Walmart Is Getting Into the Graphic Novel Trade

Walmart Is Getting Into the Graphic Novel Trade

Walmart will try its hand at selling graphic novels in 50 American locations.

Love it or hate it, you can purchase almost anything at your local Walmart store, be it video games or gardening supplies. Comics and graphic novels, however, are a rare exception - one that might finally be changing. In a new partnership with Diamond Book Distributors, Walmart is creating dedicated graphic novel sections at 50 locations as a test drive for future comic expansions.

This news follows recent partnerships with Marvel and Viz, allowing the retail access to manga libraries and other collections. "[The Viz deal is] a great example of a lot of comics people working behind the scenes toward a much bigger project at Walmart," Diamond Vice President Kuo-Yu Liang explained. "Walmart wants to be a part of this. Manga is first but other graphic novels are coming."

So why is Walmart's partnership with Diamond a big deal? Simple: It's a major comic book distributor, operating on behalf of Image Comics, Dynamite, IDW Publishing, Valiant, and others. This automatically gives Walmart access to a huge graphic novel library, on top of whatever Marvel provides through its distributor Hachette.

And since this is Walmart, the move is already controversial for traditional comic shop owners. "You make a deal with Walmart, it's Walmart's deal. It's Walmart's terms," Wonderworld and Quick Stop Comics' Dennis Barger wrote. "You will be giving them a deal you'd never give the hard working brick and mortar retailers that have stood by you for 30+ years." Barger also predicts this deal will lead to huge losses for retailers in returns, and that Walmart will break agreements by selling books before official street dates.

Of course, this all depends on whether Walmart sells a substantial number of graphic novels during the test period. Regardless, fans and retailers alike will be paying close attention in the coming months.

Source: Newsarama, via Bleeding Cool

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Ah Diamond, the distributor who managed to get a monopoly and have the comic publishers get the feds to let them continue.

On a topical note, this isn't a surprise given they already have a large selection of novels, but what I'm more surprised about is that they aren't trying to have comic books included with the magazines that are by the registers to get people to impulse buy them. I mean sure, Marvel and DC don't even want people to buy said comics (given the story and writing choices they've made over the past few years) but I doubt they'd have trouble getting copies of the latest monthly Walking Dead issue to sell out before being there for a week.

whatever keeps the cost of books below $5 I'm fine with. When I first started collecting, the average price was $1.25. Now that's quadrupled. This is not normal inflation.

Comics seem to be growing. All of my local bookstores have moved comics to the front of the store, when they used to be shunned toward the back. They made room by removing all of the unimportant stuff. Like classical literature.

I'm willing to bet that I still won't be able to find Berserk, though...

Man I'd love to be able to pick up some Monster Musume books for cheap.

The only reason my house isn't flooded with manga is because I can't afford to pay $10 USD per volume plus shipping. If I can buy volumes at Walmart for $5-$8 per volume I'd be extremely happy. Of course it doesn't have to be Walmart, but there are no good manga brick and mortar retailers near me.

Aww, here I was hoping the story would be about how Walmart had commissioned a graphic novel about their own stores to try and take some of that sweet V for Vendetta audience.

I was looking forward to seeing the standard daily Walmart drudgery written up like a Watchman scene.

"Dave's journal, October 12th, 2016. Spilt digestive biscuits in Aisle 5 this morning. Reebok tread on crumpled wrapper. This shopping mall's afraid of me. I've seen it's true face, the shelves are extended bins, and the bins are full of corn syrup. And when the bins spill over, all the customers will complain. The accumulated weight of all their binge eating will fold up around their waists, and all the soccer moms and rednecks will look up and shout 'feed us' and I'll whisper 'We're all out of stock, sorry.' "

There goes the neighborhood.

The brick-and-mortar retailers have reason to be concerned. Using their buying and negotiating power to drive local competition out of business is exactly what Wal-Mart does. They are- and I do not say this lightly- fucking evil.

If you go to the Waltons for your comics and find that a decade from now you can find a comic book store about as easily as a video store, don't say I didn't warn you.

EndlessSporadic:
The only reason my house isn't flooded with manga is because I can't afford to pay $10 USD per volume plus shipping. If I can buy volumes at Walmart for $5-$8 per volume I'd be extremely happy. Of course it doesn't have to be Walmart, but there are no good manga brick and mortar retailers near me.

Graphic novels (comics), not manga.

WhiteTigerShiro:

EndlessSporadic:
The only reason my house isn't flooded with manga is because I can't afford to pay $10 USD per volume plus shipping. If I can buy volumes at Walmart for $5-$8 per volume I'd be extremely happy. Of course it doesn't have to be Walmart, but there are no good manga brick and mortar retailers near me.

Graphic novels (comics), not manga.

The Diamond deal is in graphic novels, but Walmart also made a deal with Viz, who distributes manga. So that's on the table.

WhiteTigerShiro:

EndlessSporadic:
The only reason my house isn't flooded with manga is because I can't afford to pay $10 USD per volume plus shipping. If I can buy volumes at Walmart for $5-$8 per volume I'd be extremely happy. Of course it doesn't have to be Walmart, but there are no good manga brick and mortar retailers near me.

Graphic novels (comics), not manga.

Re-read the second paragraph again, mate. The last sentence, specifically. Viz Media, as Fanghawk already stated, distributes manga and is actually a fairly reputable company with decent translations. Walmart already sells manga on their website, but the article is stating how they are testing the waters by selling them at physical locations which is what I am excited about.

As a side note, graphic novels are not comics.

I don't think it'll work for the same reason big supermarkets don't normally sell 'nerdy' things like wargaming models and trading cards (even video games are limited). These things are very detailed in all aspects, including how they work, are archived, organised and sold. They also have strong and devoted fanbases who put in a lot of effort to their hobbies. The upshot of all this is that these things require a great deal of curating and a great deal of time effort and attention to keep up to date, to be able to provide help and information, and to recognise the proper and popular stock.

The thing about Walmart and it's ilk is that they don't have the same kind of devoted and knowledgeable staff that can provide the service that is required to manage these hobbies, whereas specialist shops designed for exactly these products do.

And beyond the pure sales and stock management, these shops are more often that not meeting places and social havens for the hobbyists where they can go to talk with and play games with people with similar interests. Since my town finally got a local hobby shop (mainly wargaming, model trains and MTG) it's been great, and I'd be annoyed if the local Asda starting selling the same stuff, especially since they'd be able to sell for less and maybe even put the local shop out of business for ultimately a lesser service.

I just read all that back and realised that it's written like arse but you probably get the gist.

TL;DR: Supermarket chains can't offer the right services for these kinds of products so it'll probably not work for them, but if it does work, it'll be shite for everyone else.

Only 50 locations? I might not see any at mine.

I used to buy comic books from Walmart when I was kid. I remember riding my bike like 2 miles to the closest Walmart to buy a Batman comic. Apparently sometime in the last 25 years they stopped doing that.

Being an adult and considerable wiser now I wouldn't buy comics from Walmart. Especially when I frequent a great local shop and can definitely get what I want from the internet for cheaper than Walmart would want to provide it for.

 

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