Taking Scissors to the GRG: 10 Updates to Improve Your Value

If you are thinking about buying the Game Retailer Guide, you might be concerned about the publication date. The industry has changed since that book’s release over ten years ago.

Phone Books

What’s a phone book? Don’t worry about it. Just understand that it’s no longer a main source of new customers.

TV Ads

Formerly an advertising staple, don’t make it a core part of your initial plan. You can still explore it on your own.

Other Advertising Media

Technology has presented new opportunities, especially regarding the cost-effectiveness of advertising. It used to be that advertising in many places had a pretty big buy-in. Now you can spend a couple of dollars at a time if necessary.

The Numbers Have Changed

The percentages are still largely the same, but you won’t find a suite to rent for $1,700 a month. Keep that in mind as you go through the book and laugh longingly at how low the costs are. The good news is that every category of sales has increased, so the expected revenue numbers are higher, too.


Indoor malls are still around, but in some cases only by inertia. They probably aren’t a factor in your thinking.


I’m not even mentioning LANs in the new book.

Manufacturer Tools

Already in decline when I wrote the GRG, manufacturers provide retailers with very little in the way of sales tools. You might get a dangler here and there. Several companies offer merchandising displays, but they tend to be a one-time deal; if you miss it, it’s gone. Co-op advertising money is entirely gone, as far as I know. Even demo volunteers are not a big factor in the environment anymore.

Rent Negotiation

Continued consolidation of commercial properties into remotely-owned corporations has reduced the ability to negotiate rent. Many of these companies have non-negotiable terms, and the local property manager’s job is expected to maintain the property, not to haggle over rent.

Game Distribution

Distribution continues to offer less and less and stock fewer copies of what they carry. More manufacturers are going direct to stores. I had to switch my Reaper restocks directly to Reaper because they never bothered to restock my primary distributor. Other companies—especially those that launched on Kickstarter—are going directly to consumers and bypassing game distribution entirely.

Buying Used

I made second-hand merchandise a big part of my business model. FLGS sold used RPGs, used miniatures, used board games, used Legos, and even GW bits. Customers used to bring in carloads of these things for sale. Now customers have easy options for selling directly to each other, and they expect more for their goods. It’s harder to stock a large selection of used goods. You can still do it, but it takes more work, and you need a more curated section than the hundreds of RPG titles I used to be able to carry.


Disregard these components, and the remaining content still provides a great value. The key instructions on estimating startup costs, planning for a capital reserve, and using events to drive sales are all still valid. The processes for finding the numbers you need still work, even while the numbers themselves change.