Newbie DM has recently lamented about local bookstores becoming a thing of the past. Sadly, I think we are at a huge transition with the written media. When kindle and book readers came out in the market, I really didn’t think they reached that great of an audience. Now with the advent of tablets and the iPad, I think that customer base for digital books has exploded. I really feel in another 5 years, you are going to see most kids coming out of high school with a preference for books in a digital format. It is simply something they are used to working with and familiar. It’s going to happen.
What does this say about games? I’ve got some thoughts on that to fold into another post. However there is something I’ve touched on before and I think worth mentioning again. If you have a local gaming store, and they offer a means to get folks together and play games, throw them some business. Occasionally step up and actually buy something from their shelves.
Years ago I was at a small bookstore/game shop participating in a 40K demo (way back with 3rd edition). I along with a few other guys were fans of the game and were offering to a public play event in the store and help get some folks excited about playing. As far as I was concerned, the shop got business, and we got some new blood stepping into the local play scene. It was win-win for me.
There was a new person that gotten a great interest in playing. He started asking about how to get started and what should he pick up. Quietly one of the guys running the demo took him aside and said he should pick up his stuff online from website X. They offered discount deals below retail that you could get at the local store.
Now this is a hobby, and I can understand trying to get the best deal you can sometimes (GW stuff can be an expensive hobby to pick up), however I was rather floored by this. Okay maybe the bulk of your army get someplace else, but at least suggest getting the rules and a squad or two (not to mention paints and other supplies) right off the shelves in the store. Nope, he was adamant that the guy get stuff online at a cheaper price.
Mr. Cheapo failed to realize that without us playing in the store, we’d likely never have gotten this guy interested in 40K in the first place. Here was a person ready to jump into the hobby. In a month or so, we could have been seeing a new face around every few Saturday afternoons, with a new army in tow, anxious to play. A new guy to play and a new customer for the store, win-win. Mr. Cheapo just didn’t see the big picture here.
So don’t be that guy. If you frequent a game shop and they offer a friendly place for the local game community to hang out, give them some business. I get saving money and making your gaming purchases frugal. But once in a while, stop by that local game shop and buy something. Without them you’ll likely find it a tough time meeting new gamers.
Oh and after a few years, that bookstore dumped it’s gaming stock. Just wasn’t profitable to dedicate space for merchandise that wasn’t selling.