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Penguin Random House Apologises for Marvel Comics Distribution Issues

One overseas retailer writes to Bleeding Cool regarding Penguin Random House distribution of Marvel Comics, saying;

During the summer I placed an order just to try them out and to get some backlist DC and Kodansha. I received my shipment in August and as you can see by the attached images it was in a terrible condition.  About 60-70% of the shipment was damaged and about 15-20% was so damaged it was unsellable. I reached out to PRH but they could not understand why it was so damaged.  I told them that the boxes were too weak and the packing material was non-existent so there was no protection for the books. Also they had packed things like the V for Vendetta book and mask in the bottom of a box with heavy books placed upon it.  After some discussion forth and back, eventually I destroyed all the very damaged books and they gave me a credit. Still, I made a loss considering the export and customs fees are quite high. So they were aware that the boxes and the way they packed it was insufficient at least two months before they started shipping out Marvel, still they did nothing.  They even asked me what I thought that they should do, and I told them to get sturdier boxes (or use double boxes like Diamond).  I even sent them pictures of how Diamond packs everything, which is actually quite good nowadays.  They had plenty of time to take action, but they just ignored it. It will be interesting to see how the shipments that they have sent to comic shops in the rest of the world looks like when they arrive.

Penguin Random House Apologises for Marvel Comics Distribution Damages
Penguin Random House delivery photo, submitted to Bleeding Cool

That picture does tell a thousand words. However, all is not lost. Penguin Random House added to the words previously shared to Marvel Comics retailers, saying;

We know that our first week shipping Marvel product didn't fully meet our expectations, and some of you received damaged product. Our apologies. We are working continuously to reach out and positively resolve every claim. Some background: In preparation for this first shipment, PRH listened to the feedback from the market and tested a variety of different cartons and weights. In our tests, the heavier carton with the additional honeycomb inserts on the top and bottom stood up to shipping and protected the corners. However, in our first week of shipments, there were cases where the packaging didn't work out as intended. We will continue to work on our carton packaging until we get it absolutely right. We are proceeding quickly to resolve the packaging issues. We expect to implement material improvements beginning with your October 20th shipments and further evolving thereafter. We are determined to get better. Thanks to all of you who have shared your frank and constructive feedback. We are listening.

Most retailers I have spoken to, however, have specified that there were no such "honeycomb inserts" in the received packages. However, hope is not lost, as this photo of replacements of Defenders #3 shows, received by Dr Cains Comics, of San Luis Obispo, California, first delivered far quicker than Diamond Comic Distributors would, but also placed "inside a box, on a cushion with paper on top, surrounded by bubble wrap inside another box. Getting it on our shelf the day after the sale date is impressive too."

Penguin Random House Apologises for Marvel Comics Distribution Damages
Penguin Random House delivery photo, submitted to Bleeding Cool
Penguin Random House Apologises for Marvel Comics Distribution Damages
Penguin Random House delivery photo, submitted to Bleeding Cool

Fingers crossed that this will be more like it for next week? Retailers, feel free to contact us with the latest…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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