Bleeding Cool ran the news earlier today, that Marvel Comics was to be exclusively distributed to comic shops by Penguin Random House. But that stores can still order through Diamond – just that Diamond will now be a customer of Penguin Random House, like every comic shop. There may be some amortisation of shipping costs still ordering through Diamond, as retailers will get their Marvel Comics alongside their Image, Dark Horse, Boom, IDW, Valiant, Oni, Vault, Dynamite and the rest.
But, as Bleeding Cool summarised, "You can order Marvel through Diamond and through PRH. But PRH won't charge you freight." Which led retailer Randall Begins to tell us "then I think my life just got a lot better." This will be the difference for many retailers between the DC/Lunar/UCS move away from Diamond and the Penguin/Random House switch. Lunar increased costs for most by adding new shipping changes. Penguin Random House will take existing charges away.
This is some of the reaction to the news from comic book folk. Most of them are staying schtum and looking to the runes (or the private slacks). But some have things to say right now in social media.
David Gallaher: This is significant. Congratulations to Marvel and Random House. When I was at RandomHouse about a decade ago at this point — my supervisors had already paved the way for getting into the direct market. PRH had the staff, the passion, and the resources to make this work. I cannot wait.
Eric Reynolds: Put into layman's terms, Marvel leaving Diamond for Penguin Random House is like breaking up with Doctor Doom to date Galactus? Or something like that? Like Marvel distro just entered the Multiverse?
Shane M. Bailey: So DC leaves Diamond, Ahoy, Vault Comics, AWA Studios, Red 5 Comics, Behemoth, Z2 Comics, and Scout Comics all go to Simon & Shuster for book distribution, and now Marvel leaves for Penguin. This is fascinating. I only wonder why it took so damn long.
Joe Bryan: This is the death of Diamond. The affect this will have on your LCS's and Indy Publishers can't be overstated. It's going to be a whole new world for comic fans.
Juanfer Lopez: This isn't the death of Diamond. Marvel books will still be getting distributed by them. On the other hand, this is great for retailers as now Diamond has competition and will have to adjust their business practices accordingly
Steve Bryant: I love that Penguin/Random House is entering into direct market distribution. Thinking back to when there were multiple direct market distributors, I wish Marvel weren't exclusive with them. That said, I'm still hoping that this strengthens the DM, as well as comics in general.
Mike Avila: HUGE comics news: @Marvel + Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS) sign exclusive deal for Penguin RH to distribute Marvel's comics/trades/GNs to the direct market. devastating blow to Diamond, as Marvel makes up at least 1/2 their business.
Graeme MacMillan: All comic publishers that aren't DC or Marvel: Now's probably a great time to see if you can renegotiate your contracts with Diamond.
Mitch Gerads: All my best to the shops out there who now have to boycott DC AND Marvel.
Pete Woods: Things to consider- Does this mean your LCS now will have to compete with chain bookstores? Will Marvel focus their content for longer shelf life? If this sinks Diamond or- more likely- forces cutbacks what happens to small publishers?
Adam Knave: Diamond's press team sent a single page response, packaged in a 9×9 foot box, with no packing materials.
Pat Brosseau: Bye, Diamond…
Morgan Perry: This is MAJOR. More-so than DC's switch to Lunar, imo… Having additional distribution methods isn't a bad thing. Is it more work for comic shops? Yes. But independent bookstores have been working with multiple distributors for years. Having competition creates a need to develop better customer service practices, benefits, and terms. This is going to change a lot things. How it changes them, we will have to wait and see. So free freight is on the table for retailers. What does this mean? Most comic shops will find this appealing as freight/shipping at other distributors has been a sticking point, This could broaden the distro for periodicals to indie bookstores. Also, please do not panic and freak out your LCS just yet. This new distro deal begins with October-Shipping books. There will be a lot of information for retailers to process in the next weeks/months as they potentially look into onboarding.
Steph Hocutt: I've had a very interesting first few weeks at PRH to say the least, haha!
Gerry Conway: Heads are exploding today at Diamond…and at every publisher that distributes through them. This could be as bad for comics as Martin Goodman's distribution problems in the late 1950s.
Dylan Todd: My official statement on the Marvel/Diamond split: LMAO
Tom Ward: Everyone praising Marvel for bailing and Diamond but I have always sealed every single comic I've sold with a kiss and sent it directly to the fans with nothing but the raddest of vibes.
Jennifer de Guzman: I don't blame Marvel! If anything, this will make the direct market better.I don't blame Marvel! If anything, this will make the direct market better.
Ian Brill: We wondered what Marvel and DC would be now that their corporate parents are more involved. Leaving Diamond makes sense. Working with Diamond often feels absurd, but inertia kept it powerful. Not surprised the suits looked at things and asked if there's anything better.
Susana Polo: Took a day off for my birthday last year, DC left Diamond. Was out for a few hours to get a shot, Marvel "left" Diamond. What I'm getting from this is I should take time off WAY more
Kris N: Diamond is bad. But what happens to all the smaller publisher and books that they were carrying? Geppi is more likely to close up shop entirely than try to make money on those thin margins. Idk this marvel news is crazy.
Dennis Barger: You can only kick the shitout of someone's stuff for so long before they say "no mas"
Randall Begins: Now that Marvel has made their big move, let's see where the other publishers go. I'm kinda hoping DC goes to Penguin as well. Lunar has disappointed me enough times I'm ok with DC going to Penguin. For the love of God Penguin better have good customer service.
Scott Rienbeck: Are they trying to make our jobs as hard as possible????
Tony Puryear: Penguin Random House did a very good job distributing my book, Concrete Park, and other books for Dark Horse. They are RUTHLESS when it comes to deadlines though. RUTHLESS. I admire that. Wish more of my comics friends tried to emulate that, lol.
Mike Sterling: So Diamond is going to continue providing Marvel comics 'n' stuff to the direct market, but possibly with a change in discount levels to make up for the fact that they're ALSO wholesaling product from the new distributor. I don't know if that means Diamond will get stuff later, or if they'll have a deal with Random House to get material early enough to pack and redistribute. At any rate, Diamond will HAVE to step up their shortage/damage prevention, not just with Marvel product, but with ALL the companies that also have preexisting relationships w/RH (like Dark Horse, IDW and Archie) to avoid them moving their business over, too. But with the pending loss of income (presumably) I don't know if Diamond will be able to afford to.