Update 2, Final: So I am flat out wrong. But it’s still really interesting. Check this: I received the following statement from Michelle Mauk, listed as production/graphic design at DMP, but is the acting PR person at the moment. This clarifies the situation immensely:
…I’m actually writing about your blog post today about DMP going direct and breaking off exclusivity with Diamond, and I’m hoping you can actually correct it a bit. We’re still exclusive with Diamond, and they are still our exclusive distributor. However, we are allowed to distribute direct to retailers returned books from Diamond which the rights have reverted back to us. So titles on DMD Direct are allowed to be distributed by us, since they no longer fall under Diamond’s exclusive contract. I apologize if the email from DMD Direct wasn’t clear enough-we will rectify that in the future.
If you could please clarify your blog post-I would very much appreciate it.
Update: I’ve been informed that DMP hasn’t terminated it’s exclusivity arrangement exactly, but it still offering its books to retailers. Not sure what this means to be honest. Will let you know when I do.
I’d been hearing rumblings that things were about to start changing with regards to Diamond exclusivity contracts, but the just-received e-mail I’m looking at still came as a surprise.
Without replicating the e-mail exactly, I can say that DMP/DMD/June Manga/Akadot Retail (they have about 10 different devisions I think) have seemingly cancelled or allowed to expire their exclusive distribution agreement with Diamond, and are now distributing/selling their work directly to established comics/book stores at discounts much higher than Diamond was offering on the same titles, and they’re doing so from a new retailers-only website, http://www.dmd-sales.com/. According to the website:
Welcome to Digital Manga Direct!!! We are now here to service your needs. We are an independent Manga publisher who has recently obtained the rights to distribute these titles on a ‘direct sales basis.’ This obviously eliminates “Joe Distributor,” thus affording us the luxury to offer you substantial discounts and savings. In addition, you can open an account and place an order right online. There are no minimum orders.
This allows for fast processing and rapid shipping. Please browse through our great catalog of available titles.
It then directs individual buyers (i.e.: Non-retail accounts) to DMP’s online sales storefront.
I’m going to be honest here, I never understood why DMP went exclusive with Diamond. It’s just ridiculous–DMP has probably the best-developed online sales presence of any publisher in comics, let alone any manga publisher. They ship out thousands of customer orders a month, of all shapes and sizes. Why they would to cut-off retailer sales (which are usually easier orders to pull, bigger orders with more copies/volume means less overhead) when they’re shipping stuff anyway? I get why VIZ went exclusive actually, they were getting out of the shipping/fulfillment business entirely, letting their bookstore distributors Simon & Shuster handle everything. But DMP? I can only imagine the deal that Diamond offered them was really good–and that it’s no longer worthwhile.
Now here’s the big question: Do I think that other pubs will start doing the same? Hell yeah, but only if they’re not distributed to bookstores by Diamond Books… This is because they need the bookstore distro, and breaking a Diamond Comics Exclusive might seriously damage that relationship. I actually can’t think of any pub with a Diamond Book Distributors deal that isn’t also exclusive with Diamond Comics. Hm.
Anyway, fascinating change to the DM today, and just the start of what I feel will be many large changes to “the direct market” in the next 6 months.