Distributors DC and UCS are ending their Direct Market partnership effective January 1, 2021, as announced in Letters to the Comic Book Retailers from DC and UCS, respectively.
"In April, UCS Comic Distributors and Lunar Distribution partnered with DC to transition to a multi-distributor model for the direct market, at a time when comic book distribution was on hiatus and the supply chainNot disrupted due to the more secure home orders that have been put in place, "reads DC 's letter to retailers.
"We are now in our next phase in which, as of January 1, 2021, DC publications will continue to be distributed in the direct market by Lunar Distribution, Diamond UK and Penguin Random House (for graphic novels and collected editions only). UCS Comic Distributors will no longer distribute DC publications, but retailers can continue to order from UCS until the end of November. "
UCS was established in the spring as an outgrowth of Midtown Comics, which already had a strong mail-order comic book retail business.
UCS and Lunar have replaced the long-time exclusive distributor of DC Diamond Comic book distributor in a surprising and much publicized spring split which retailers have reacted negatively to .
The Direct Market is made up of specialty shops that purchase comics as non-refundable items for a larger wholesale discount. This method became the dominant medium of comic book distribution in the 1980s. The alternative newsstand market that dominated distribution before the direct market allows retailers such as convenience stores to return unsold items . articles to their publishers for a refund.
"We want to take this time to sincerely thank UCS for their assistance during this transition, and we will continue to provide our full support to UCS as retailers move their coto Lunar or other distributors, "the letter from DC continues.
DC initially recommended US and Canadian retailers on the west coast choose Lunar and those on the east coast choose UCS for maximize shipping times although this was never a requirement.
The switch to Lunar (which is an outgrowth of the online retailer Discount Comic Book Service or DCBS) has some changes that could potentially affect specialty comic book stores. As of the final order deadline of December 6, 2020, the publisher now requires orders placed through Lunar to total a minimum of $ 125 (USD) per weekly order based on the value of retail sales (sale price), totaling 500 USD. monthly.
John Jackson Miller from Comichron reports which may not be insignificant for retailers who only offer comics as a secondary item or specialize in graphic novels on monthly periodicals.
"... while that doesn't sound like much, Diamond served many game and hobby stores that had comic books on the sidelines; there are also stores that specialize more in graphic novels and less in periodicals, "writes Miller.
DC's letter ends by stating that he " remains committed to comic book stores as a cornerstone of our industry. "
" This community is the source of countless stories and relationships that inspire us and our fans every day. Thank you for your support and we will continue to provide you with business updates as they occur. "
In their letter, UCSwrote: “We are very proud of the role we played in DC's transition during this unprecedented time. "
All eyes of the industry will now be on Lunar as it moves on to manage all of DC's distribution in the North American specialty market and likely amplify speculation about a potential merger with Diamond .
The switch to Lunar will be right in time for DC Future State Event that begins in January .