Sunday, June 30, 2013

Amazon and Taxes

Ran across an interesting article in Business Week recently on Amazon and how it influences our lives.  Roughly 36%  of all purchases made by Americans intersect with Amazon in some way.  Either you first find out about a product on Amazon or you do some research on it on Amazon or you make the final purchase on Amazon but over 1/3 of all purchases made  currently interact with Amazon at some time before the purchase concludes.  It amazes me that one company has so much influence on our lives.

Amazon is now wanting to influences your purchases even further, by increasing its ability to provide same day delivery of products.  Same day availability of products is the major advantage brick and mortar stores have over Amazon and other online retailers.  A customer can walk into a store, pick up a copy of Settlers of Catan or Get Bit and walk out with it the same day, playing it that evening.  Currently, you cannot do that with an online retailer.  With the exception of things such as software, movies, books and other items that can arrive electronically, the customer must wait at least 24 hours for delivery.  Amazon, as the article notes, wants to change that by allowing customers to order an item online in the morning and have the physical product delivered that afternoon.

This, by the way, is why Amazon has come to support ending Congress' exemption for online retailers from collecting sales taxes in local municipalities.  Online only retailers do not have to collect sales taxes in states in which they do not have a physical nexus, so Wal-Mart, with physical locations in every state, has to collect sales taxes for all online sales.  Amazon, which does not have such, only has to collect them in places where it has physical distribution centers, and in many cases, not even then.  However, in order to provide same day delivery, the company will have to have physical locations, exposing it to the requirement to collect sales taxes.  Ergo, it wants to make certain that other online retailers, not providing same day delivery, no longer have this competitive advantage.  For Amazon, it is another win.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Still More on Dueling D&D Movies

Last week, Sweetpea Entertainment, producer of both D&D movies, filed a motion for summary judgement, asking the court to toss out Hasbro's lawsuit on the grounds that Hasbro failed to provide written notice that it was revoking Sweetpea's rights to the D&D property with the opportunity to cure (Read the motion here).

Hasbro it also claiming copyright infringement, which Sweetpea argues is impossible since there is no property yet on which to infringe copyright.  Stay tuned.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Encounters Changes

If you have not heard, the next season of D&D Encounters will change significantly as the campaign will start with an introductory 2 hour scenario then segue into use of the Murder in Baldur's Gate campaign that WOTC will publish.  Yes, that's right.  For the first time in the history of the Encounters program, the players will have an opportunity to purchase the materials and read them over ahead of time, as the adventure releases in last August, just after GENCON.  WOTC will only provide the introductory materials this time.

Currently, the store plans to purchase a copy of the scenario for use in the Encounters session but this may change.  It depends on how many people keep showing up for the current Encounters season, and how much D&D we keep selling.   Since it is the only one currently in print, we will run Murder in Baldur's Gate using the 4th edition rules, as we do not expect 5th edition to hit the shelves until summer of 2014.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why The Red Trunks?

Caught this interview with Zach Snyder on NPR today and learned something I never knew before:  why the red shorts on Superman?
For year's people have joked about Superman wearing his underwear on the outside rather than under the tights, but if Snyder is correct, the design is based on the garb worn by wrestlers and strongmen of the late 19th/early 20th century:

The body suit with contrasting trunks was common attire for strongmen and wrestlers during the area.  This makes sense as Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster would have needed something to base the character design upon and, given that the story positioned Superman as the strongest man in the world,  what better costume than that worn during their youth by the men who proclaimed themselves the strongest men in the world?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Superman Celebration

Set up at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis IL this past weekend.  The city estimates about 35,000 people attend each year but I sure did not see those kind of numbers.  Numbers were certainly respectable but I did not see the same number of people in costume that I did when last there two years ago.  Food vendors did quite well though, as did the Chamber of Commerce, as both were selling out of merchandise on Friday and having to restock.

Weather was great on Thursday through Saturday, with sporadic rainstorms on Sunday.  There were more vendors of Superman memorabilia there this year than last but a significant drop in street vendors.  If you wanted a hand-dipped corn dog or funnel cake there were a dozen plus stands selling them but many fewer booths selling non-food items.  From what I understand, the organizers of the Superman Celebration cracked down significantly on vendors selling knockoff and unlicensed Superman  merchandise, which accounted for a large number of the non-food vendors in past years.

Margot Kidder was the big-name guest, followed by Tracy Scoggins, the guy who played Luthor on Smallville and a couple of actors who appeared in separate episodes of The Adventures of Superman.  Jerry "The King" Lawler was also there, signing autographs, and was promoted at the event, though not on the website.  I was impressed that Lawler was the only celebrity to stay around to sign autographs on Sunday, the others only appearing on Friday and Saturday.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Modern Masters Results

We filled up the 32 places in tonight's booster draft by 3 p.m. today so, by that measure, Modern Masters is quite a hit.  We have sold through almost all of our allotment and have about 6 displays of boosters left,which will go for prize support tonight and some prize support for this fall's Little Egypt Wars. We had hoped to run another draft with Modern Masters but the presells and event turnout blew through enough product that we won't have any left.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Modern Masters Demand

Well, only 2 more days until Modern Masters for Magic releases.  The demand for this set has been greater or at least more widespread than any thing else WOTC has released, even the From the Vault or Commanders' Arsenal sets.  Those had big demand, but it was all local, with repeat customers preordering a set and wanting to know if they could buy a second.

With Modern Masters, we still had strong local demand but this is the first time I remember people from outside the area contacting us to see about ordering displays of the set. We have calls and emails from Pennsylvania, New York, California, Texas and even one email from Europe (Nope, we didn't sell to any of them, all of our boosters will go to local customers).