Diamond Comic Distributors, which already distributes Marvel books to mainstream bookstores, announced today that 'effective immediately' it will be working with bookstores and book wholesalers to place ComicsOne products in stores across the country.
Diamond also recently added Avatar Press to its list of bookstore distribution clients (see 'Diamond To Distribute Avatar Press To Bookstores'). While Avatar is the kind of small press publisher that might well have gone to LPC for bookstore distribution, ComicsOne was an actual LPC client. The switch to Diamond is the most obvious defection yet from LPC's comic book publishers, which have managed up until now to avoid breaking ranks since LPC was forced to declare Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (see 'LPC Group Files Chapter 11'). Coming as it does on the eve of Book Expo America, the ComicsOne defection may portend more troubles for the LPC Group which currently represents a major group of comic publishers including Dark Horse, Tokyopop, Image, Top Shelf, and Humanoids to name just a few.
ComicsOne publishes a wide range of manga-style trade paperbacks from Japan, Korea, and China. In addition to action romance and fantasy, ComicsOne also publishes hentai (erotic) titles under its RedLight Manga imprint.
Yet another manga publisher, Studio Ironcat of Fredericksburg, Virginia, has decided to go with Diamond for bookstore distribution. Like ComicsOne, Studio Ironcat publishes a number of Japanese manga titles in the traditional trade paperback format including Hyper Dolls, New Vampire Miyu, and Futaba-Kun Change as well as an array of adult manga titles including Cool Devices, Love Touch and Bizzarian. As was the case with Avatar, Studio Ironcat would appear to have been a prime candidate for bookstore distribution via the LPC Group, but that organization's financial difficulties may be giving some companies pause.
These bookstore distribution moves are not only of interest to booksellers, they're also important to other channels (like pop culture retailers) because of the impact LPC's problems could have on the publishers affiliated with it. If they end up taking severe hits, they might have to curtail some publishing plans (or worse). So far, LPC and its clients are putting a positive spin on events for the most part, but the events of the last couple of days, while not important in dollars, are important if they indicate a trend. For additional background information on what could become a serious situation for the publishers involved, see 'More on the LPC Bankruptcy.'