Following a similar move that DC Comics made last summer, Marvel has decided to leave Diamond Distribution and make Penguin Random House Publisher Services their exclusive distributor or comic books and graphic novel to comic shops and book stores.
Penguin Random House will now distribute all Marvel and DC content to book stores (primarily graphic novels). The main difference between the distribution models between DC and Marvel is that Marvel will now distribute all printed content to comic shops (including traditional comic book) through Penguin Random House and DC uses Penguin Random House as their book store distributor and Lunar Distribution as their comic book distributor to the direct comic market.
To add a further wrinkle, Diamond Comics (the largest distributor for all comic books and graphic novels in the United States and Europe prior to Marvel’s switch) will continue to be a distribution option for local comic shops as the company recently sealed a deal with Penguin Random House to do so. It now appears that retailers will have a choice between Penguin Random House and Diamond in terms of where they get their Marvel-branded content from (Diamond will still deliver Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW, etc. to local stores).
Many retailers are certainly examining their options and how they can deliver the most content to customers at the most competitive prices. The move also represents an ever-growing shift towards graphic novels vs. monthly comics, which will also impact local stores.
Stay tuned to Conskipper for more industry news about these seismic distribution shifts.