Friday, December 30, 2011

A Look Back at 2011

Here’s what I hoped to see happen in 2011

1) More publishers participating in the Bits and Mortar program. 
2) States make more of a push to collect sales tax from online sellers.  .
3) New Games Day. 
4) Publisher communications will have correct release information

Well, 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.  Haven’t much from the Bits and Mortar program this past year.  It’s still a great idea and kudos to the publishers that participate.  It’s nice to tell our customers, “Hey, buy this book and we can email you the PDF .”  What a deal.  Looking at the website (which, unfortunately I haven’t done recently), it appears that a number of publishers have uploaded files in the past year, most from small publishers, though one major one, Mongoose Publishing, has added over 110 files since the last time I checked earlier in 2011.  Bully Pulpit Games has added a PDF for its popular Fiasco RPG and Rogue Games has added a couple of more files for its Colonial Gothic Game.  Good for them and here’s hoping the imitative gets much more promotion in 2012.

States, hurting for revenue, are making more of an effort to collect sales tax from online retailers.  The biggest, and worst offender, Amazon, has agreed to collect and remit sales tax for purchases made by California residents by January 2013.  This is important because of the size of the California market and its position as a market leader. So often, as California goes, so goes the nation.  By agreeing to do this, Amazon has agreed it is possible for it to collect and remit sales taxes from individual states and localities.  The company had argued in the past it construed too much of a burden for it to do so (Nevermind that hundreds of other online retailers with physical locations as well, Wal-mart and Staples coming to mind immediately, have successfully done so).  Now that Amazon has made this agreement with California, and assuming the company follows through, expect more states to seek similar arrangements with the online behemoth and other online retailers to slowly follow suit.

Publisher communications getting better than last year. WOTC is still the champ at publishing and keeping release dates, keeping to dates they have published a year out.  Both WizKids and Pazio have improved significantly at setting and keeping release dates, and, importantly, letting us know when dates shift, as a couple of HeroClix sets and the Pathfinder collectible miniatures sets did.  Now if Games Workshop would just get out a list of releases more than two weeks ahead of time. The company must know a year ahead of time what it plans to release.  You build up anticipation for new products by telling your customers to expect them ahead of time, not by keeping them in the dark and relying on rumors until you decide to send out the information a week or so before the release date.