Jan 14th 2011 By: Andy Khouri
Beleaguered bookstore chain Borders
can throw another nail on the pile of what might be sealing its coffin very soon. Diamond Book Distributors
, the leading distributor of comic books and graphic novels, has elected to not ship any new or back catalogue products to Borders as a consequence of the chain's late payments. ICv2
reports that comic book publishers are supportive of the decision despite whatever concurrent sales setbacks might occur. The news is especially bad for manga publishers, though, for whom Borders has long been a dependable outlet.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy seems to be in the cards for Borders, if reports at ICv2 are anything to go by (and they are). Borders has been in negotiations with publishing houses to sort out its debt problems, but those meetings have proven unfruitful. The late payments compound existing problems with the bookseller, which has endured years of declining sales and a paltry digital strategy.
Borders and its Waldenbooks chain at one time accounted to over 40% of the manga market in North America, and may still command over 20% of Japanese comics today. Hundreds of Waldenbooks locations have been closed down, and with Borders itself in dire straits, manga publishers are sure to be feeling the heat. However, ICv2 writes that because some of the larger manga publishers like Viz,
and Kodansha are distributed to Borders via larger companies like Simon & Shuster, Harpercollins and Random House, they may have some clout to negotiate favorable terms. Dark Horse and, as of this morning, Tokyopo manga are distributed to Borders via Diamond, and will have to settle for whatever solution to the problem is worked out between those two parties.