The big news over the weekend was the acquisition of ACD Distribution and the official folding of Comics & Games Retailer Magazine. Both have detailed information and interviews on the ICV2 site.
ACD is the second biggest game distributor, with warehouses in the Midwest and in California. They're my primary distributor, which is unusual. This means I order everything from them and use the other distributors to fill in holes. Usually ACD is everyones secondary. They got to be my primary through excellent customer service. My sales rep spent four hours with me on the phone every Sunday for a month going over my initial order, fine tuning and getting things ready. Sales reps from other distributors sent me catalogs and wished me well. We also spend hours each month talking about what's new and what it means for me. Alliance, on the other hand, sends out a pre-release catalog so you can work it out yourself.
As an aside, I've noticed that there's a certain critical mass of product you can get through game distributors before you need to go direct. After my second year, my sales continued to grow, but my purchases through distribution remained the same. The growth during that time came from smaller niches. It also became cost-effective to go direct with companies. I've wondered if this is true with other stores.
The ACD acquisition is messy with a lot of questions still, so I'm not going to get too far into that one. The big question that everyone has, especially publishers, is whether the new ACD will pay outstanding debts. The official answer seems to be they'll do that to the best of their ability. That's not terribly re-assuring.
Comics & Games Retailer suffered from a lack of advertising revenue and finally folded. This has been an insider magazine for the industry, with excellent articles by those within the field. Years of back issues are often traded around, moving from experienced professionals to new people. I have a set I acquired that I should probably pass down to someone new. There is a lot of knowledge and wisdom within those pages.
C&GR was the only place to see industry stats on what was selling. It was flawed, involved a voluntary mail in poll, has nothing to do with what an individual store sells, but it was a kind of pulse taking. You can look back through the years and smile as you remember games ascending and descending the ranks of those charts. I'll miss my monthly rant about how those charts are worthless. Nevertheless, I always watched them carefully to see if maybe I was missing something.