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June 30, 2006


Why We Should Be Worried That Diamond Comic Distributors Rejected PictureBox, Inc.

More than a few people have taken notice this acidic post at the Comics Comics blog by PictureBox, Inc. driving force and head honcho Dan Nadel. Nadel speaks to the recent rejection of his line of books by Diamond Comic Distributors. Nadel's piece provides some unflattering details of the "no thank you," including individual appraisals of his much-praised line. It's a must-read.

imageHowever, I think it's important to emphasize that the troubling thing about Diamond giving such a flat "no" to PictureBox isn't that PictureBox has a bunch of fine books, even though they certainly do, or that festival audiences and a bookstore distributor with more prestige than Diamond are thus far very supportive of the material, although they have been, or that as a result Diamond's rejection reflects badly on Diamond, even though it probably does. The problem with this line of thinking is that it quickly devolves into a discussion of whether or not Diamond needs to support quality, high-end efforts, particularly in that they're essentially (although not legally) a monopoly in terms of distributing to the Direct Market of comic shops and hobby stores, or if they should concentrate on material that sells better in those markets. In general, I'm more supportive than most of Diamond making hard decisions about what it carries, to the point I would be happy to see a lot fewer comics in the Diamond Previews catalog, and lot of really restrictive penalties on abuses of the non-returnables system by nascent publishers.

What's actually at stake at this exact moment in time isn't the relative quality of material Nadel publishes. What should concern us is that Nadel through PictureBox has shown himself to be a savvy, competent publisher, and Diamond is taking a pass on him. PictureBox having a distribution deal with DAP doesn't impart upon Nadel's books some quality Diamond should be forced to acknowledge, but it certainly shows Nadel means business and has the ability to do business.

In other words, I strongly feel that Dan Nadel and PictureBox, Inc. deserve a chance to see if they can sell their books in the Direct Market. PictureBox is the kind of publisher Diamond should want to attract -- Nadel isn't in comics to play media rights lotto, and he won't come close to abusing the system with missing, late or poorly presented books. If Nadel only ends up being able to sell 15 copies each of his first dozen efforts through Diamond, then it's time for a different conversation. But for now, he deserves the Direct Market platform that only Diamond can provide.
 
posted 9:04 am PST | Permalink
 

 
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