I've been using the Indie Press Revolution
as my American fulfillment service ever since I started to publish in English; as most people here probably know, they have a gloriously entwined past with the indie rpg scene, and the company has continued to be the ideal partner for my sort of European publisher (read: the sort who'd rather just put the product out and forget about it) under Jason Walters's current reign as well, as a sort of a kitchen sink shopping destination for small press rpgs.
IPR business has been maturing lately towards long-term sustainability (or at least that's how I read Jason's movements: he's figuring out what's worth the bother and what isn't year in, year out), and as part of that Jason recently declared a house-cleaning: he'd be returning slow-moving, old inventory to publishers to focus resources on the more relevant products. Makes perfect sense, considering how IPR is responsible for the warehousing and inventory management expenses under this business model, which means that us publishers find it all too easy to let Jason warehouse our stuff long past any economic sense. (I know that I've been entirely cold-blooded about our IPR inventory, myself: it's long tail sales, essentially free money that I don't need to work for.) The actual cut-off criterion in this house-cleaning is surprisingly generous: Jason wants to get rid of products that haven't sold a single instance over the last year. Certainly reasonable, and something that I've been idly expecting of him.
Thing is, amusingly enough I've got one of these "dead" products in my own oeuvre: World of Near
has since its publication in 2010 proved to be an amazingly slow seller, even by indie standards. I don't have a clue as to why this is, even; as far as I'm concerned it's one of the most compelling fantasy rpgs (and grand fantasy settings) out there, even discounting my insider perspective. One of those weird mysteries of the grassroots market dynamics, I suppose. Whatever the reason, WoN hasn't sold a single copy through IPR over the last year. Fortunately I'm too wily (thanks to a Forge background) to get into any sort of embarrassing overprint trap; the remaining stock at IPR is just 40 copies or so - not a massive write-off by any measure.
Aside from giving a final warning to anybody wanting to purchase the game before it's gone, I wanted to tell about how we decided to dispose of the remaining books: I asked Jason if it would be possible to distribute the books to interested hobbyists via some sort of coupon deals or whatever, and he countered with the suggestion that we should send them to Endgame
, a game store in Oakland, California; they've got a solid gaming scene there, and the proprietor, Chris Hanrahan, is likely to have the means to find good homes to the remaining copies of WoN. This is a happy outcome from my viewpoint; I find it likely that some new people will discover Near this way, which is better than having IPR ship the books here to Finland to join my local inventory. Perhaps we'll get to hear of some active play in that area before long, even.
Thus, my points:
- If you've been considering taking a look at The Shadow of Yesterday
, and you're American, then you'll probably still have a couple of days to place an order on the World of Near
book at IPR before Jason removes it from the store. As might or might not be obvious, WoN is the setting source-book part for my bipartite edition of TSoY, with the Solar System
as the rulebook; it's a book that I'm very fond of myself despite its meager sales, and I think that it dodges many of the faults typical of big setting fantasy rpgs.
- If you're located somewhere around Endgame, chances are that you'll have a chance at a free copy of WoN at some point this spring. I've no clue how Chris will distribute the books, but I'm sure he'll think of something. Probably asking him for a copy would do it, I'd expect.
- If you're in the same boat with me, and have something at IPR that Jason wants to move out, by all means consider doing something similar. Perhaps there's some better address for your books as well out there?
I still have a few copies of WoN here in Finland... the inventory says 57, which will probably satisfy any demand until somebody gets around to drafting a new edition of TSoY. Thus, Europeans won't have to worry about the supply being cut off. I guess I could ship to the USA from here later on as well, although the extra postage charge would be significant.