There has been some recent talk about starting a new online RPG distributor of PDFs and Print on Demand for the OSR to avoid the perceived threat of censorship by RPGNow on products that "push the edge."
Personally, I think competition is good. If RPGNow / OneBookShelf had any sort of true competition, the site itself would run faster with less down time, better site security and I suspect more responsive customer service.
The thing is, OBS is THE distributor of RPGs in digital and on demand services. There is little competition.
YourGamesNow is long gone. The d20pfsrd Store is a horror to navigate and doesn't have POD as far as I know. Paizo sells third party PDFs as a supplement to it's core business (and is more likely to censor than OBS ever will), Indie Press Revolution doesn't have the size and Lulu is even worse than d20pfsrd to navigate.
Building a competitor from scratch is cost prohibitive, especially if you are hoping for POD. Although the OSR certainly packs a punch far outside it's weight class, it is still just a small piece of a relatively small hobby.
You'd also be fighting RPGNow's market share and ability to cut into their own profits to undersell your price points on any new distribution service. In many ways, RPGNow is free advertisement for it's releases.
The DriveThruRPG site (the half of OBS that the OSR tends to ignore) does significantly more traffic than ENWorld. RPGNow trails ENWorld but it's fairly close. How do you compete with inertia like that as a start up?
You can't. Not without investing and losing money for years up front.
What you could do for little cost (but I suspect lots of man hours) is put together a central site that links to all the above, allowing shoppers to find the product no matter where it's hosted (and compare prices at the different online stores.) Use what is already out there instead of creating new. Use the marketing strength of all the available services to ensure that if a product is not carried at one source buyers can easily find it at other sources.
Eh, maybe my idea isn't as simple as it appears to me, but it has to be cheaper and easier and more effective than trying to compete directly.
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