Penguin Random House is starting to up the game as they get closer to becoming Marvel's exclusive direct market distributor to the direct market of North America. It looks like that, as with DC Comics, Diamond UK's monopoly on the direct market of Marvel may be retained – I'm trying to get further confirmation on that. But for North America, the Penguin Random House offering seems, on every level, to beat the wholesale offering on Marvel Comics than Diamond US will be able to offer – aside from additional paperwork. It looks like retailers will be receiving their first order forms soon and, as well as Marvel Comics books starting to shift from Diamond to Penguin Random House, there will also be a line of boxes – along with all the boxes to tick.
I'm told that Penguin Random House will be offering comic book supplies to direct market comic stores, as well as Marvel comic books, including bags and boards, shortboxes and longboxes, for the storage and display of comic books. Not the most glamourous of offerings but it has been a steady, reliable and long-standing moneymaker for Diamond, month in, month out, and shipped alongside comic books to increase economies of scale. We will see what deals Penguin Random House offers and if Diamond will be able to match them.
The deadline for comic book stores wanting to sign up for Marvel Comics from Penguin Random House (PRH) was this past Friday, the 21st of May, in order to avoid any disruption of Marvel product. This includes periodical comics, collected editions, and promo items – and now, it seems comics supplies as well.
The pieces are in play for the future of the direct market, now we just wait for all the dominos to fall with a sickening thud thud thud.