Uh-oh. There’s trouble brewin’ in comics and, as has become all too familiar lately, DC is at the heart of it. Seems like their recent deal with Amazon has ruffled the feathers of book behemoth, Barnes and Noble.
Let’s back up the truck a second here. Last week, DC and Amazon announced a partnership following the launch of Amazon’s full color e-reader, the Kindle Fire. More than 100 hugely popular DC graphic novels will be available exclusively digitally through Amazon, including Watchmen, Sandman, Fables, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. That’s great for Amazon, but it leaves Barnes and Noble in the lurch.
Apparently, B&N tried to reach out to DC to express their frustration and maybe find a way to get a little love for their own e-reader, the Nook, in the process. Unfortunately for B&N, DC wasn’t interested. This has yielded what might be best described as a “rage quit.” Barnes and Noble has sent out a company-wide email blast instructing all stores to take down all print editions of the DC graphic novels soon to be released on the Kindle Fire. The books will still be available online, but they are not to be sold on Barnes and Noble premises.
This huge kerfuffle highlights what happens when exclusive deals are signed, especially over something like digital content. Imagine you’re Barnes and Noble for a second. Now imagine that the thing which brings in almost all of your revenue, print books and magazines, are fast becoming obsolete. Then imagine that some of your best-selling books have just been made for sale exclusively through your largest competitor, Amazon, leaving you out in the cold.
We’re not saying that this response isn’t reactionary and something that Barnes and Noble won’t regret later, but we get it. This situation is the opposite of ideal for them so they’re acting out like a cat in a corner.
The question is, what happens next?