MEANWHILE, ever since Time Warner sold off its book biz to Hachette, people have been wondering who would be distributing DC’s book line. Well wonder no more, the winner is book giant Random House:
Paul Levitz, president and publisher of DC Comics, said the decision to change its distribution after so many years with Warner Books was spurred by Hachette’s purchase of the Time Warner Book Group and the end of its longtime distribution agreement with Warner. “We’ve had a very positive experience with Time Warner/Hachette, but the sale gave us an opportunity to explore the marketplace. The graphic novel business has changed to an astounding degree over the last 20 years and we decided to look at the market and see what the distribution market is like now and what it might look like in the future.”
Jeff Abraham, president of RHPS, said “We’re thrilled with this new relationship. Most of my staff and sales force have been fans of DC Comics long before we ever thought they’d be a partner.”
In business terms this is Brangelina — the biggest and deepest backlist in the biz coupled with the marketing power of Random House should equal continuing ka-ching for all involved.
NRAMA: But in terms of the book trade, are there large outlets left that aren’t carrying graphic novels, or are you really looking at getting say, Borders and Barnes & Noble to stock a wider selection of the DC trade catalog? PL: If you look at the dynamic of the business versus book publishing in general, graphic novels succeed today disproportionately well with Amazon, disproportionately well with the larger books changes, and disproportionately more poorly with the independent bookstores, and practically not at all for anybody in the mass side of book distribution. There’s a little bit there, where a couple of the manga publishers have succeeded in from time to time, and some one-off things that many of us have done over the years, but if you weighted us against a book publisher of similar size, you would say that we’re inordinately concentrated in our top five to ten major customers.
Keep an eye on: As Random House has its own sales team in place, will this mean any downsizing in DC’s in-house team?