And the times continue to be changing. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Diamond Comics Distributors was the exclusive distribution outlet for all monthly comics and most book format products in the US. That has changed. The shutdown of distribution caused by the lockdowns last March exposed a single point of failure weakness in the distribution. Since then, DC Comics has left Diamond all together, and many smaller distributors have come up with different distribution plans.
Today Marvel Comics announced that they are going to be using Penguin Random House as their exclusive distributor. This adds a layer of abstraction between Diamond and Marvel. Diamond will continue to service the direct market comic shops as a wholesaler, but this allows for other wholesaler agreements as well as the possibility of direct distribution to the retail locations.
As always these decisions are financially driven. Publishers saw their revenue affected by the real world pandemic and are looking for the best ways to insulate themselves from that in the future.
You can read the full press release from Marvel below:
New York, NY – March 25, 2021 – Marvel Comics and Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS), a division of Penguin Random House, the renowned trade book publisher, today announced an exclusive worldwide multi-year sales and distribution agreement for Marvel’s newly published and backlist comic books, trade collections, and graphic novels to comics shops, known as the Direct Market. PRHPS officially begins its distribution to Direct Market retailers for all Marvel titles starting October 1.
Penguin Random House Publisher Services will begin Marvel’s Direct Market distribution this October. New Marvel comics will continue to be available on Wednesdays at comic shops everywhere.
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. 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 entire history is built on telling great stories. And as we’ve seen for decades, those stories go hand in hand with equipping the comic shops who share them. Marvel and Penguin Random House stand by that vision, and we are excited to build and expand those opportunities for our talent, retailers, and fans,” said Dan Buckley, President of Marvel Entertainment. “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.” Continue reading “Marvel Announces Exclusive Agreement to Distribute Marvel Comics and Graphic Novels With Penguin Random House”