In the summer, as shutdowns affected Diamond Comic Distributors and many comic book stores, DC Comics chose to set up two new comic book distributors from their two biggest retail accounts, DCBD and Midtown Comics, both with an existing and extensive mail-order operation. Lunar Distribution and UCS Comics Distributors, respectively, distributed DC Comics when Diamond were not and, when Diamond returned to distribution, DC Comics dropped Diamond completely. Then, as Lunar and UCS struggled to distribute efficiently to Europe, DC went back to Diamond UK, first temporarily and then permanently. It was the New Distributor Wars.
Now DC Comics is doing it again, and is dropping UCS completely, in favour of Lunar, so that DC now has three print distributors in Lunar, Diamond UK and Penguin Random House. Which means that everyone with UCS accounts are now going to have to switch to Lunar – including Midtown Comics.
Here is DC Comics' letter to UCS accounts. Cue a lot of retailers complaining about having to go through this rigmarole one more time in 2020. Not only that but there is now a monthly minimum of ordering DC Comics, of $500 a month. Any stores that don't order that many won't be able to order any at all. While Diamond has had minimum order levels and differing discount levels to dissuade smaller orders, this is the first time a comic book publisher has set a minimum order amount.
Here's the letter, as sent to retailers through DC.
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 pause and the supply chain disrupted as a result of the safer-at-home orders that were put in place. We are now in our next phase where, 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 through the end of November.
We want to take this time to sincerely thank UCS for their help during this transition, and we will continue to provide all our support to UCS as retailers shift their accounts over to Lunar or other distributors.
Please Note: the last date to place FOC orders and reorders through UCS will be November 29, 2020. Any publication eligible for returnability must be returned to the distributor from which it was received by their returnability end dates; returns received after that end date cannot be accepted.
Additionally, DC is requiring that orders placed through Lunar Distribution total a minimum of $125 (USD) per weekly order based on retail sales value (cover price), or total $500 monthly. Orders that do not meet this amount will be held until further orders are added and the minimum is met, at which time the combined orders will be shipped. The minimum order requirement goes into effect with the December 6, 2020 FOC date. In order to help transition all accounts smoothly, information is below about how to sign up with Lunar Distribution. Should retail customers have any questions about transitioning to Lunar or another distributor, send an email to ComicShopQuestions@dcentertainment.com.
As always, DC remains committed to comics shops as the cornerstone of our industry. This community is the source of countless stories and relationships that inspire us and our fans every day. We thank you for your support, and we will continue to provide business updates as they happen.
The DC Team
And the letter sent out by UCS.
UCS will no longer be distributing DC Comics as of January 1st, 2021.
In April, UCS Comic Distributors partnered with DC at a time when comic book distribution was on pause and the supply chain disrupted as a result of the safer-at-home orders that were put in place. We are very proud of the role we played in transitioning DC during this unprecedented time.
The transition is now complete, and UCS is passing the baton to Lunar Distribution, who will handle all of DC Comics' retail accounts as of January 1st. Our relationship with DC Comics will continue on all other fronts.
UCS will be transferring records of all unfilled FOC orders for items shipping January 2021 and beyond to Lunar to allow for a smooth transition for all accounts. Lunar will contact accounts over the next several weeks to confirm and finalize their information. Also please note, UCS will not be soliciting books as part of the November 2020 DC Connect catalogue.
Keep in mind: UCS is not closing. We will be offering other exciting items that stores can use!
12/29/20 is last street date that we will deliver.
Any inquiries regarding sign-ups, distribution and/or shipping contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions in regards to DC policies or general inquiries, please email: ComicShopQuestions@dcentertainment.com
It's been a pleasure to get to know all of the retailers, and we look forward to continuing this wonderful relationship.