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Barnes and Noble Pulls All Amazon Kindle-Exclusive DC Comics Titles from Stores [Updated]


Last week, DC Comics announced that it would be digitally releasing 100 backlist graphic novels exclusively on the Kindle Fire, an Amazon-owned e-reader, including classics like The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. This decision did not go over well with mega-retailer Barnes and Noble, whose Nook e-reader was excluded by the deal, and has now decided to remove all copies of those specific DC titles from their brick and mortar stores.

In a statement to Publishers Weekly, a Barnes and Noble representative explained, “We pulled those 100 DC Comics graphic novels that we were not offered in digital format. Our policy is that unless we receive all formats of a title to make available to our customers, we will not sell those physical titles in our stores.”The titles will still be available online, and can be special ordered from stores. Barnes and Noble Chief Merchant told PW that they were not singling DC Comics out, and that this policy had been applied to other publishers as well: “In a few isolated instances, exclusive publisher deals have prohibited Barnes & Noble from selling certain eBooks, preventing millions of our digital customers from access to those titles. To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms, and not have the eBook available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere, anytime.”

Bleeding Cool notes that some Barnes and Noble staffers have called the decision to remove the books “short-sighted and reactionary,” particularly in light of the recent closure of Borders and the big ongoing DC Comics relaunch aimed to bring new readers into the fold. While relaunch was primarily oriented around the new #1 single issues, DC’s broad mainstream push — which even included TV commercials — certainly had the potential to generate interest in backlist book collections, an opportunity that now may be at least partially lost with no mass market book retailer to offer them in-store.

Will the removal of these books have any effect on you, as a reader?

UPDATE: Graeme McMillan reports the first official statement from DC Comics on the Barnes and Noble decision:

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.

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