Marvel Chooses New Distributor for Bookstore Market, Dumps Diamond Books

Marvel announced today that, effective September 1, 2010, their bookstore distribution will be handled by Hachette Book Group, not Diamond Book Distributors (their current vendor). However, they were careful to say that when it came to the direct (comic) market, they would be extending their exclusive distribution agreement with Diamond Comics. Hachette publishes their own books under a variety of imprints, of which the best-known is probably Little, Brown and Company, although they also own manga pub Yen Press, and distributes for many other publishers, including Harry N. Abrams, Chronicle Books, and Time Inc. Home Entertainment. From the press release:

Marvel book titles

“With Hachette’s overwhelming success in the book market, we can’t imagine a better partner as Marvel looks to expand its presence in the book market” said David Gabriel, Marvel Senior Vice President of Sales & Circulation. …

“Diamond Book Distributors has been very instrumental in the growth of our graphic novel business, nearly tripling our sales in the book market over the last five years, and we thank them for their efforts. The decision to switch book market distributors was a very difficult one but as evidenced by the extension of our Direct Market agreement, our working relationship with Diamond remains very close. We remain extremely appreciative of our Direct Market retailers and continue to grow that vital market.”

They certainly need the book market help, as we discussed here in August 2009. Marvel’s bookstore sales, from observation, are far below what they should be given their strong brands. It’s typical that they needed to include information to reassure direct market retailers, some of whom can be touchy about traditional comic publishers looking to grow other markets.

Some observers are speculating that the change was affected or caused by the Amazon sales glitch in March, in which many publishers distributed by Diamond Book saw prices on their products slashed, of which Marvel was the most widely affected. It’s unlikely, since we don’t know how long this change had been planned or discussed internally. It is surprising that Disney books (Marvel’s new corporate parent) are distributed not by Hachette but by HarperCollins, as Heidi MacDonald points out. She also talks with a Diamond Book VP who confirms that Marvel was their biggest client.

One Response to “Marvel Chooses New Distributor for Bookstore Market, Dumps Diamond Books”

  1. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] book program is, with key titles unavailable and the resulting poor sales. That’s a known problem, has been for years, so while Brian sums it up well, that’s not what I want to talk […]




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