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Behind the Counter

Don't Skip The Retailer

by Marcus King
Feb 11,2005


Don't Skip The Retailer

Hero Games Publishing Asks that their customers "skip" the retailer, and buy direct. Here is the link to the story:

Now, here is an excerpt:

2. More importantly, please consider buying your books directly from us, through the Online Store (or, if appropriate, at a convention where we've got a booth.) This is one of the real linchpins of our new strategy, for the simple reason that we make a lot more money per book that we sell directly than we do on books sold through distributors and retail stores.

Okay, so Hero Games has appealed to its core players to buy stuff direct. Later, on a private forum, they go so far as to say that they do not value retailers that only order or stock one or two copies of books, because only the stores that do demos of their games, and really push their products do them a true service.

Uh, this is HERO GAMES? Not WotC. They don't make Dungeons & Dragons, if you know what I mean.

As a retailer, I have stocked Hero Games. I will continue to do them the disservice of stocking one or two copies of each release, and stocking their core rulebook (when available, which it wasn't for several months at a time) in the future.

I will, obviously, NOT do any demo's for their game - but we never did. I won't be introducing any new players to their system, which I never have. But, here comes my point, and you may disagree (as gamers) but I come to this opinion as a retailer: Hero Games just asked gamers to avoid buying their products in my store - and then insulted me by saying they didn't value my level of support, anyway.

They seem to be blaming retailers like me, who stock their games, but don't play them in the store, for their possible future financial difficulties. And, I don't think that is the case at all. I think their market penetration is the problem. If EVERY game and comic store in America and Canada ordered, and stocked 2 copies of every one if their books, I doubt they would be having any financial difficulty.

But, seeing their post earlier this week, I did a little tour of my area. 5 Comic shops, 4 game shops (9 total shops, even though most have both comics and games, I categorized them to what I felt they were). Of those, I am one. Of those 9, only two stocked ANY Hero Games.

Now, if you are not familiar, I do think that HERO Games are a quality product. I think that CHAMPIONS is the best SuperHero RPG in print. They do well, I have sold lots. Once, at a convention, I took 12 of those big $40 or $50 books, and sold them all - while I was setting up! Had -0- copies when the convention opened.

And, to be clear: I support the publishers right to sell their wares online. I do not fear them as a competitor, and they make the books, they can sell it any way they like!

I do, however, take exception to their asking my customers, other retail-stores customers, gamers in general, to skip the retailers and buy direct.

Okay, enough Axe Grinding on my part: If you have not played CHAMPIONS or other HERO Games products, it is time to get with the program and go to their website and order products from them. They are a good company, they put out a good product, you will not be displeased with a purchase from them.

I am asking any gamer who has played Hero Games products to go order one more item from them now. They need your business.

And, if you have NOT played their games, give them a try!

They certainly pissed me off with their tactic to ask customers to skip me and go direct. But, the bottom line is this is a small industry. I view it as a community, and if I can provide any help to them, I will.

Thanks for reading.

Marcus King
Owner - TitanGames
Publisher - ConTemporal Magazine
Member - GAMA
Director - GAMA Retail Division
Player - D&D, and if you stand still, I WILL tell you about my 7th level sorcerer with a +11 to hit with his long bow!

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What do you think?

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All Counter Talk columns by Marcus King

  • On Discounting by Marcus King, 15dec05
  • Think Different by Marcus King, 11oct05
  • GENCON, August, and TitanGames by Marcus King, 29aug05
  • Another Month at Titan Games by Marcus King, 06jul05
  • The Past Week at TitanGames by Marcus King, 10may05
  • The GAMA Trade Show by Marcus King, 13apr05
  • Con Jobs by Marcus King, 08mar05
  • Don't Skip The Retailer by Marcus King, 11feb05
  • How To Open Your Own Game Store by Marcus King, 14jan05
  • The Christmas Crunch by Marcus King, 22dec04
  • Light at the End of the Convention Tunnel by Marcus King, 15nov04
  • What It Takes To Open a Game Store by Marcus King, 15oct04
  • The Big 3 by Marcus King, 13sep04
  • Discoveries by Marcus King, 11aug04
  • Con-Man by Marcus King, 19jul04
  • Turmoil by Marcus King, 16jun04
  • Business is Business by Marcus King, 12may04
  • GAMA On! by Marcus King, 09mar04
  • On A Serious Note by Marcus King, 10feb04
  • Predictions for 2004 by Marcus King, 20jan04
  • Game Retailer or Game Club? by Marcus King, 11dec03
  • The Weather Changes... by Marcus King, 11nov03
  • The Deluge of Dead Products by Marcus King, 14oct03
  • The Conventional by Marcus King, 11sep03
  • Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings by Marcus King, 11aug03
  • Two weeks in the life of a retailer by Marcus King, 16jul03
  • In Store Gaming, and our love-hate relationship with it by Marcus King, 12jun03
  • Raising a Good Retailer by Marcus King, 28apr03
  • The customer is always right (right?) by Marcus King, 02apr03
  • Introductions by Marcus King, 24mar03
  • Jumping the Grand Canyon with Pikachu and Friends December 20, 1999
  • GTS'99 April 20, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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