Kuo-Yu Liang is leaving his position as an Associate Publisher for Ballantine Books at the end of this month to join Diamond Comic Distributors, where he will spearhead Diamond's drive into the book trade.  Liang is highly respected in the book industry, where he has long championed science fiction, fantasy and other genre-based titles that have also done well in pop culture stores.  A fixture at trade shows such as Book Expo America, GenCon, San Diego Comicon, etc., Liang has made loads of contacts ranging from the major book and other specialty retail chains, to independent bookstores, to direct market comic shops. 


The hiring of Liang is real 'coup' for Diamond, which has expanded into the book trade since acquiring the right to represent Marvel in that traditionally returnable market (see 'Diamond Moves Into Bookstore Distribution').  Diamond has recently signed up a number of smaller publishers including Archangel, El Capitan, Comics One, and Avatar, but the real action could start in a few weeks as LPC's business is absorbed by CDS and each of the LPC publishers has the opportunity to form a new alliance for bookstore sales if it so desires (see 'LPC Deal Getting Close?').  Certainly having Liang (and his wealth of experience in the book trade) on board makes Diamond a more attractive option for publishers who are looking for both stability and experience in dealing with what can be an exceptionally tricky marketplace for small and medium-size publishers.