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B&N Retaliates After Kindle Gets 4-Month Exclusive On DC Graphic Novels

Kindle Fire owners (and anybody with a Kindle reading app) will be able to read bestselling graphic novels like Watchmen, Batman and V for Vendetta on their new devices, under the terms of a four-month exclusive deal DC Entertainment made with Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) last week. NookColor owners are left out–and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) is getting even by yanking those titles from its shelves.

On September 29, DC Entertainment announced that it would release 100 of its graphic novels (with more to follow) in digital form for the first time exclusively on the Kindle Fire. While it wasn’t clear from the press release, the LA Times reports that Amazon only has exclusive rights to the titles for four months, starting on the Kindle Fire’s release date on November 15. Also, Amazon will make the titles available on Kindle apps for all devices, not just on the Kindle Fire.

Comic book industry blog Bleeding Cool reports today that Barnes & Noble e-mailed all of its employees yesterday and told them to remove all print copies of the books included in that exclusive from their shelves. “You will still be able to order the books on the website, but in bookstores you won’t even be able to special order a copy–unless you request it delivered to your home,” the site says. “Copies will not be allowed to enter Barnes & Noble premises.”

“We will not stock physical books in our stores if we are not offered the available digital format,” Barnes & Noble chief merchandising officer Jaime Carey said in a statement. “To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms and not have the e-book available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime.” As mentioned by Bleeding Cool, customers can special-order the books and buy them online. When the four months and Amazon’s exclusive are up, Barnes & Noble will presumably carry the print titles again.

I went to my local Barnes & Noble this afternoon and found a DC comics shelf with big chunks of books missing. Mark Sample tweeted a picture of a Barnes & Noble employee removing DC titles from the shelves.

DC gave us its official statement:

Through this partnership with Amazon, DC Entertainment graphic novels will be downloadable on the new Kindle Fire, as well as other mobile and online devices – such as the iPad – through a Kindle app. DC Entertainment is excited by this business initiative with Amazon and expects fans to be amazed by the robust, intuitive comics reader experience Amazon has created for the Kindle Fire which showcases with extraordinary brilliance and clarity the incredible artwork and graphics DC Entertainment is known for.

Upon hearing news of the our digital distribution plans with Amazon, Barnes & Noble book stores notified DC Entertainment that they will be pulling the physical books of these graphic novels off all their store shelves.

We are disappointed that Barnes & Noble has made the decision to remove these books off their shelves and make them unavailable to their customers.

DC Entertainment will continue to make our content available to our fans and new readers through multiple distribution channels including locally-owned comic book retailers, independent bookstores, other bookstore chains and other widespread means such as online through Amazon and through our apps on iOS and select Android powered devices as well as new and exciting devices going forward.

As one of the largest book publishers in North America, DC Entertainment’s publishing strategy is to give our consumers the choice to read our stories in whichever format they prefer but we also know that nothing will ever take away from the joy and collectability of physical books, comics and graphic novels.

7 Responses to “B&N Retaliates After Kindle Gets 4-Month Exclusive On DC Graphic Novels”

  1. About Kindle Twinkle … I mean Fire:
    – Kindle Fire doesn’t have microSD slot that, for example, Nook Color has thus it is stuck with 6 GB usable internal storage unlike Nook Color that can get up to 32 GB card in. Kindles are made to be almost like a “dumb terminal” of the past to make sure you’re tied up to Amazon’s storage on the web (for which you need Wi-Fi connection to get to) and you can only store content you get from Amazon there, not other files. Quoting Amazon on Kindle Fire: “Free cloud storage for all Amazon content”. Get it, Amazon content? 
    – The stats of how long the battery can last (Kindle Fire theory is 8 hours) are taken with Wi-Fi off. You can only imaging how much less Kindle Fire battery will last if you use it to access content from their Cloud storage over Wi-Fi. 
    – Amazon can spy on your web activity through their new cloud-integrated web browser of Kindle Fire. 
    – VERY IMPORTANT – lack of microSD slot means that if you decide to root your Kindle Fire, you’ll have to root the actual device thus there will be no coming back. On Nook Color, you can make it boot from a “rooted” microSD card and if you want to get back to the original Nook you can just take out the card and reboot. 
    – Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera. 
    – Kindle Fire has about 70% less usable screen area than iPad 2. 
    – Kindle doesn’t support eBooks in ePub format that is the most used format in the world. 
    – Kindle app store contains only Amazon approved apps and it does not include (and will not include) Netflix app that iPad has and Nook Color is getting thus again you’re stuck with Amazon content only. 
    I’d recommend waiting for a couple of weeks as Nook Color 2 is rumored to be released by Barnes & Noble.

    • Why would you possibly expect the Kindle Fire to have the same Netflix app that Ipads have; I know of no case where a non-Apple device can run an app designed for the Ipad.  The Fire will get its own Netflix app, probably at at launch, since Netflix is one of the few companies that had the Fire AI before its release.

      And I have no clue why you are comparing the Ipad to the Fire; they simply aren’t comparable devices.  It’s like complaining about a Honda Accord because it doesn’t have the features a Porsche has.

  2. Publishers will think twice not to make similar mistake in the future. As Borders is liquidated, Barnes & Noble is The king maker in the physical books business.

  3. They are going to make them in other e-book formats, four months down the road; there’s mothing the least bit false about their statement.  Or do you believe that DC should have to issue the hardvover and paperback versions of books at the same time in order “to give….consumers the choice to read our stories in whichever format they prefer”?.

    And B&N has never had any problem producing exclusives for themselves which they don’t let other bookstores carry ever.  (I’ve worked on such books for them in the past)

    B&N is throwing the equivalent of a 3-year old’s tantrum: “If you don’t let me play with all of your toys when I want to, I’m going to take my ball and go home.”    And their way of throwing a hissy fit tells their customers that they don’t care about them at all; B&N’s need to throw a tantrum clearly outweighs their desire to carry books which customers want.

    Both customers and investors should beware.

    • Wrong. B&N is showing they DO care for their customers by standing up for them in the face of an agreement that was a betrayal by DC of not only B&N but also to those customers who had chosen to purchase something other than an Amazon product… a product that is not even out yet… a product we have not even been allowed to touch. This so-called “tantrum” is a warning that there is at least one entity that will not allow Amazon to become the monopoly it is trying to become without a fight. B&N gave those titles shelf space, promoted them, made their booksellers aware of them so they could promote them to customers and DC’s thanks was to back stab them with an exclusive agreement to a competitor. No, Greg, B&N did exactly what they should have done. It is DC who made an incredibly stupid move though I am sure Amazon convinced them that no one would ever have the guts to actually retaliate to such a betrayal. As for those exclusives you speak of, those are “in-house” imprints. B&N is not asking anyone to promote the titles, provide space for the titles, provide support for the titles and then pull a chunk of the market away and give it exclusively to a competitor. Apples and oranges, Greg. Apples and oranges.

      Take care, be well, keep flying.

      • Why would Amazon become a monopoly?  Do you really think B&N won’t have its own exclusives?  And you didn’t answer my main point: why is it ok for B&N to have print exclusives on new books that are never made available to any other retailer and terrible for Amazon to have a 4-month exclusive (as a head start) on digital versions of backlist titles.

        And why has B&N not done this for the hundreds of thousands of other books that Amazon has digital copies of that B&N can only stock hard copies of?

        If these were new titles that B&N would never be able to sell, I’d see their point, despite their long history of doing such things.  But for a  4 month delay of backlist titles?  It’s absurd.

  4. DC Comics says: “As one of the largest book publishers in North America, DC
    Entertainment’s publishing strategy is to give our consumers the choice
    to read our stories in whichever format they prefer”… but what IF, I am a customer and I prefer the comic in Nook ebook format or some other non kindle type ebook format.. is DC comics going to make it available? No, right.. Then stop making random PR statements which are FALSE.