A new Seattle-based company has been established that one day hopes to offer competition to the predominant distributor of comic books in North America, Diamond Comic Distributors. Emerald Comics Distribution is a new outfit by writer/publisher Anne Bean that has big plans, but is starting small as a regional distributor.
“Every shop owner I’ve ever talked to has had something negative to say about Diamond,” Bean told Vanguard Seattle (thanks to Hannah Means-Shannon for the tip). “I spoke with a local owner recently who said he’s had the business twenty years, and never seen a correct order from them. Or the boxes are damaged, or the comics are ripped, or they’re shorted. But it’s the only game in town.”
Diamond became the primary distributor of printed comic books in North America in the mid-1990s following the collapse of Capital City Distribution in 1996. Since then, Diamond has worked as a defacto monopoly with deals with several major publishers to be the exclusive source for their print comic books.
The first phase of Emerald Comics Distributions plans is to distribute comics around the Puget Sound area of Seattle for wholesale or consignment. Bean is offering to do that for publishers and creators for an unspecified flat monthly service fee, without taking a cut from wholesale sales.
“I have a car. I have a basement. I can represent a stable of creators to comics sellers, drive their work from store to store and check the stock levels,” said Bean. “I’ll make sure the consignments checks are correct, and hang onto their overstock. I’ll let stores know what the hot new sh*t is, and they can deal with one representative instead of every single solo creator.”
This would be similiar to what’s already done in other areas by small press distributors like Bird Cage Bottom Books, but Emerald Comics Distributions has bigger plans beyond just that. If that first phase is successful, Bean’s second step is to expand to “indie-friendly” shops across the United States.
The last significant competitor to Diamond Comics Distributors was Haven Distributors (formerly known as Cold Cut), which shuttered in 2011.