James Raggi posted some thoughts on business models. The follow on comments are interesting in their own right. John Adams of Brave Halfling Publication has some astute observation on the retail side of the roleplaying game industry. Namely that game store owners need a flow of new products in order to keep customers coming in.
Since the release of the Majestic Wilderlands I had several conversations with OSR Publishers. Without going into details the issue of having a retail presence came up.
The best answer I heard so far is for OSR publishers that want to have a retail presence to band together in order to keep a constant flow of product into the stores. This way the retailers are happy and the publishers can still take their time to hone their products.
In reply to the first comment each OSR publisher still continue to work as they did before, releasing one or two well honed product each year. It just when you have say ten publisher pooling their efforts into distribution then the retailer is now happy that there is a stream of new products coming in every month.
However the trick is getting enough of us with enough of a cash flow to afford print runs. Even then the margins can be low at our sales level.
UPDATE: Stuart comment on looking at the experience of Image Comics sounds good. While I don't know much about the comic scene I can see the hobbyist and industry atttitudes to be roughly equivalent as the gaming side of things. Certainly they are experiencing the same impact of PoD and the internet as we are.