Last week The Old School Revolution posted about pointing a father and son towards Labyrinth Lord and away from Pathfinder.
I found this quote very interesting, "Reaching into a bin, I pulled up a copy of the only OSR clone I could find in the shop – it happened to be Labyrinth Lord – and tapped the cover meaningfully with my index finger so the dad could see it. "
There is a reason LL is the only OSR clone to be found in the shop, it's the only one available through the standard distribution network that game stores rely on to stock their shelves. By the way, thank you Dan Proctor! Now, I'm not going to get into the argument of wether the 3 tiered distribution model we use today is still valid or even good, but it's what we have. And this argument assumes you don't count Castles and Crusades, an option I present to customers and Dungeon Crawl Classics, which while I love it is probably more intimidating than the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.
I spend a minimum of an hour a night surfing the web keeping up with new things in games and comics, but without my distributors, I'd be even more frazzled than I am. The average game store doesn't have the resources to place individual orders from, potentially, hundreds of publishers. It's just not possible, even for me, and I pride myself on my dedication to my business and this industry.
And understand, I don't blame OSR publishers for not entering the distribution system. Print runs and warehousing is the path of madness and failure for quite a few in the RPG industry, as it exists today. If I ever seek to self-publish an RPG product, it would PDF with the POD option. It just makes perfect sense.
However, as fans of the OSR, we need to remember that as much as I'd like to have OSRIC and Swords and Wizardry in our local stores, you'd be paying a premium to purchase them from me (at least according to my investigations) and I hate marking an item up beyond what it costs from the publisher. It makes my stores look bad, even if my costs are the same as yours.
While I know not every Local Gaming Store is Friendly, just remember that if it were easy to run these stores there would be more of them and we'd have more customers. And trust me, if your local store isn't doing it's job, don't give them your money.
And I'll close with asking that anyone contemplating Kickstarter or other crowdfunding projects, try to remember a funding level for Game Stores. I'd love to have more options for both of my stores to contribute.