Goodbye, Amazon, Says Microcosm
Microcosm Publishing, a small press out of Portland, sometimes puts out comics. (I’ve reviewed from them Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking and On the Books: A Graphic Tale of Working Woes at NYC’s Strand Bookstore.) Of interest to me most recently, though, are their business decisions.
They recently moved to self-distribution, after being with PGW/Ingram, because, says CEO Joe Biel, “we have come to realize that we know better how to distribute our books than anyone else that we’ve tried to partner with. We’ve continued to handle 75%-90% of our own distribution over the past seven years.”
This is an important concept for small and self-publishers, which comics depend on. No one else cares as much about your work as you do. A big company can bring benefits and scale, but you might also get lost in the crush. There is no one right choice, just examples to be aware of and decisions to make based on factors important to you and what you want to achieve. The kind of money that a small company can survive, or thrive, on won’t pay for a bunch of overhead; success is relative and requires context.
Along with that change, they won’t be signing a new distribution agreement with Amazon, which they talked about on their blog. There’s some interesting insight there into how the Amazon business works and what low prices mean in follow-on effects.
Microcosm will still be selling there as a third-party seller, which means they can set their own prices and ship orders themselves, with freebies if they want and more loving care in packing. Given how small a market that is for them, it sounds like a good plan.