Checker Book Publishing Group, an independent publisher of graphic novels, appointed Midpoint Trade Books as its distributor to the U.S.
booktrade effective June 1, 2002. Midpoint replaces the recently dissolved Seven Hills Book Distributors in this role for Checker, and will be the exclusive source of Checker's list to the lion's share of the bookstore, book wholesale, and library wholesale markets.
Checker cited a substandard Spring/Summer seasonal catalog, delayed
sales/stock reports, understaffing, and a greatly diminished presence at May's Book Expo America among the distress signals eminating from the struggling Seven Hills which presaged the distribution shift. The Midpoint agreement was negotiated in mid May. Checker had been with Seven Hills since its entry into publication in Fall 2001.
"Ironically enough," said Checker publisher Mark Thompson, "We had appointed Seven Hills to handle our booktrade presence after discussions with LPC had stalled in the chaotic aftermath of September 11." LPC, once the leading booktrade distributor of graphic novels, itself sought bankruptcy protection this Spring.
Checker's June release of Clive Barker's Hellraiser: Collected Best was shipped to Midpoint rather than Seven Hills, and is available from the newly appointed distributor and its wholesale customers - Ingram Book Company and Baker & Taylor, among others.
Some stock of Alien Legion: Force Nomad, a November 2001 release from Checker, had not been recovered from Seven Hills prior to its bankruptcy, but Checker quickly made arrangements for additional stock to supply the booktrade through Midpoint without interruption of service, pending a reprint or receipt of the Seven Hills inventory.
Midpoint's exclusive accounts represent an estimated 95% of the US market for books, but do not include direct sales to most independent booksellers and library systems. Independents and libraries seeking Checker titles are encouraged to contact the publisher directly, or to order from their preferred wholesale supplier.
Checker's service to the comicbook direct market through Diamond Comic Distributors, FM International, Cold Cut and Bulldog is unaffected by the change, as is the publisher's mail order service direct to consumers.
Checker Book Publishing Group specializes in the publication of graphic novels with dual appeal to the comicbook direct and booktrade markets. Checker pursues book rights to comics material previously unpublished, underpublished, or out-of-print in book format, and emphasizes titles by renowned fiction and comics writers (Barker, Neil Gaiman and Chuck Dixon, to date), with first-rate illustration, in established categories like horror and science fiction. The company is located in Dayton, Ohio.