Dark Horse Comics and Penguin Random House Publisher Services (PRHPS) have announced an exclusive worldwide multi-year agreement for the sales and distribution of Dark Horse’s newly published and backlist comic book periodicals, graphic novels, and manga to the Direct Market comic shops. The new agreement, which begins June 1, 2023 expands its current partnership, in which PRHPS sells and distributes Dark Horse’s trade-book frontlist and backlist to bookstores.
Direct Market retailers can choose to order Dark Horse products direct from PRH, or alternatively, through Diamond, as a wholesaler, under terms established by Diamond in the US and the UK. These retailers now have 24/7 access to online ordering and can also visit www.prhcomics.com, a website for comics, graphic novels, manga, and more, designed specifically for US Direct Market comic shop retailers and consumers.
Penguin Random House Publisher Services continues to consolidate its control over distribution with publishers shifting from Diamond to PRHPS. One mega company to another. It’s hard to not see this as another blow against Diamond as it has lost many of the major publishers to PRHPS and other distributors. Marvel, IDW, and more have switched their primary distribution to Penguin Random House and others. But, federal sights have turned towards Penguin Random House as it attempts to merge with Simon & Schuster consolidating the book market. While distribution doesn’t seem to be the primary reason the federal government is opposing the merger, it is absolutely a factor as the publisher would control not just a large portion of the book market (what gets published, terms of those deals, etc.) but with a greater control of the market it could then abuse its power when it comes to distribution.