The division being created by Cient Distribution Services (CDS) to distribute graphic novels to the book trade is taking shape as the deadline for LPC's client publishers to choose new distribution grows near. LPC will be shutting down at the end of this month, giving graphic novel publishers such as Dark Horse, Image, and Top Shelf only a week to decide whether to move to CDS, Diamond, or another distributor to take them to the book trade.
The CDS graphic novel initiative is being led by Michael Murphy, who is joining CDS at the Vice President level. Murphy was the VP of Sales and Marketing at LPC from last October until recently, where he first encountered the graphic novel phenomenon. He has had a 21-year career in the book business, including 13 years at Random House and a stint as publisher at William Morrow and Company. Also coming to CDS from LPC are graphic novel expert Robert Boyd, who will report to Murphy, and former LPC CEO David Wilk, who will be less involved with graphic novels.
Handicapping the publisher derby, Murphy pointed to publishers that have already made decisions, such as Tokyopop and Marvel, but acknowledged that '...there are some that may not be headed our way,' especially among smaller LPC clients. He pointed to Diamond, which is competing aggressively for that business, and other book distributors as places where some LPC graphic novel publishers may land. All of this will undoubtedly play out as the industry gathers in San Diego for next week's Comic-Con. Stay tuned.