Marvel is no longer selling periodical comics to Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million, the two largest chain book stores. Good-Ereader confirmed this with employes at both stores.
Barnes and Noble has a flagship store in Union Square, in New York City. This is the location where they tend to have unveiling events for the Nook product line. Two sources at this store have confirmed that they will no longer sell single issue Marvel Comics. An official Barnes and Noble spokesman has also confirmed that they will continue to sell graphic novels and trade paperback editions of Marvel properties, because they are sourced through Hachette. Customers will still be able to purchase single issues produced by DC and Dark Horse.
Books-A-Million has also confirmed that they are no longer carrying Marvel titles at the head office. Contacts within the receiving and ordering departments have said that Marvel titles are simply not available on their lists anymore. They are basically unable to order single issues comics at all.
It’s been confirmed that this was Marvel’s decision, and Marvel hasn’t returned any answers to press inquires as to why they made the move.
While Michael Koslowski at Good-ereader speculates that this may be somehow tied in to Marvel’s evolving secretive plans to develop their own digital all-in-one app, to say there must be a reason for all this that isn’t readily apparent is an understatement. (Some had speculated this might be retaliation for Marvel’s comics not being available on Nooks—as with now B&N removed DC graphic novels after they went exclusive digitally on Amazon—but that is not the case.)
It’s also surprising given that Marvel has definitely been increasing its bookstore presence slowly but clearly, with an original graphic novel line that seems to be doing well— and other done-in-one initiatives.
Stepping clearly into the realm of speculation, I can tell you one thing: if this program had been a big money maker, I can’t imagine that Marvel would have stopped it in a million years. Or a Books-a-million years, if you prefer.
And finally, for those who hold onto the touching 80s notion that “if only we could get comics on newsstands we could save comics!”, I got news for you.
Demolition. Setting aside the fact that comics have probably been saved, “newsstands” can’t save Newsweek magazine anymore, let alone Scarlet Spider.
Above photo of a rack of bagged, alarming comics taken at liquidation center Remy’s Underground in Damariscotta, Maine, December 2012.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.