Beginning in September, Marvel Comics will switch to theHachette Book Group to distribute its hardcover and paperback titles into thedomestic and international book trade market. Marvel book titles are currently distributed to the book trade by Diamond Book Distributors, the booktrade distribution division of Diamond Comics Distributors. Marvel has alsoextended its contract with Diamond Comics Distributors to distribute itstitles into the domestic comic shop market, also known as the Direct Market.

Marvel v-p, book sales, David Grabriel said the decision to switch its book distributors was "difficult" and credited Diamond Book Distributors with "nearlytripling our sales in the book market over the last five years." However,Gabriel pointed to "Hachette's overwhelming success in the book market," andsaid, "Teaming with Hachette allows us to even more aggressively grow ourpresence in the book market, exposing new readers to Marvel's great library ofcharacters and stories. We can't imagine a better partner as Marvel looks toexpand its presence in the book market."

Ken Michaels, Hachette COO said Hachette was "thrilledto be partnering with Marvel," and said the reach of Hachette's distributionbusiness, "combined with Marvel's outstanding brand and product line, is sureto be a powerful combination."

While Marvel Comics main business continues to be thepublication of traditional comic book periodicals, the growth of the popularityand sales of book format graphic novel titles in the general book trade hasbegun to rival Marvel's periodical business. The move comes in the wake of the acquisitionof Marvel by Disney last September,and there has been speculation that Disneymight move Marvel to HarperCollins, which distributes the titles of DisneyPublishing and Hyperion. And Marvel was careful to highlight the continuingimportance of the comic shop market: Diamond Comics Distribution, the dominantdistributor of traditional comic book periodicals as well as book product inthe comics shop market, will continue to distribute Marvel titles in that channel.

Last year, Marvel released more than 500 book titles inthe general bookstore market and the loss of its business has to be a blow toDiamond Book Distributors. However, DBD v-p, sales and marketing, Kuo-Yu Liang,said DBD has been "preparing for it." Liang said DBD still has over 50 clientsand has just extended its contracts with Image Comics and IDW Publishing, twomajor independent graphic novel publishers. "We'll be fine even without Marvel,"Liang said. "We expect to have a very good year.