In a move that is causing quite a stir in the industry, Marvel Comics has announced its switching distributors, moving from Diamond Comic Distributors to Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS). This is an exclusive worldwide multi-year sales and distribution agreement for new and backlist comics, trade collections, and graphic novels that covers comic shops (aka the Direct Market). PRHPS officially starts sending out Marvel titles on October 1st, 2021.
“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.”
“This is an exciting time for comics, and we’re thrilled to partner with Marvel in taking the next steps to support the growth of the marketplace, together with our Direct Market retail partners,” said Jeff Abraham, President of Penguin Random House Publisher Services. “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.”
Direct Market retailers can order Marvel products direction from Penguin Random House or through Diamond as a wholesaler under terms established by Diamond in the US and the UK. Hachette Book Group will continue to manage distribution of Marvel’s graphic novels to the book market.
Marvel and PRHPS will be sharing more information with retailers in the coming weeks and months.
This is a major blow to Diamond after losing DC Comics last year. With more options to retailers, it makes me wonder how this will affect the retailers and other publishers. Plus, will books be made returnable? That would be a seismic shift that could serve as a major negotiating tactic.