Responding to criticism over the way shipments of previous book titles, including The Marvel Encyclopedia-Hulk, The X-Men Encyclopedia, and the X-Men Movie Adaptation, were all received by bookstore chains before they reached comic shops, Marvel announced on Saturday that it was shipping copies of its Mary Jane hardcover to comic shops on June 11, well in advance of the announced street date of July 2. In order to accomplish the early shipment Marvel printed copies for the direct market before orders came in, but the publisher was not able to print enough copies to fill orders completely -- and as a result, the June 11 shipment will be allocated. Retailers will receive the balance of their orders on July 2. Marvel is urging retailers to put the book on sale as soon as they receive it.
Although Marvel was not able to print enough copies to fill all the comic shop orders on June 11, their action indicates that the publisher is trying to address a major complaint from direct market retailers (see 'Chainstores Beat Comic Stores On Marvel Encyclopedia'). Marvel has not yet announced the percentage of orders that will be released to comic shops on June 11. Mary Jane is an illustrated prose novel that Marvel believes will have a strong appeal in both the direct and regular bookstore markets (see 'Marvel Launching Fiction Line').