DC Comics Kindle deal causes rift with Barnes and Noble

In late September DC Comics announced a deal with Amazon that will allow uses of Amazon's upcoming Kindle Fire tablet to purchase and download digital versions of 100 of DC Comics' graphic novel collections. Many of these graphic novels will be available for the first time in digital form via this new agreement with Amazon. That list include Watchmen, perhaps the single most acclaimed comic book of the past 25 years, from writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. The print edition of the graphic novel still sells well in book stores.

Now the Bleeding Cool web site is reporting that Barnes and Noble, the single biggest national brick-and-mortar bookseller, is not happy with this exclusive deal DC Comics has made with Amazon. Barnes and Noble has apparently been barred from offering these same digital graphic novels for its own Nook Color tablet. So in retaliation, Barnes and Noble has apparently decided to pull all the print editions of the 100 DC Comics graphic novels that will be offered digitally on the Kindle Fire from the bookseller's store shelves.

This means that people who go into Barnes and Noble's book stores won't be able to purchase classic graphic novels like Watchmen, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, V For Vendetta, all the Sandman collections and more. They also won't be able to special order these books unless that special order is sent directly to the person's home. All of these graphic novels, including Watchmen, are still available to purchase from Barnes and Noble's web site.

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Something to remember here is Barnes is selling those in B&M and 100 graphic novels take up space. They will not be losing all those sales because the freed up space allows them to put up other books, books that most likely will have faster turns than comic graphic novels anyways.

Barnes is standing on a principle that if DC is going to go special deal with Amazon, they are not going to risk as much shelf space on sales that DC may be canabalizing to Amazon. At the very least it could give Barnes a bit of leverage to work a better deal for shelf stock items or get DC to open it up to Nook as well. The comics industry as a whole is hurting and DC may not be in the best of positions to alienate a large seller in the face of the new relaunch of the better part of the DC Universe.

They are losing sales, but it's actually a clever move. If a significant portion of DC Comic sales are to underage (17 and below) customers, most of whom don't have access to a credit card, their only option is a brick-and-mortar store. Now that Borders has closed, there is only one national chain of brick-and-mortar stores remaining: Barnes & Noble. They might be losing those sales, but they are sales to customers who likely wouldn't have the option to turn to Amazon anyway.

xpxp2002 said,
They are losing sales, but it's actually a clever move. If a significant portion of DC Comic sales are to underage (17 and below) customers, most of whom don't have access to a credit card, their only option is a brick-and-mortar store. Now that Borders has closed, there is only one national chain of brick-and-mortar stores remaining: Barnes & Noble. They might be losing those sales, but they are sales to customers who likely wouldn't have the option to turn to Amazon anyway.

+1 - Bingo...

This is a specific audience, and the revenue that B&N makes from them is tiny compared to their other products. However to DC, they don't have another B&N to turn to, and it will hurt enough to get their attention.

The sad thing is that stores like B&N are the ones that allowed DC and other publishers to exist and have retail locations to sell to the public - B&N specifically since 1917.

Yet DC signs an exclusive deal with Amazon, which has had the luxury of not having to maintain retail locations for over 80 years. If it wasn't for B&N and stores like them that have fallen, DC wouldn't have existed or been as big as they become.

So much for paying it back to one of the companies that helped your industry to exist. This is why the Amazon deal is a bit egregious and B&N is one of the few stores that have the power to do this, to help stand up for the other small Comic stores that can't throw DC out of their shop in protest, as DC is a large chunk of sales.

However, if DC and others continue to abandon the smaller companies that have been important to them over the years, it will put them out of business unless the comic readers stand up in protest and tell DC in voice or by not purchasing their publications.

Online and digital sales models are great, but there is no reason they can't include the traditional and smaller companies. (Amazon distribution through the stores, etc.) If they want to be exclusive with Amazon, then they will be locked to Amazon harder than they realize, and then Amazon gets to tell them what to do before long. It is how these things work.

xpxp2002 said,
They are losing sales, but it's actually a clever move. If a significant portion of DC Comic sales are to underage (17 and below) customers, most of whom don't have access to a credit card, their only option is a brick-and-mortar store. Now that Borders has closed, there is only one national chain of brick-and-mortar stores remaining: Barnes & Noble. They might be losing those sales, but they are sales to customers who likely wouldn't have the option to turn to Amazon anyway.

Yeah, exactly. I imagine this will hurt DC far more than it will hurt B&N.

On a side note: so this means that these DC comments are exclusive to Kindle Fire, or just "Kindle"? In other words, will I be able to buy these graphic novels and view them from a Kindle App (which is basically on all major platforms)?

thenetavenger said,

+1 - Bingo...

This is a specific audience, and the revenue that B&N makes from them is tiny compared to their other products. However to DC, they don't have another B&N to turn to, and it will hurt enough to get their attention.

The sad thing is that stores like B&N are the ones that allowed DC and other publishers to exist and have retail locations to sell to the public - B&N specifically since 1917.

Yet DC signs an exclusive deal with Amazon, which has had the luxury of not having to maintain retail locations for over 80 years. If it wasn't for B&N and stores like them that have fallen, DC wouldn't have existed or been as big as they become.

So much for paying it back to one of the companies that helped your industry to exist. This is why the Amazon deal is a bit egregious and B&N is one of the few stores that have the power to do this, to help stand up for the other small Comic stores that can't throw DC out of their shop in protest, as DC is a large chunk of sales.

However, if DC and others continue to abandon the smaller companies that have been important to them over the years, it will put them out of business unless the comic readers stand up in protest and tell DC in voice or by not purchasing their publications.

Online and digital sales models are great, but there is no reason they can't include the traditional and smaller companies. (Amazon distribution through the stores, etc.) If they want to be exclusive with Amazon, then they will be locked to Amazon harder than they realize, and then Amazon gets to tell them what to do before long. It is how these things work.

I'd care to disagree. Barnes and Noble only recently started to dedicate actual shelf space to comic books. Almost every comic book collector or even casual reader I know has a dedicated shop that they drive to, usually a fair distance. The reason I say this was when I was younger there was a Barnes and Noble down the street from me but since they didn't sell any of the comics that I wanted, which was from 27 different series, I still had to wait until my parents could drive me an hour and a half away to a true comic book store to buy any of them. Today, the same is still true. Most comic book fans go to comic book stores.

And on a side note: I do believe that its for all Kindles because it has been stated that it'll be available on iPad's and stuff through the app. So you should be good.

Seems childish to me, they are going to loose the sales on these and possibly the extra sales they would have got from impulse buys

Teebor said,
Seems childish to me, they are going to loose the sales on these and possibly the extra sales they would have got from impulse buys

How is standing up for your product childish? What would you have them do, bend over? They're in a business, they're not turning down sales just because, they're punishing the publisher too.

People go to bookstores for comics? Guess I haven't been in one for a while. Did not even know they sold them. Always went to local comic book shops.