UPDATE @ 1:34 PM Pacific: Marvel provided CBR News with the following statement from Senior VP of Sales David Gabriel: "The overwhelming majority of print readers get their monthly comics from direct market locations (i.e. brick and mortar comic shops). There’s no denying that the direct market is a much stronger business model for monthly single issues than newsstand distribution. This has been the case for some time. New single issues haven’t been available in the overall newsstand market for nearly two years now and in book stores for at least three months without notice. We’re currently working with Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million on a stronger, more mutually beneficial distribution model. And to be clear, this in no way affects sales of graphic novels in either chain which have continued, as many have pointed out, on an uphill trend in the past year!"
UPDATE @ 12:38 PM Pacific: Marvel's Senior VP of Sales David Gabriel tells Publisher's Weekly, Marvel's distribution to B&N "ended almost three months ago to no fanfare or notice from the comics industry... [T]he business in the direct market is a much stronger model and try as we might, we have not been able to make the comics newsstand model work for years, I don’t think anyone has." Gabriel also notes that Marvel ended its newsstand distribution "about two years ago."
Marvel has reportedly suspended distribution of periodical comics to Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, with representatives of both chains indicating to Good E-Reader that the move applies to the entire book market. The stores will continue to carry the publisher's graphic novels and trade collections, which are distributed by Hachette, as well as single issues released by DC Comics and Dark Horse.
A Marvel spokesman had no comment when contacted this morning by CBR News.
According to Good E-Reader, while a smattering of Marvel periodicals still may be found at some smaller or rural stores, the titles are simply no longer available to Books-A-Million.
Typically shelved with the magazines or on the outskirts of the graphic novel section, the selection of single issues -- not only Marvel's but those from other publishers as well -- were generally light, and restricted to those titles and characters with broad appeal. As ICv2.com notes, those periodical sales likely meant little to the bottom lines of either Marvel or the book chains, but they provided branding opportunities for both parties.