AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

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Ikoma
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Ikoma » Mon May 05, 2014 6:08 pm

It probably is a little high. Problem customers get more attention than non-problem customers, so I am sure that colors my recollection. Some of those problem customers have specific problem behaviors. For example, the anger management guys were fine... outside of a competitive environment.

That said, I would not be surprised if comic/game stores do not have a slightly higher than normal percentage of problem customers. I cannot imagine the stealth competitor existing for a lot of other business models. What? Some guy is gonna lug a box of books into a bookstore and try to undersell them? And how is anger management guy's issues going to come up while he's buying tools at a hardware store. Some are directly related to the fact that people like to come hang out at a game/comic store. People do not hang out a grocery store, so you'll likely never have to endure the sexist/porn idiot there.

Some problem behaviors are huge for any store. The numbers on shoplifting are staggering for a lot of industries.
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Argentum
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Argentum » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:42 pm

A couple of questions if you have the time.

1. Have any advice on who are good distributors to use when you are looking to sell your stuff to game stores?

2. On the other side of the coin, who are some good distributors you would recommend when you are wanting to sell stuff (very low volume).

3. Any advice on selling material without a distributor to a game store? I've not have any problems so far, but It is always good to hear advice from the other side of the counter.

Thanks!

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Ikoma
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Ikoma » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:22 pm

Distributors? For individuals? None that I know of. It's possible such a market sprung up since I have left ownership but I would frankly be surprised. Wait..., I may have misunderstood your question? Are you talking about an individual selling their game collection -or- a new creator wanting to sell a new game (or game related merchandize) to as many stores as possible?
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Argentum » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:09 am

I probably should have mentioned that I am a very new and very small publisher. even saying I'm a publisher is probably a bit grandiose as I have only two books out at the moment. So I am looking into getting the books to a distributor.

Also I was thinking that since I am going places to sell my books (cons. fairs, etc) It might be a good idea to have the Pathfinder core book for sale at the table as well. Of course I would hate to buy them full price to sell what would likely be a few copies at most, but if I could stick up the table with like 10 at wholesale that might be doable. But of course I do not know if such a small order is even possible from distributors.

Any thoughts you have would be great to hear.

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Ikoma
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Ikoma » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:59 am

Ah... gotcha.

Unfortunately, these things change a lot. And my time out of the industry will make answers speculative at best. I can tell you that being a low volume seller is HARD. And for good reasons on the part of both the publishers AND the distributors.

On the part of publishers, they do not want the distributors to sell such low volumes that they essentially become a discount retailer undercutting other retailers. If anyone out there could set up an account and buy, then that is what will happen. As a result, to buy from a distributor, you typically need to hit minimum order sizes (and those change so I am reluctant to give you dollar numbers) AND have tax information indicating you are a business. That required information changes from state to state. You may already have that if you are a publisher.

On the part of the distributors, they don't get much value out of low volume buyers. They would rather have one BIG customer than have ten smaller customers. (Obviously, they would prefer to have ALL the customers.) At a certain point, they lose their profit margin if the volume gets too low. It's just not what they are set up to do. Also remember that they are getting paid much less than cover price (so that the retailer can see for cover price) so it's not like they can be Amazon.

Anyway, we used Diamond for comics (you gotta use Diamond if you are gonna sell comics). And we used Alliance for games. There were always a few companies we would buy direct from but that is kind of a pain. I'm sure you've run into this trying to sell direct to retailers (thus your desire to sell to a distributor).

I never sold anything to a distributor so I cannot give you any advice there other than to say that Alliance was the biggest. I don't know if that's still the case.

Anyway, I hope that was helpful and good luck!
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astralplaydoh
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby astralplaydoh » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:01 pm

I believe Diamond Comics Distributors is still the biggest roleplaying game distributor here in the US. Here is a direct link to their vendor page:

http://vendor.diamondcomics.com/public/

Also, you may want to take a peek at Paizo's list of distributors they use which can be seen here, with links:

http://paizo.com/paizo/about/distributors

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Concise Locket
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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Concise Locket » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:32 am

astralplaydoh wrote:I believe Diamond Comics Distributors is still the biggest roleplaying game distributor here in the US. Here is a direct link to their vendor page:

http://vendor.diamondcomics.com/public/

Also, you may want to take a peek at Paizo's list of distributors they use which can be seen here, with links:

http://paizo.com/paizo/about/distributors


You are correct. Diamond/Alliance holds the monopoly not only on game distribution but comics and (weirdly) hard copy magazines. It's one of the main reasons why the direct market is such a hindrance to creators. There are some tiny competitors but most of the time you're playing by Diamond's rules.

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Re: AMA About running a gaming and comics store.

Postby Argentum » Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:49 pm

Thanks everyone for the info!


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