The Forge Forums

Archives => Guide to the Archives => Topic started by: Moreno R. on March 11, 2012, 10:17:45 PM

Title: Distribution, the three-tier system, sales, and poison pages
Post by: Moreno R. on March 11, 2012, 10:17:45 PM
A friend of mine asked me about some links about the problems and failures of the "traditional" distribution system.  Instead of sending the by email I thought that it would be a good thread for the Forge Archives.

This time I didn't have to search the message base, all the work was done by Ron who posted almost all of these links in the "Poison Pages" thread.

There are two ways (at least) to read all this, so I am posting two lists, of the same threads, in different order.

If you want to read these thread in chronological order, to follow the evolution of the discourse here at the Forge, follow this order:

Start with this article from 1998, I consider it the foundation of the entire site:   The Nuked Apple Cart ( by Ron Edwards

Then, Ron worked on a bigger essay about these topics, but (quoting his own words):
"I did work up an extensive essay in 2000-2001, which was never finished. A lot of the early Forge folks have read it. It was turning into a whole M.S. thesis and I had lots of other things to do for which I was being paid, so it ended there. Some of the points play a part in these important threads:
Phase One, Successful RPG line ( and Channel conflict with distribution-retailers-manufacturers (;
Phase Two, Distributor questions (, There *is* a problem: POD into retail (, and The Truth is Out There (
please note the dates."

In a following post:
"In addition to the links I provided earlier, here are some examples of clashes and debates when people who'd internalized the three-tier values system encountered the Forge (please note the dates):
State of the Industry editorial (
"the supplement treadmill (
D&D specifically (split from Supplement Treadmill) (

I  got these citations (and these links) from two threads from 2007 that sum it up rather well:
Definition of Indie RPGs (
Poison Pages (

I would like to add two more threads that touch some tangential issue:
Lines vs. Authors (
On Marketing (


If you want to read these threads in a logical reading order, I suggest instead to read first the two 2007 threads:
Definition of Indie RPGs (
Poison Pages (
And read the other links I listed before when they are cited in these two treads, to "frame" them in 2007's insight.

Title: Re: Distribution, the three-tier system, sales, and poison pages
Post by: Moreno R. on March 11, 2012, 10:33:43 PM
I am adding these three links in another post because they don't talk about the traditional three-tier distribution system, but about specific problems within the Indie RPGs distribution.and sales structures. They mark the start of the Indie RPGs un-store ( as an alternative to Indie Press Revolution ( that until October 2008 was the in practice the "default distributor" for most Indie games.
Independence, Adept Press, and Indie Press Revolution (
The Forge Booth 2009 (
The New Thing (