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I have searched the forum before deciding to post this thread and did not find exactly what I was looking for. And that would be:

Three or more sentences from zine, book, button, patch, sticker, etc. creators who have had a definitively positive or negative experience with Microcosm. I have begun working at a radical bookstore that exclusively uses Microcosm for their zine orders, and I would like to provide the other co-op members with accurate and legitimate information instead of a smear (or cheer for that matter) campaign that is simply based on rumors.  I am looking for direct statements, not something that "happened to a friend of a friend of a friend." Please just let me know briefly what your experiences have been with them, how any matters were handled, anything you feel is pertinent information for how you'd like people to know about your dealings with Microcosm.

Please feel to repost this anywhere that may be relevant or helpful. Thank you.

Tags: microcosm

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We've had Microcosm distro our zines and it's been fine. We plan to continue having them distro for us.
Microcosm has distroed my zines for about 6 years. I've never had a problem with them and have not had any negative experiences.
I found the process of submitting a zine for distro consideration to be a little ridiculous. When I first moved to Portland, I brought some zines to the Microcosm store to put on consignment. Joe Biel was working, looked at my zine, and then told me to mail it to Bloomington. I tried to explain to him that I wasn't looking to be distroed by Microcosm, I only wanted to put a few copies of my zine in the store like i already had at so many other Portland stores with no problem at all (Powell's, Guapo, Reading Frenzy, and Floating World). He then told me that all zines had to be sent to Bloomington to be approved before they can be sold in the store. I found this practice to not only be annoying, but not very supportive of local zine creators. I figured the Microcosm store would operate much like Reading Frenzy- they will take 5 copies of a zine made by anyone who lives in Portland on consignment for 90 days. I was wrong.
Microcosm has distributed some of my zines off and on since 2003. My most recent dealings with them were this year (2010) and were 100% satisfactory. I was paid quickly and the check did not bounce. Also, I have had good experiences ordering from them as well. One time they forgot to put a book in an order. I contacted them (Sparky?) and they sent it out ASAP.
I've distro'd with them for several years and have always been paid promptly and have been happy with my interactions with them. I did go on the website at one point to find that they were selling my zine for $2 less than the price I normally list (selling them for $2 rather than $4), even though the wholesale price they paid me for was for the $4 retail price. I don't know if it was an honest mistake, if they were trying to move stock, or if they were purposefully trying to give better prices than other distros or even myself were offering. I emailed them to clarify what I normally charge for my zines and they promptly went in and changed the prices to my normal $4 retail price. After reading the statements released by both Joe Biel and Alex Wrekk, I have decided to stop distributing through Microcosm but am letting them sell off the rest of my stock that they've already paid me for. It has nothing to do with how well they have treated me, but rather wanting to be in support of Alex. I spoke with Sparky about this and had a positive interaction with her about my decision and the tough spot the collective is in.

I've done spot illustrations free of charge for both the website and for a book (Make a Zine). No problems there.

I was commissioned to do a poster design for a fest that was supposed to happen in Bloomington later that year. The fest ended up being moved back after I did all the work and submitted the poster to them. Upon hearing the fest would be moved to a later date, I asked for payment still since I had already spent the time and done the work. Joe agreed and sent payment with the agreement that I would later re-draw the new date on once the fest was rescheduled. The fest never happened but I was still paid. Although my art didn't end up being used I felt fine about how I was treated and they were more than fair to remit payment.
I bought a subscription from them for my school's zine library. They sent me a couple emails about the subscription over the next year that didn't seem to quite remember/get that the subscription was for a school I didn't actually attend any more (the shipments were being sent to someone's else name who was still there) and thus I didn't have strong feelings about which zines were included and it would be better not to get stuff like shirts. But their emails asking about my shirt size and what older zines I'd be interested in getting if the new stuff didn't fill the subscription were nice gestures!

I also sent them a zine to consider consigning. They weren't interested in carrying it, but their reply was very nice. I think I sent them another zine some other time. I'm not sure if I ever heard back about that one.

Some people have the kind of first-person comments about experiences with Microcosm it sounds like your looking for here: http://wemakezines.ning.com/forum/topics/microcosm-issues - people also say some stuff that doesn't sound like the kind of comments your looking for (and link to other places people have said both kinds of things), but that I think probably still ought to be relevant to your decision on whether or not to use them.
Thank you for the link to that other forum, Dan. I overlooked that on my initial search and will try to find some additional answers from those discussions. The link "here's some actual information" was broken and while I have not read every post on that forum completely, I think I will be able to add some more information to the project I'm assembling.



Dan C said:
I bought a subscription from them for my school's zine library. They sent me a couple emails about the subscription over the next year that didn't seem to quite remember/get that the subscription was for a school I didn't actually attend any more (the shipments were being sent to someone's else name who was still there) and thus I didn't have strong feelings about which zines were included and it would be better not to get stuff like shirts. But their emails asking about my shirt size and what older zines I'd be interested in getting if the new stuff didn't fill the subscription were nice gestures!

I also sent them a zine to consider consigning. They weren't interested in carrying it, but their reply was very nice. I think I sent them another zine some other time. I'm not sure if I ever heard back about that one.

Some people have the kind of first-person comments about experiences with Microcosm it sounds like your looking for here: http://wemakezines.ning.com/forum/topics/microcosm-issues - people also say some stuff that doesn't sound like the kind of comments your looking for (and link to other places people have said both kinds of things), but that I think probably still ought to be relevant to your decision on whether or not to use them.
the current url for the 'here's some actual information' is = http://itsthefirstday.tumblr.com/post/300107236

Bree Adorn said:
Thank you for the link to that other forum, Dan. I overlooked that on my initial search and will try to find some additional answers from those discussions. The link "here's some actual information" was broken and while I have not read every post on that forum completely, I think I will be able to add some more information to the project I'm assembling.



Dan C said:
I bought a subscription from them for my school's zine library. They sent me a couple emails about the subscription over the next year that didn't seem to quite remember/get that the subscription was for a school I didn't actually attend any more (the shipments were being sent to someone's else name who was still there) and thus I didn't have strong feelings about which zines were included and it would be better not to get stuff like shirts. But their emails asking about my shirt size and what older zines I'd be interested in getting if the new stuff didn't fill the subscription were nice gestures!

I also sent them a zine to consider consigning. They weren't interested in carrying it, but their reply was very nice. I think I sent them another zine some other time. I'm not sure if I ever heard back about that one.

Some people have the kind of first-person comments about experiences with Microcosm it sounds like your looking for here: http://wemakezines.ning.com/forum/topics/microcosm-issues - people also say some stuff that doesn't sound like the kind of comments your looking for (and link to other places people have said both kinds of things), but that I think probably still ought to be relevant to your decision on whether or not to use them.
They are about the fastest distro out there from a zine reader's perspective. I usually recommend them to people ordering zines for the first time from a distro because others can take a few weeks to send you an order, whereas every time I order from Microcosm it comes in a few days.

When I did a zine exhibit for the University of Washington in the graduate library, I sent Microcosm an email asking for some flyers and other stuff to hand out. They shipped a big box fulls of sticker, pins, catalogs and swag within a couple days, it was great.
Universally positive experience here, as both customer, and someone whose zine has been distro'd by them for years and years. Additionally, we just worked together on the Zinester's Guide to NYC, which came out TODAY, and that has been a great, grueling experience - lots of hard work, leavened with total courtesy, communication and respect.


The East Village Inky said:
Universally positive experience here, as both customer, and someone whose zine has been distro'd by them for years and years. Additionally, we just worked together on the Zinester's Guide to NYC, which came out TODAY, and that has been a great, grueling experience - lots of hard work, leavened with total courtesy, communication and respect.

It looks great Ayun, I got myself a copy (despite no current plans to visit NYC) and my friend (who is visiting in December) as a present (hope she's not reading this!)


I've had no bad experiences with ordering from Microcosm either. Zine orders always arrive pretty quickly considering they have to cross and ocean and a few years back I did the 6month subscription and got loads of cool stuff. Also met Steve distroing in the UK on a Defiance, Ohio tour and he was friendly and gave me some free stickers.
Dan... when have you ordered from other distros? What distros are taking that long? I send packages within a day or two, and it has never taken weeks to get packages from any other distros I've ordered from....

Of course not counting TWO Microcosm orders that i never received a few years ago when they pretty much only used Media Mail.



Dan 10things said:
They are about the fastest distro out there from a zine reader's perspective. I usually recommend them to people ordering zines for the first time from a distro because others can take a few weeks to send you an order, whereas every time I order from Microcosm it comes in a few days.

When I did a zine exhibit for the University of Washington in the graduate library, I sent Microcosm an email asking for some flyers and other stuff to hand out. They shipped a big box fulls of sticker, pins, catalogs and swag within a couple days, it was great.

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