Marvel Sucks up to Retailers With Direct Market-Only Book

Captain Trips wraparound cover
Limited gatefold cover for The Stand: Captain Trips Premiere Hardcover

Marvel has announced that The Stand: Captain Trips Premiere Hardcover

will be released exclusively to direct market retailers on March 10 at a special Stand Advance Release Opening at 9 PM local time. … [The book has] two stunning covers–one by the red-hot Lee Bermejo and a limited edition gatefold cover by [Mike] Perkins. King fans should know that both editions are available only in comic shops across the country, and through online comics and collected editions sellers.

Which leads me to several questions that aren’t answered in this puff PR:

  • How many days later will mass market retailers get their version?
  • Or maybe they get some other hardcover, without the Premiere name? You know that Marvel isn’t going to pass up the revenue stream of getting a book with Stephen King’s name on it into mainstream stores.
  • How worried should direct retailers be about those “online … collected editions sellers”, since that also describes Amazon? (Although I couldn’t find a listing there yet.)
  • How, exactly, do you stop Borders or Barnes & Noble from ordering this book through their Diamond accounts?

9 Responses to “Marvel Sucks up to Retailers With Direct Market-Only Book”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Isn’t the difference that direct market retailers buy their inventory outright, rather than on consignment? Theoretically, I guess Borders & B+N could buy it but that’s not how they do business. I don’t think this is different than how they usually release TPB/hardcover collections, it’s just that the ‘Stand’ is a bigger deal to the mainstream media.

  2. Caroline Says:

    (Amazon also gets books a couple weeks after comics stores most of the time, in my experience — i guess the online retailers they mean would be something like dcbs that lets you pre-order off the Diamond lists).

  3. Johanna Says:

    Yep, the bookstores can return books — which then sometimes make their way into the direct market.

    I wonder if the King books have been as successful as hoped for the comic market. Sometimes, these kinds of crossover items burn out quickly, and they don’t keep pulling non-comic shoppers into stores.

  4. Jer Says:

    Or maybe they get some other hardcover, without the Premiere name? You know that Marvel isn’t going to pass up the revenue stream of getting a book with Stephen King’s name on it into mainstream stores.

    I suspect that this is the answer, and that the “mass market edition” will show up in bookstores a month or so after the release to specialty shops (though I’m sure the name won’t be “mass market edition”).

    How, exactly, do you stop Borders or Barnes & Noble from ordering this book through their Diamond accounts?

    Collude with Diamond to have them use their monopolistic position in this area to prevent Borders and Barnes and Noble (and probably Amazon as well) from ordering it through them? Diamond would seem to have a strong incentive to get as many “non-returnable” copies out into the market as they can before opening up the spigot for returnable merchandise.

    Of course the big questions would then be “how cheesed off will the big booksellers be by this stunt?” and “will they do something about it?”

  5. Torsten Adair Says:

    From the press release, both editions are Direct Market only.

    Borders, B&N, etc. get Marvel titles from Diamond BOOK Distributors, not Diamond COMICS.

    Marvel produced the exclusive Masterwork volumes with B&N years ago, as well as that massive 6-volume Ultimate Spider-Man hardcover. We also had an exclusive cover of The Dark Tower.

    As a comics retailer, I’d be more concerned about the online retailers with Diamond Comics accounts. The King fan looking for this title will go online, and find it 20-30% off.

    If memory serves, B&N got copies of Marvel Zombies a few months after the DM did. Same with the MAD Archives. And when we did get Lost Girls, it was two months later, and it was the third printing. (No criticism for Top Shelf, as it was a big risk, and needed the Direct Market to pay the printer.)

    The big box retailers won’t be that cheesed off about it. We’ll just continue to sell other titles.

    How will Diamond keep copies away from the trade market? The same way they keep those DM-only Watchmen trade paperbacks away.

  6. Johanna Says:

    Diamond has two names, but the two companies aren’t all that separate. Plus, the stores that carry periodical comics (as some Borders, B&N, etc. do) have to order from Diamond Comics, since they’re the exclusive vendor for Marvel and DC et. al.

    Good point on the exclusive bookstore editions, I’d forgotten about those, thanks. And an excellent reminder about the different retailer moods — some direct market retailers take things personally, while some bookstore retailers just make the best of selling what sells.

  7. Tommy Raiko Says:

    “Plus, the stores that carry periodical comics (as some Borders, B&N, etc. do) have to order from Diamond Comics, since they’re the exclusive vendor for Marvel and DC et. al.”

    Even if those chain bookstores have occasionally sourced comics via Diamond Comic Distributors in the past, those that are carrying periodical comics are almost surely sourcing the majority of them through conventional magazine distributors–companies like Source Interlink or Anderson News or whomever else still exists in that business.

  8. Vid Says:

    Are there any real significant differences between a direct market tpb and one you buy from bookstores in general? I thought they were all the same more or less.

  9. Johanna Says:

    They are, unless the publisher purposefully does different editions. DC, for example, has done different covers for some books — the direct market one has characters, the bookstore one has a known author’s name in large letters.

    Tommy, are those distrib still carrying comics? I didn’t know.

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