In these new comic-book distribution wars, you've got three major parties. Diamond once was the sole monopoly, but now finds itself, "On the ropes," as it were with Image and a few smaller publishers solely using it. Meanwhile, Lunar has DC and some small publishers who utilize it with Diamond. Then, there is Penguin Random House and its immense growth in the comic-book space (they already were known for their book distribution) thanks to taking on Marvel as a client and now soon having IDW and Dark Horse within its fold. This makes the news that another little publisher known as Artists, Writers, and Artisans (AWA) is going to be distributing with Lunar now but still sticking with Diamond too at first blush seem like small news. However, it makes me feel like I can sniff out a plan of some sort being enacted by a number of publishers.
I'm pretty sure these publishers who are sticking with Diamond but also willing to work with Lunar and/or PRH are hedging their bets on Diamond's comic division folding or otherwise not being used by a chunk of stores. I have my own anecdotal evidence that comic shops hate Diamond and you can find most folks who sell comics saying they despise Diamond on the internet or such. When stores have the option to buy from a publisher via a method other than Diamond they will often take it. Many a shop has told me if Image dumped Diamond they'd probably not bother with it at all outside of specific customer orders from any small publishers that happen to only use Diamond.
|If Image leaves Diamond...hoo boy.
Comic-book publishers want to be sure if Diamond's comic division folds or more shops outright quit using Diamond that they can still get distributed in shops. Making sure you have a deal cut with another distributor that releases comics stores basically have to sell (DC and Marvel) ensures you'll at least be an option when the time comes for a store to place an order. I could be reading into all this too much, but the way everything is going with comic-book distribution I feel like this is less of me having a hunch and more of me noticing a subtle trend. Time will tell.