All Four Distributors Together For The First Time At ComicsPRO, Today
Today, at ComicsPRO, for the first time, Diamond, Penguin Random House, Lunar and Universal will be in the same room talking to retailers
We mentioned this before, when talking about C.B. Cebulski going to ComicsPRO, starting today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown until the 25th of February. The ComicsPRO retailer summit is being held again in person for the first time in three years. The last one held in person was Portland in February 2020 … right before the shutdowns.
One of the big changes since then has been the shift in distribution. Before the pandemic, there was just one major distributor to the direct market of comic book stores, Diamond Comic Distributors. Diamond shutting down saw them forced to break their exclusive contracts with Marvel and DC Comics, which saw those publishers set up other distribution solutions.
Today, at ComicsPRO, for the first time, those four remaining major distributors will be in the same room and will be talking to retailers, Diamond, Penguin Random House, Lunar Distributors and Universal Distribution.
- Diamond lost DC Comics, aside from in the UK, and lost exclusivity to Marvel, IDW and Dark Horse. They do have exclusive deals with Image, Dynamite, Boom, Ablaze, Aftershock, Titan Comics and Frank Miller Presents.
- Lunar Distributors has DC Comics exclusivity as well as for Merc and AEW. They non-exclusively also now distribute Oni, Scout, Vault, CEX and more.
- Penguin Random House has exclusive distribution for Marvel Comics, Dark Horse and IDW, though they allow third party sub-distribution through Diamond.
- And Universal mainly deals with the Canadian market with DC Comics, but looks to b setting up Canadian deals with other publishers.
Last year a ComicsPRO survey of retailers revealed that retailers ranked Lunar high with regards to packing and minimizing damages but believed Lunar could improve their customer service. Retailers ranked Diamond high in terms of ease of website ordering, Point of Sale data handling, and having a wide selection of items to order. However, they ranked the distributor poorly in tems of shipping costs, citing average costs double others with worse packing protection. Retailers love the Free Shipping that PRH provides and ranked them high in having a wide selection of items but believe that they could improve integration of their data with Point of Sale Systems. Look for distributors. Retailers are really going to be asking a lot of questions, because with four distributors, retailers have lots of choices now, but also a lot of work that they need to do.
I also understand that the principle of variant covers is going to be a major discussion point at the show. I hope C.B. Cebulski will be there to pass it on to David Gabriel.
Companies planning to attend will include 2000 AD/Rebellion Publising, A Wave Blue World, Anomaly Productions, Bad Idea Comics, Battle Quest Comics, BCW Supplies, BINC, Book County Clearance House, Boom Studios, CEX Publishing, Comic Shop Assistant, Comic Hub, DC, Diamond Comic Distributors, Humanoids, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Lunar Distribution, Mad Cave Studios, Manage Comics, Marvel, Oni Press, Opus Comics, Penguin Random House, ReedPop, Rocketship Entertainment, Scholastic, Skybound Entertainment, Source Point Press, TCG Player, Universal Distribution, Valiant Entertainment, Vault Comics, Visi8 Entertainment, Viz Media, and Yen Press.