This thread on the Warseer forum offers an interesting look for us groundlings at the inner workings (or at least bits of them) of Games Workshop and the Black Library. MvS's views on what it's like on the ground for the employees of Games Workshop and their fleet of retail stores are particularly interesting in light of the recent glum news from the retail gaming industry as a whole. It also gives some insight into why things are the way they are at Black Industries, with regards to the schedule, certain... 'shortcomings' in some products, and the occasional crankiness from Official Reps.
In unrelated news... the problem of retail niche hobby shops (and retail game sales) was once again driven home to me today as I set out to (finally!) pick up Knights of the Grail. I called my nearby friendly local gaming store; they had just sold their last copy. I called their satellite store, 15 miles further south; I talked to someone who didn't think they had the book in stock, but might have been looking in the wrong section (I have the damnedest time explaining the difference between WFRP and the miniatures game over the phone: "It's a RPG. It's usually in with the D&D stuff". "Oh, so it's D&D?" "No, it's Warhammer, but not the mini..." "Well, I'm looking at all the Warhammer miniatures, and I don't see that book..." :click:).
I called a less friendly, but also local gaming store. No joy. I used the joys of the Internet to search the inventories of my local Borders. Nada. It was available to be ordered, in which case it would arrive in a couple weeks. Finally, I bit the bullet, gave up on having a new book to flip through this weekend, and ordered it off Amazon. And because I had a gift certificate (credit card perk!), I ordered Forges of Nuln too. And Spires of Altdorf as well. For less actual money spent than it would have cost me to drive two blocks to my FLGS and buy just Knights of the Grail.
I placed the order around noon today. All three books already shipped. They're already less than eight hours drive from my apartment.
I think my FLGS's days might be numbered.