Diamond Comic Distributors, the world's largest distributor of English-language comic books and graphic novels, today announced the creation of a new book distribution division -- Diamond Book Distributors -- whose goal will be to make a wide selection of graphic novels, anime, gaming, collectible toys, and other pop-culture merchandise available to the mainstream retail book market.
At the same time, Diamond announced the hiring of two book industry veterans, Kuo-Yu Liang and Josh Hayes. Liang, who has over 18 years experience in the retail publishing and book trade, most recently as a marketing and licensing executive with Ballantine Books, (a division of Random House, Inc.), will lead the new division as its Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Hayes, a nine-year veteran of the book industry and most recently a Buyer for Sports, Games & Role Playing at Waldenbooks (a division of the Borders Group Inc.), will join the new division as a Sales Manager, servicing key accounts including Amazon.com, Borders, The Musicland Group, Waldenbooks, and others.
"Over the past 20 years, Diamond has nurtured its relationships with retailers and suppliers alike to grow into the leading distributor of comic books, graphic novels, and pop-culture merchandise of every kind," said Diamond President and CEO Steve Geppi. "In the past year, we've put systems and people in place to service the book trade. Now, with the formation of our new book division -- under Kuo-Yu's able leadership -- and with the hiring of Josh Hayes, we look forward to further expanding the market for our uniquely appealing products to the mainstream bookstore audience."
In his new position at Diamond, Liang will be responsible for designing and implementing sales and marketing strategies, and for managing Diamond's book market sales force. He brings to this task an extensive network of contacts within the book trade, and experience working with some of today's top media and pop culture properties, including Star Wars, Spider-Man, X-box, The Lord of the Rings, Peanuts, Garfield, and others. Liang has also worked with multiple New York Times best-selling authors including Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey, Philip Pullman, and R.A. Salvatore.
While Diamond's headquarters are based in Timonium, Maryland, Liang will be based closer to the hub of publishing and book-selling in New York City.
"The timing for the creation of this new division couldn't be more perfect," said Liang. "Thanks in large part to recent blockbuster films like The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Spider-Man, and Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the public demand for pop-culture comics, toys and tie-in merchandise is growing at a phenomenal rate, and I look forward to working with Josh and Diamond's staff to make these products available to the book market. Diamond is an industry leader, and I am thrilled to be joining a company with such clear visions and goals for the future."
"I can't think of a better pairing than Diamond and the book market in terms of synergies and opportunities," added Hayes, who is in the process of relocating with his family from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Cleveland, Ohio, "and I really look forward to making this relationship grow."