Marvel has decided to terminate one of its sale channels.
According to an article on Publishers Weekly that was published today, Marvel senior VP of book sales David Gabriel told the publication that the termination of single-issue comics is specific to single-issue comics and that graphic novels format will still be readily available in major book retailers.
Mary Ellen Keating, Barnes & Noble spokesperson, reiterated that, "This is a Marvel decision to pull single issue comics from retailers. Not a B&N decision," and that "this doesn't apply to graphic novels."
While Marvel may have decided to pull single-issue comics from bookstores, other publishers have not followed suit and readers should still be able to find single-issue comics from other publishers in bookstores.
As to why Marvel has decided to terminate this distribution channel, David Gabriel commented that, "“the business in the direct market [the comics shop 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.”
While sales of single-issue comics in bookstores may not be as high as a specialized comic shop, it is surprising that a major publisher like Marvel is wiling to terminate such an extensive distribution channel. Given the popularity of comic book movies and TV shows, I suspect that Marvel no longer feels a need to attract new casual readers from major bookstores.