer DH Press and M Press imprints. Dark Horse’s exposure to any effects of the AMS/PGW bankruptcy might not be as great as one might at first think…

    (PGW also apparently handles some measure of international book distribution for Dark Horse’s graphic novels, but the press release about AMS’s bankruptcy indicates that “the Company’s international subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia, and their operations will not be affected.” so that might be huge factor.)

    It may also be worth noting that AMS has had been in the news for financial/accounting woes for years, so this bankruptcy, though perhaps not necessarily expected, might not be all that surprising either. Still, it’s Chapter 11, not Chapter 7, so there’s a chance the overall company will come out of this…

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yay! Informed commentary, as opposed to my pure speculation! Thanks so much for your insight.




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