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#206614 - 10/29/05 07:03 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
I don't think there's anything small-scale about the way that Diamond distributes Marvel. They get the books on the shelves, for sure.

Diamond may not be the biggest book distrbutor out there, but that means that Marvel gets to be the 300 pound gorilla in the relationship. And in terms of warehousing and the like, there are advantages to having one distributor for both the DM and the bookstore market.

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#206615 - 11/07/05 12:17 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
Not From Around Here Offline
Member

Registered: 06/20/05
Posts: 1489
Well, I'm not a retailer, I'm a librarian. But as a librarian I do have to order a lot of books. We emphatically do need distributors to serve as middlemen. Trying to order everything straight from the publishers would be a nightmare! If you're a small outfit with only a single person doing most of the ordering, as we are, it makes sense to deal with only a limited number of middlemen. We order the great majority of our books from one distributor.

Unlike the DM, libraries still have several major distributors to choose from. From what I've seen, though, Diamond seems pretty benign as monopolies go.

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#206616 - 11/12/05 12:28 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
Gary Reed Offline
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Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 36
Quote:
I don't know how Hollywood success has anything to do with bookstore distribution; book publishing and distribution operate on a scale largely beneath the film industry's notice.
I disagree. I think Marvel's success would motivate book buyers into looking hard at Marvel sales. And don't diminish the book market as far as marketing and sales strategies for film companies...it is a vital component. Hell, most of the "plans" for exposure for films (if they're suitable) includes comics. Now, that's something that woudl be beneath their notice yet they do notice.
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#206617 - 11/12/05 12:35 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
Gary Reed Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 36
Quote:
I don't think there's anything small-scale about the way that Diamond distributes Marvel. They get the books on the shelves, for sure.

Diamond may not be the biggest book distrbutor out there, but that means that Marvel gets to be the 300 pound gorilla in the relationship. And in terms of warehousing and the like, there are advantages to having one distributor for both the DM and the bookstore market.
Well, since none of know the details, it just seems to me that Marvel could've gotten a larger partner for bookstore distribution. Yes, with Diamond, Marvel may be the 300 pound gorilla but that's irrelevant. The relevent point is whether Diamond is a 300 pound gorilla in the book distribtuion market. I wouldn't think they are.

Getting books on the shelves is one thing...the return polices, the rate of discount, the advertising allowances, the display allowances, the shrinkage markdowns, the frontal allowances, are all other factors that the larger gorillas tend to get.

But maybe Marvel decided that having a single supplier for all areas serves them best. And having a distributor that "understands" the product is a vital consideration, of course.

You would think, and hope, that Marvel took everything into making their decision.
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Gary Reed
www.garyreed.net

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#206618 - 11/12/05 02:14 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary Reed:
Yes, with Diamond, Marvel may be the 300 pound gorilla but that's irrelevant.
I'm not sure why you'd think that being a 300 pound gorilla is irrelevant. It seems to me that there is much advantage in opportunity and responsiveness when your business partner needs you more than you need them. I know I'd certainly rather be a 300 pound gorilla with my distributor than the 2.5 pound gorilla that I am...

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#206619 - 11/14/05 07:37 AM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
Dagwan Offline
Junior member

Registered: 05/20/05
Posts: 25
Quote:
Originally posted by NatGertler:
Quote:
Originally posted by Gary Reed:
Yes, with Diamond, Marvel may be the 300 pound gorilla but that's irrelevant.
I'm not sure why you'd think that being a 300 pound gorilla is irrelevant. It seems to me that there is much advantage in opportunity and responsiveness when your business partner needs you more than you need them. I know I'd certainly rather be a 300 pound gorilla with my distributor than the 2.5 pound gorilla that I am...
I think what Gary Reed is saying (correct me if I'm wrong) is more along the lines of: In the book distribution market, Diamond is a 2.5 pound gorilla. Why didn't Marvel use a 300 pounder like Random House, Simon & Schuster, etc?

Only Marvel knows that answer. They may have tried and not gotten as good terms as with Diamond, where Marvel is the 300 pound gorilla. They may have decided that having one company handle both markets was best. They may have just taken the path of least resistance- "We know diamond, let's just use Diamond."

The really important question is: Is Diamond working the book store system to push Marvel's products, or are they just filling orders?
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#206620 - 11/14/05 12:18 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
Not From Around Here Offline
Member

Registered: 06/20/05
Posts: 1489
All I know is that Marvel's share of the bookstore shelves devoted to comics is small and if anything getting smaller. I was in three different chain bookstores the other day, and at least 80% of the space devoted to comics was manga. Marvel shared the rest with DC, everybody else American, and non-comics books about comics. They did at least have the biggest share of that small space. Sort of like what they have in the DM....

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#206621 - 11/14/05 09:30 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
ATKokmen Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 1170
Loc: New York, NY
Quote:
Originally posted by Not From Around Here:
All I know is that Marvel's share of the bookstore shelves devoted to comics is small and if anything getting smaller. I was in three different chain bookstores the other day, and at least 80% of the space devoted to comics was manga. Marvel shared the rest with DC, everybody else American, and non-comics books about comics. They did at least have the biggest share of that small space. Sort of like what they have in the DM....
Honestly, I'd say that's more a reflection of the current marketplace (certainly the chain bookstore subsection of the marketplace) more than it is of the skill of any particular book trade distributor.
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#206622 - 11/14/05 09:59 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
NatGertler Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/99
Posts: 4618
There are lots of things that one can do to get books on shelves... but none of them are going to trump shipping the books that readers are buying.

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#206623 - 12/02/05 02:21 PM Re: Comics Distribution: An Historical View and Predictive Query
Mark_Innes Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 2
Interesting point
A comic or book will not be seen or possibly picked up by new readers if a store only buys copies that are preordered by customers.
Im sure 80% of all small press comics with circulations under 3000 are ordered only for those who filled out their diamond requests with their local retailers. I really resisted the order in advance system until the mid 90s when I had to start ordering stuff to make sure I got it.
So if our whole sales on small press books is one shot in a given month in Previews, then it is very scary picture when you think of it, given the newer arrangemnents of not issuing purchase orders on listed items if they dont meet sales targets.I hope FM and Cold Cut do what they can to market the smaller publishers to as many markets as they can. I also think that conevntions, both mainstream like Wizard Word and SanDiego and small press like SPX, SPACE and APE will become more and more important to small publishers in the future, and of the web still needs to be explored to it's fullest potential.
Ive found that consigment to local stores is not really viable, and mailing out promo and order material to individual stores is too costly.
The idea of bookstore consignment scares the pants off of me, how do I deal with returned books that are beat up and unsalable? How long does it take to get paid and what kind of discount is involved?. But selling books in person atshows or through a website seems to work out very well.

I forsee that in a couple more years, the old floppy, stapled, comic of the 20th century will be only published by the top 10 companies and the rrest of us will only put out books, braphioc novel, whatever you call it. Comic stores are very different from 10 years ago, books, manga, toys and misc merchendise have taken over a majority of their space, and they have a very limited selection of old comics, and often only a mediocre selection of new comics. The latest moves by Diamond has only accellerated this transition.

Anyway, I appreciate the remarks in this column, and I hopoe they continue as we all try to survive in the 21st century.
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Mark Innes
Blind Bat Press
http://www.markinnes.com/blindbatshop.html

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