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Thoughts on the new Microcosm Publishing statement?

http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2011/06/a-statement-from-...

 

Personally, I think it's too little too late. Most of the comments are right on and bring up some really good points. 

 

Thoughts?

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You may be right Erin. And what I meant by safe for libraries is actually a lot more than reliable, it generally means the distro having a business license and able to handle a check written to the business name. I think it's a totally legitimate question what distro would be comparable or willing to step up. Instead the question was left unanswered and I got flipped a bunch of crap. Whatever.  At least I know who's distro to completely avoid: Click Clack Distro

I hurt your feelings THAT bad by questioning your claim that Microcosm is the only "safe" place to order from?  Sheesh! 

 

Erin -  Thank you for explaining more clearly.

Geez, settle down you two. Let's stop squabbling and get back to how great Microcosm is.  www.microcosmpublishing.com   I think I'll make an order today!       Seriously though, if you don't live in Chicago (quimbys) or Baltimore (atomic books) then Microcosm is the shit. They put out Al Burian's new issue of Burn Collector which is great and they are continually publishing cool books as a business-and Dan made a good point, there is no one to fill their shoes. I don't see Click Clack publishing books and selling them across the country. I found some Microcosm books in my local independent comic book store. These people are doing good things so all you internet trash talkers can suck it.
That is because Click Clack is not a publisher, it is a zine distro. 

Buddy Hershey said:
Geez, settle down you two. Let's stop squabbling and get back to how great Microcosm is.  www.microcosmpublishing.com   I think I'll make an order today!       Seriously though, if you don't live in Chicago (quimbys) or Baltimore (atomic books) then Microcosm is the shit. They put out Al Burian's new issue of Burn Collector which is great and they are continually publishing cool books as a business-and Dan made a good point, there is no one to fill their shoes. I don't see Click Clack publishing books and selling them across the country. I found some Microcosm books in my local independent comic book store. These people are doing good things so all you internet trash talkers can suck it.

a zine distro that by your own admission barely stays afloat.i would also suggest that people running competing businesses would have a conflict of interest when commenting on the business of other zine distributors.

 

I think there are a couple of distros that could step up if they had more weight behind them in orders from libraries and such. But yeah, ordering zines for a library, especially if you're working for an institution that has a lot of rules about where, when, and how you order materials, can be difficult. I know I've purchased zines out of my own pocket to donate to my library's collection because we can only place orders during certain times of the year and then that's it. I'd be out a lot of the zines that fit in our collection if I didn't. Luckily zines aren't terribly pricey, but it adds up.

NicoleIntrovert mentioned a lot of great distros that you should check out. I'm not familiar with the online ordering of most of them, but I can second Parcell Press, which is one of the ones that could be better than Microcosm with the right support. My library orders from Printed Matter too, but I don't consider them a zine distro even thought they do sell art zines.

Dan 10things said:

None, I stopped ordering from smaller distros 4 or 5 years ago after a couple of bad orders. I've only ordered directly from zinesters, Microcosm or bought zines locally. Which I guess is my point. If people boycott Microcosm, who's ready to step in at the same level?  Is there a next Microcosm out there?
Why does there have to be one big giant zine distro/store?  When Tower Records crumbled, people were still able to buy records at the hundreds of small record stores around the country.

Dan 10things said:
None, I stopped ordering from smaller distros 4 or 5 years ago after a couple of bad orders. I've only ordered directly from zinesters, Microcosm or bought zines locally. Which I guess is my point. If people boycott Microcosm, who's ready to step in at the same level?  Is there a next Microcosm out there?

Derek- There doesn't have to be one big zine distro/publisher for zines to survive, of course you're right. But, I think for zines to thrive beyond a small community, it certainly helps. If you look back to when zines were in their height of popularity in the mid-90s, part of what facilitated that was a number of larger distributors that could get zines out there. When Fine Print, Tower, etc. all failed, that pretty much coincided with a bunch of larger zines stopping and the small publishing community going through a pretty significant shrinking process. And while you and many here may have the time and inclination to order zines from a bunch of different distros, more casual zine readers, and institutions like libraries, like to have a go to place. I guess I think it's a difference between survival vs. a healthy, thriving small publishing scene. It seems like Microcosm has played a pretty important role in small publishing throughout it's existence, both as a distributor and as a publisher. I think if it fails and no one steps up in it's place, it could have a fairly significant effect on the amount of zines being published, distributed and read in the coming years, much like when Fine Print crashed and burned.

 

ps- Tower was a record store chain, but not very much of music distributor, they bought their products from distributors, just as indie record stores do. I swear the only reason they bought zines directly from us was because Clint was there and was a zine publisher and pushed and made it happen. So I'm not sure that example is so comparable, it would be more if the biggest independent record distributor failed, what impact would that have on record stores? Also with music, there's a lot more money to be made off sales then with zines, so there is a lot more incentive for a new distributor to step up.

well the music example happened in the UK, affecting Woolworths (not a small chain of shops by any scale) creating the conditions which caused it to go into liquidation

 

For me the best thing about big distros is that you can avoid the masses of postage that would accrue with ordering from separate distros especially overseas. They also act as a catalogue for other zines I may never have heard of which I may or may not buy from the distro in question and also often have back issues which the zinesters themselves long since run out of. Therefore bigger distros need to remain a part of the zine community

What makes a distro "big" to you all? 
one with a large number of (good) zines and varied range of genres from all over the country it is based in

This whole situation with Microcosm puts me in a rather odd moral place. I read the issue of Brainscan where Alex talked about her relationship problems before I had heard about all the other dubious stuff going on with Microcosm- the stealing, not giving credit, etc. Honestly, being a survivor of extreme emotional abuse (which, unfortunately, was quite a bit worse than what Alex got, on top of all the other ways I'd been abused over the years) I couldn't in good conscience feel okay supporting that collective anymore. Really, I agree with people here when they said that the statement was too little, too late. I can understand from a business standpoint why they'd delete the comments from the site, but, well, it does seem a little bit less than honest the way they went about it. And I was a tireless supporter of Microcosm, too- at one point, I even handed out their catalog to friends who were interested in the whole zine culture.

 

But, at the same time, I can see why people would still be willing after all that to support Microcosm. It is true that a lot of us can't really afford to buy our zines individually from many different sources, and pay international shipping on top of that for our packages. I'd be willing to bet that, unlike me, if you didn't have any investment in the drama, or if you don't really have a clear idea of what went on and continues to go on with Alex's ex and his (former) partners, it would seem like people were making a big deal over things. While all the other smaller distros are good places to get zines and are run more ethically than Microcosm, there still remains the issue of, if Microcosm does go away, how are we going to be able to get those good deals? I'm not doubting the ability of these smaller distros to step up to the plate to do this, but it could be a bit problematic, as it would be more work for them to do something like that.

 

Me, personally, I don't buy anything from Microcosm anymore, but what other people do with their money is really, their own decision.

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