Last year, DC Comics rocked the comic book direct market when it announced it was severing its decades-long partnership with Diamond Distributors as its exclusive distributor of its products to the direct market. A year later, Marvel Comics has followed suit announcing Thursday that it has selected Penguin Random House Publishers Services (PRHPS) as its new exclusive distributors of Marvel’s comic line to the direct market. The transition is expected to be completed when early solicits become available on May 26, 2021. However, Marvel is suggesting that retailers begin opening accounts with Penguin Random House now.
“After a thorough analysis of the market environment, Marvel has chosen 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 said in the announcement. “Penguin Random House is known for its state-of-the-art multi-ranging services that enable independent booksellers to increase efficiency and profitability.”
Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Entertainment, expressed his excited over the future of comics with the new partnership:
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.Dan Buckley,
President of Marvel Entertainment
Marvel also pointed to PRHPS’ success in supply chain operations and customer service as reason for making the move.
“PRH significantly extended and expanded its outreach to physical retail. Through its robust supply chain of rapid direct shipping, greater access to data, and premier customer service, PRH helped support healthier margins that led to a market turnaround,” said Marvel’s statement. “These past experiences and learnings will be invaluable when adapting for today’s physical retailers in the Direct Market.”
Jeff Abraham, PRHPS’ president also expressed great confidence in the success the new partnership will have on the comic book industry:
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.Jeff Abraham,
President of Penguin Random House Publishers Services
Diamond Distributors has not been completely cut off from Marvel’s business. The new arrangement allows for Diamond to serve as a wholesaler. The means that comic shops can continue to order their Marvel products from Diamond, but Diamond will have to order those books from PRHPS instead of them coming directly from Marvel.
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 productsSteve Geppi,
President & CEO of Diamond Distributors
What are your thoughts? Are Diamonds days numbered after this latest move from the second of the Big 2 publishers to leave the once-dominant distributor. Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.