When LPCGroup filed for bankruptcy on April 2, independent comic companies losttheir top distributor for bookstore and other mainstream retail outletdistribution.
With the growing importance of the trade paperback segment of the comicindustry, as well as the desire on the part of many publishers to reclaimmarket share outside of specialty shops, the bankruptcy was a serious blow,and a near-crippling blow to companies like Drawn &Quarterly.
Friday and Monday, the dominant specialty shop distributor, DiamondComics Distributors, announced that two of the independent comic companies,Oni Press and AiT/Planet Lar have entered into a contract that makesDiamond their US exclusive distributor for bookstores and other mainstreamretail outlets.
Given that Diamond doesn't have a strong history in the bookstores,although the company is now making a more aggressive push into that segmentof the market, the decisions by AiT/Planet Lar and Oni may have caused afew to scratch their heads in confusion. Perhaps foreseeing such confusion,AiT/Planet Lar publisher Mimi Rosenheim sent a letter to the creators thecompany publishes this week and shared it with CBR News:
"Hello AiT/Planet Lar Creators!
"I wanted to update you on the mass market book distribution situation.
"AiT/Planet Lar has signed with Diamond Comics Distributors to be ourexclusive North American direct AND book market distributors. After LPCwent bankrupt, we had many, many distributor options. Both David Wilk andRobert Boyd were very helpful in talking about the pros and cons of thedifferent options and we had very serious discussions with CDS (the vendorthat managed the operational side of the distribution for LPC that also isa full-service distributor to the book trade). While CDS has signed bigcomics companies like Marvel, Cross-Gen and TokyoPop, we felt that Diamondpresented a more powerful partnership opportunity.
"Diamond has signed many publishers for book market distributionincluding Dark Horse and Top Shelf. Both we and Diamond are committed togrowing each other's businesses and understand that we need to worktogether to do so. Diamond has hired a number of sales and marketing folkswith years of experience at book publishers as well as graphic novel buyingexperience at some of the major US book store chains. Larry and I will bemeeting with the brand managers and sales force to discuss past sales withbuyers, upcoming books, and marketing strategy. Diamond is a smart, solidbusiness, with people who know and love comics. We're a smart publisherwith amazing creators who are putting out extremely creative work.
"Together, we'll all make comics better."