Cold Cut’s mystery future

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For months, the LJ of Cold Cut Distribution employee Matt High has been spotlighting his spectacular vacation photos. Of late it started talking about packing up and moving. A post yesterday spelled it out

Still no official news on Cold Cut to announce, since the paperwork is not signed yet. But the unofficial news is Cold Cut is closed (and has been since before Christmas, really), and will re-open under totally brand-new ownership in Illinois sometime next month. Details to follow when they can be released.


Cold Cut is one of the very few surviving comics distributors that isn’t Diamond. Although exclusives had left them with a smaller amount of product to carry, their publishers page still lists a couple hundred publishers, including SLG/Slave Labor, Fantagraphics, NBM and book publishers like Random House and Harper Collins.

Cold Cut had been in dubious shape for a while, with a public plea for a new buyer posted in July. We wrote to High for any additional comment but received no answer. We also polled a few indie publishers carried by Cold Cut and the general sense we got is that owner Mark Thompson has generally remained current with publishers, so there is at this point no big financial hit to publishers in the offing.

The need for a distributor other than Diamond continues to be a theme bubbling under the industry, with many rumours of alternatives surfacing now and then, but never in an organized way. Baker & Taylor, the large book distributor seems to have become a de facto alternative for many retailers, as they offer speedier orders on mainstream books and reasonable rates even for returnable books. However, Cold Cut did have a niche that many people found useful or even essential. Whoever this company in Illinois is must have thought the same thing.

Comments

  1. > Cold Cut is one of the very few surviving comics distributors that isn’t Diamond.

    Who are the others I’m not aware of?

  2. Now, wouldn’t that me something if the new owners of Cold Cut were able to get Marvel and DC to brake their exclusive contracts with Diamond? Who knows what it would bring after what… 15 years of stores only having one place to go for there core books? It’s so odd. What other industry works like this? Competition is good for business and I see no reason for anyone to fear it; even Diamond. Of course, not that I dare to believe that any of this would happen. All I have to say after that is, thank God they run their business fairly well, or new distributors could only rise from the ashes of a decimated industry, to start it again from scratch. Think of a small wild flower, sprouting from the chard remains of thousands of comic book stores, and publishers great and small. But, that’s getting far to poetic for this time of day.

  3. So, no one has a clue who the buyer is? One would guess that it would be it would be someone already established in book/magazine distribution looking to add to that business. I did some quick searching and came up with this indy book distributor in Illinois who might be a good fit… http://www.ipgbook.com
    Obviously, this is just idle speculation on my part, but would any comics journalists out there care to make a call or send an email?

  4. Eric, Last Gasp is one of the those other distributors.

  5. RE: Diamond
    I saw a great episode of “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS. They were in Baltimore and stopped by the Geppi Museum. Fascinating stuff. Apparently, there is money in comics. Just not that much to go around.

  6. “Apparently, there is money in comics. Just not that much to go around.”

    Geppi owns more then just Diamond. He has his fingers in many pies.

  7. M. High says:

    Unfortunately I will have to remain quite vague, since it is not really my place to make any major announcements — I’ll leave that up to the new owners instead. The best that I can say right now is pretty much what we have on our answering machine, and recent email replies — which is that our California warehouse is closed, and we are in the process of moving the operations to Illinois. In fact, I’m breaking down the last of the gorilla racks today, and the big Yellow Freight truck comes by tomorrow.

    As for the future — well, that’s up to the new owners, and leave it at that for now. As soon as any announcement is made, it will be made on our website (which is now horribly out of date — the catalog/shopping portion should remain about the same, but the rest of the site will probably be completely redesigned from top to bottom), and in the official Cold Cut Livejournal community (not my personal journal, which is more for my own personal ruminations and non-business stuff, really).

    That’s all for now — stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for developments.

  8. Whats got me curious is the location. Shipping from Illinois is 2 days at most (inside the continental US) is it not? Moving it there makes it much more accessible to the entire DM.

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