Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 12, 2010

Hachette Book Group Announces It Will Handle Marvel's Book Distribution Starting September 1, 2010

imageThat's pretty much the content of the press release here. The Internet is festooned with any number of quotes on the matter; I'll spare you a repeat of those here as they all sound like they come out of the Quotemaker 3000. Marvel is staying with Diamond's comics arm for direct market distribution of those types of work.

The four issues company to company here are fairly obvious, I think, unless I'm missing something:

1) the effect on former distributor Diamond Books, whom practically no one to whom I speak regularly or semi-regularly thought would keep Marvel's book business for very long after the Disney deal. While there are several publishers happy with Diamond Books, and I bet Marvel's trade sales have grown with the distributor, the backstage gossip about Marvel's dissatisfaction with elements of their service was severe and convincing. DBD should be able to keep going without Marvel, but how much such moderate blows have a cumulative effect on Diamond's business will likely remain an item of interest for all industry watchers in the months ahead.

2) that Marvel's book business didn't go to HarperCollins, the group I believe already does the bulk of Disney publishing distribution, may yet yield a significant story on its own. Mostly it seems like one of those things you note and move on.

3) Hachette Book Group should benefit greatly from a major player in the still reasonably vital category of graphic novels and whatever related art books Marvel puts together.

4) the move may have a reciprocal effect on Marvel's trades program, still thought to be somewhat backwards when compared to other companies'. A great, big book distributor like Hachette can set certain benchmarks and identify certain priorities that can bring stability and order to a books program like Marvel's.

The move continues Marvel's post-bankruptcy era habit of partnering with really big companies, only this time it's the books rather than licensing and Disney ownership was involved rather than their acting on their own behalf.
posted 7:00 pm PST | Permalink

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