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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Badger Asks: An OSRToday OSR Storefront?


+Jason Paul McCartan , otherwise known as The Badger, posted earlier tonight about the possibility of opening an OSR Storefront over at OSRToday

Personally, I like the idea. I know The Badger has the skills, both technical and social media wise to make this work.
As OSRToday heads towards its second birthday in June, there are some tweaks and updates coming to the site and services, including a massive server upgrade. We recently launched our Patreon to help generate new and unique content for the site, and we’re looking at getting more content (including implementing a quality review and promotion system) on the site. One thing that we’re also considering is offering an OSR-centric digital storefront for old school publishers to sell from. Much of the research for a storefront has been done already, and many key features that would make a new player on the scene successful have been identified and researched.
Competition is certainly needed in the virtual RPG storefront market and options can only be good IMHO.

I any case, Jason has the full details over at OSRToday and is looking for some feedback. Give him some!

4 comments:

  1. The problem is managing to make the storefront have 10% of the traffic of sales that RPGnow does - because as long as other stores are at 5% or less, then the exclusivity clause at OneBookShelf makes it better to stick with just OBS as a vendor.

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    1. Yes, that is a problem. A challenging one, but not an impossible one. That's why a highly targeted storefront for specific subgroups may be highly successful. Rather than competing with ALL of OBS, it's focusing on capturing and operating as a supportive at first then primary way to increase sales. The thing about OBS is that it's got a dichotomy issue going on anyway with two sites sourced form the same database but two different sets of reporting data with regards to sales and visibility. Most small pressers and OSR people tend to use RPGNow over DriveThru as a way to promote because the ability to get visibility and increase in the front page rankings is improved there, because their products aren't competing with all manner of other content. By being the Amazon of the online tabletop sales world, OBS runs into the problem of curation and accessibility, which leads to small press publishers being pushed aside when larger companies release a flood of products or a back catalog all at once (as have been seen on multiple occasions).

      Some of it also comes down to margins, and numbers of units selling. It is a bit of a numbers game, so that's where being more agile in utilizing social media and alternative approaches to marketing helps, building stronger connections with the community and bloggers, etc. There's always going to be risk, and going with the monolithic platform that provides the highest payout works fine until they adjust the terms (which has already been done once).

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  2. I think you run into the "What is OSR?" question, as well. There's some obvious publishers, but what about 3pp 5e D&D? Frog God material? Only the smallest publishers need to apply? Only material with elves as a class?

    I have my personal idea of what OSR is, but so does everyone else. How are you planning to frame that definition for your business?

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    1. A more robust definition of OSR for the purposes of the site (and the Patreon) is already being implemented, but it's generally more inclusive rather than restrictive. And while the focus of any such store would be on boosting smaller creator-publishers, medium and upper tier publishers would be able to use it as well.

      The type of content that has been posted to the site over the past two years gives a good indication of the type of material a store would support if it were to happen.

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