Earlier today, Bleeding Cool reported the news that Marvel Comics was moving its exclusive direct market business to Penguin Random House and away from Diamond Comic Distributors. Although retailers could still order through Diamond, as a wholesale customer of PRH. Though, as Bleeding Cool emphasised, "You can order Marvel through Diamond and through PRH. But PRH won't charge you freight."
Peter Fisico, Toronto retailer behind All New Comics wrote in the BC comments "I have used PRH for trades as a test and the discount they offer is 10% percent less than I get from Lunar or Diamond. While it's great they offer free shipping so many times I have gotten damaged product and a lot of it. PRH actually shipping comics is scary because they have no idea how to ship trades properly. I would just stay with Diamond much less hassle for me."
Bleeding Cool has been trying to get some clarification on this. The lower discount on collections from Penguin Random House usually reflects the fact that they are returnable. The current discount to retailers is set by Marvel, not Diamond, and it is expected that they will be roughly the same, as Penguin Random House enters the Direct Market for the first time. And given how many other comic book publishers PRH represents for graphic novels, how soon it will be before they start taking direct market serialised comics for more publishers?
But one thing retailers will appreciate are dedicated customer representatives, something a number complain of lacking at Diamond, and is also lacking at Lunar, so I am told. A comic store having one person at a distributor who you build a relationship over the years is a very valuable asset. And Penguin Random House is promising them from the get go. So if there are any damages, there is someone to complain to.
And Penguin Random House will have warehouses dedicated to comics and the direct market, and have built new boxes for them. I am looking forward to Dennis Barger getting his first. So here, for want of a better word, is the Penguin Random House Direct Market Manifesto.
Penguin Random House aims to be the best distribution partner for the comic book market. You, as a comic book retailer, are the epicenter for pop culture in your community and PRH wants to better support all areas of your business.
In addition to giving you access to an industry-leading supply chain and dedicated customer service support, PRH will increase your access to their books, publishers, and marketing and promotion campaigns.
PRH believes in the power of brick-and-mortar retailers and knows they are a vital part of a healthy retail ecosystem. At a time when many publishers divested their commitment to physical supply chain, PRH has doubled down on investment.
There will be a designated warehouse for comic book distribution and new shipping cartons specifically designed for comic books. PRH is also creating an online retailer site with access to a monthly catalog of upcoming comics, graphic novels, and manga that can be purchased through the portal.
The website and accompanying catalog will include information on new and upcoming features, sneak peeks, a listing of top-selling titles, and more.
PRH is committed to not just maintaining a presence in brick-and-mortar retailers, but to driving continued growth to your stores. The ongoing mission is to partner with you to grow your business and legacy.
When you open an account with Penguin Random House, you are getting:
- Access to all Marvel comics and graphic novels
- Free ground shipping on all outgoing orders
- No opening order required—for a limited time only
- Online ordering through our business website:
- Improved search functionality—pull information by key words, title search, or identifier (ISBN, UPC)
- Real-time stock availability
- Ability to see and filter by all promotions you are eligible for, and add those promotions to your cart
- Estimated arrival dates for orders, available at the title and order level
- Tracking information
- A dedicated customer service rep assigned to your account
- The most advanced supply chain in the book industry
- Low reorder minimums and no reorder or restocking fees
- Merchandising options, including displays and spinner racks that ship
free when you order the fill
- Access to more than 15,000 newly published titles annually across 70+ core publishers and imprints, and several dozen distributed publishers. Publishers served include:
DC Comics (graphic novels)
(as of July 1st, 2021)
Ten Speed Press
Here's another question though – if Diamond can be a wholesaler of Penguin Random House Marvel Comics to the direct market, can others be as well? What about Lunar.