Starting next April 1, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will take over sales and distribution of the adult and children’s print books published by Disney Publishing Worldwide. PRHPS will handle distribution to all mass, trade and independent bookselling channels. The agreement also will see PRHPS take on distribution of the Disney-owned Marvel Publishing’s collected editions and graphic novels to trade bookstores and wholesalers. Previously, PRH had assumed distribution for Marvel’s titles to comic shops.
Disney is the largest publisher not to have its own distribution operation. According to NPD BookScan, the company’s share of unit sales of print books was 1.7% through May 28, placing Disney only behind the Big 5 and Scholastic in terms of market share. Disney and Marvel are currently distributed by Hachette Book Group, and have helped drive sales for HBG’s distribution business. In describing HBG’s first quarter sales increase, CEO Michael Pietsch said one reason for the gain was its “thriving third-party distribution business.”
Disney Publishing publishes books for core Disney franchises, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, ESPN, 20th Century Studios, Andscape, and National Geographic, and publishes original books from a range of authors. Tonya Agurto, Disney Publishing Worldwide’s senior v-p and publisher, said the move to PRHPS will help grow its publishing business, taking it to “new heights.”
PRH has continued to aggressively grow its distribution operation, and currently has more than 50 clients. According to parent company Bertelsmann, distribution accounted for 3.2% of PRH’s worldwide revenue of €4.0 billion in sales (roughly €125 million) in 2021.