The following press release came across my digital desk this morning:
March 23rd, 2011 – Los Angeles, CA – BOOM! Studios announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Avatar Press to distribute their graphic novels to the book trade. This agreement will see BOOM! distributing Avatar in the United States via BOOM!’s existing relationship with Simon & Schuster and Canadian distribution through BOOM!’s existing relationship with HarperCollins Canada.
The new BOOM! Studios/Avatar mass market partnership sees two of the top ten Direct Market publishers teaming up for a unique relationship, extending both brands into the mass market.
The move will get Avatar into more large brick and mortar bookstores through the graphic novel market and will enable BOOM to latch their brand onto such successful titles as Warren Ellis's Freakangels, Garth Ennis's Crossed and Alan Moore's Neonomicon.
BOOM! distributed Avatar titles will be showing up in stores on the 21st of this month.
This brings up an interesting topic. I imagine that most of my readers are pretty die hard comics collectors. Regardless of whether you choose weekly floppies or waiting for the trade, I'd imagine that the majority of you get your books from your local comic shop. I also imagine that a fair number of you read the Avatar books mentioned above, as well as others that went unmentioned. Based on your opinion of the Avatar line, do you see these titles doing well in the major chain bookstores? Avatar certainly employs creators that have enjoyed some crossover success with larger retailers (Alan Moore's Watchmen, Garth Ennis's Preacher) so having their titles by such creators in a more visible market could prove a boon.
Also, what is your opinion on the continued viability of these major chain stores? Surprisingly, graphic novels are one of the only areas still showing a profit in these stores, so despite the downsizing of companies such as Borders it's likely that comics will still have a presence. We may be in a state of flux right now, transitioning slowly to a digital model that will shift how we perceive and operate the direct market, but for the time being do you think graphic novels will continue to do well in stores such as Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million? What role will comics play in these shops as they shrink and restructure?