As reported by Seattle-based news site The Vanguard on March 8th, there’s a new business setting up shop and setting its sight on challenging the distribution monopoly that is Diamond Comic Distributors. Diamond Comic Distributors is the single largest, and pretty much the only, distributor of comics in the United States, and one which is responsible for keeping the comics industry alive as it supplies all our local comic shops with their wares in a fast-paced and rapidly changing marketplace. However, the fact that there have been multiple sources of distribution in the past has led to frequent debate and discussion among pros and fans about why we don’t have multiple options now in the distribution of our comics.
Well, a Seattle-based company is heeding that call, and starting off with a regional approach to the Pacific Northwest comics scene. And that movement is being led by Anne Bean and called Emerald Comics Distribution. As an indie comics creator herself, she’s going to be focusing in on indie comics, according to Vanguard. She’s planning on physically taking to the road herself to journey between shops in the region and make sure indie comics are stocked and kept up to date, it seems. Bean lists herself as an Associate Editor for Minor Arcana Press and an independent book designer on her website, roles which may bring her insight into this endeavor.
For those retailers who have been unhappy with Diamond, or for those creators who can’t manage the circulation numbers or don’t want to conform to the content standards Diamond may set for them, this may be a viable second option–if you’re in the Pacific Northwest. Bean also has some big ideas about how to “bundle” indie comics into suggestion packs for shops to increase reader exposure to works they might like.
Based on Vanguard’s interview, Bean is doing the research to get real human feedback on what the industry needs and wants, both from a retail and creator level. Look out for more news about Emerald Comics Distribution as Bean proceeds with her plans.
UPDATE: Since this article ran, Anne Bean has been in touch and kindly directed us to a business page that’s been set up with contact information to learn more about Emerald Comics Distro. Here they describe their current stage as “PHASE ONE” for the month of March, focusing on the Puget Sound area of Washington State, in which they say:
A lot of Seattle area comic shops buy indie comics wholesale or on consignment. Hooray!
But do you know how much it costs to drive your comics around to sell them? Half a day and about $6.50 in gas and parking, assuming you’re an efficient parking wizard. And if you’re using public transit? The better part of eight hours and $10. Boo! Save time and money by paying a monthly service fee to Emerald.
Whether you have one title or ten, Emerald will bring your comic around to the Puget Sound area comic shops where it will sell best and get it on the shelves. Emerald won’t take a cut of your wholesale sales: all the money you make goes back to you. We’ll send you a monthly sales report and payment.