In a move that could either be an interesting sign of things to come or a total irrelevance, depending on what follows, Bluewater Productions has split from Diamond Distributors and signed a new distribution partnership with a company called Comic Flea Market. Judging by the announcement that’s gone out today, the move comes as a result of Diamond’s order benchmarks and a potential admission by Bluewater that it’s a small publisher with a particularly niche audience:
According to Bluewater, Comic Flea Market (www.comicfleamarket.com) will print all future Bluewater titles including several that Diamond abruptly canceled due to their benchmark. These individual issues will be available in print as well as digital downloads for Nook, Kindle, iPad and other standard eReaders. Bluewater’s graphic novels will still be distributed by SCB.
That’s not a mistake above, by the way; Comic Flea Market will be printing the books as well as distributing them for Bluewater from now on:
“Many people have tried to compete with Diamond and failed, what makes Comic Flea Market unique, is a lot of main stream book publishers and DVD companies such as Warner Bros. are going print on demand on some oftheir titles. Comic Flea Market is doing it not only for Bluewater but the entire comic book marketplace”, said CEO Nick Sachs from Comic Flea Market. “Not only will we be handling the printing of the titles, we will also handle distribution to comic book stores at the similar discounts. This dynamic will secure the place for printed material in comic book stores”.
So, what this means is that Bluewater has essentially downgraded to a small-press publisher using print-on-demand technology, right? I’ll be very curious to see how this plays out as a business decision: Will the cost of each book rise, and if it doesn’t, will the quality fall? (Is POD tech affordable and professional quality these days? I genuinely haven’t been keeping up with it.)
We’ve seen other publishers make noises about moving away from Diamond in the past – Boom! did it most recently to my memory, to offer re-orders at such levels that Diamond wouldn’t allow – but this feels like a first nonetheless. I wonder what Bluewater’s sales figures through Diamond were like, and whether they’ll be impacted by this shift in any way?