Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thoughts on Osprey Books

One thing a customer going into almost any game store in the late 70s through the late 90s would find was a Osprey Books spinner rack. A round rack with the Osprey logo, it held about a gross of assorted Osprey Men at Arms and Campaign books and easily stood out among the assortment of motley racks the store had purchased secondhand or scavenged from other stores, basements or warehouses.  Retailers  often spent a good sized chunk of their annual profits to stock in the line of Osprey books for two reasons.  First, the line sold well.  Back before the advent of the Internet and the decline in historic miniatures as a staple item in most shops, Osprey Books were the most reliable source of uniform details and paint schemes for historic miniatures, as well as information on heraldry, armor and castle fortifications for the slew of fantasy role-players that sprung up with the advent of  Dungeons and Dragons.

Second,  the Osprey rack was often the only professional quality piece of promotional materials available to the typical gaming store.  A customer walking into a store in the mid 80s would typically see a rack from TSR for Dungeons & Dragons products, a wire rack on the wall holding Games Workshop miniatures and a Osprey spinner rack sitting out on the retail floor filled with Osprey books.