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 Post subject: Is there a preferred way to sell puzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 12:51 pm
If you are a puzzle designer I have a question for you: of the following ways to sell your puzzles, which one do you prefer?

1. Direct sale (not auction)
2. Ebay.
3. Shapeways.
4. Mass production.

The answer may be "it depends" and I'm sure there are many factors to consider, but I'd like to hear whatever you want to say about it, if you don't mind sharing with us puzzle consumers.


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 Post subject: Re: Is there a preferred way to sell puzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 12:09 pm
Location: Missouri
zamkam wrote:
If you are a puzzle designer I have a question for you: of the following ways to sell your puzzles, which one do you prefer?

1. Direct sale (not auction)
2. Ebay.
3. Shapeways.
4. Mass production.
Well as a designer with the goal of enjoying this as a hobby, I'm not really in this to make money. Though I'd certainly like to at least break even. I'd have to say my preferred method would be mass production. It would get my creation into the most hands for the most affordable price. That said its the method I have the least control over as I have yet to have any on my puzzles mass produced. Though I'm certainly open to being approached by any producer interested in my puzzles. To me, eBay has a place. I consider it a good way to sell the first signed prototypes of my puzzles and I've done that with a few though not all of my puzzles. I don't personally feel its the only way puzzles should be offered. Without someone stepping in and offering to mass produce my designs I feel Shapeways and Direct sale are the best way to go. For puzzles made from STL files Shapeways offers a great way to offer your designs to the public with minimal effort to you. For those that want finished and already stickered puzzles or puzzles not made from STL files, I think opening your puzzle up to direct sale gives you the means to offer your puzzle to the most that are interested in it as possible.

Just my 2 cents. I think you will see a wide range of preferences here. It will be about as wide as the reasons why designers started designing puzzles in the first place and what their personal goals are.

Carl

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 Post subject: Re: Is there a preferred way to sell puzzles?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:54 pm
Location: Bay Area, California
I'm not a designer.

If I were one though I think I'd rather stick with the design aspect of things and not want to manage the business aspect of it. That would mean me doing the designs and somebody else doing the work to get those designs into the hands of others. Shapeways offers that to some degree but as I understand it, there is still a reasonably high support load answering questions and dealing with issues.

Like Carl, I'm also not interested in making money from twisty puzzles (it's a hobby after all) so whichever method of sale is most likely to yield the highest returns doesn't matter.

As a buyer of puzzles, I like Shapeways the most because it usually yields higher-quality better-turning puzzles than mass production (granted this is after lots of work tumbling or breaking in).

I dislike eBay the most and only purchase on eBay to support the designer.

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 Post subject: Re: Is there a preferred way to sell puzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:32 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA
Most of my sales have been direct.

My few eBay sales haven't been great (my original Dogic went for only $86!) although my one custom puzzle (Inverted 2x2x2) did OK. I don't like the uncertainty even though I know in general it seems to be a good way to maximize a selling price.

Most of my Elemental orders are so custom eBay wouldn't make sense, and chose a fixed price for my BreadBox puzzles so an auction wouldn't be appropriate. I suppose I could have sold some BIN, but I sold out through direct requests so there was no need.

My goal is not to lose too much money on my puzzle building hobby. Even breaking even would be a pleasant surprise :)

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Is there a preferred way to sell puzzles?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:57 am
Location: In my study drooling over my puzzle hoard - Precioussssss!
As a collector/solver (also interested in other mechanical puzzles) I want to get as much as possible for as little as possible! :D BUT I certainly do not want to feel like the designers are getting ripped off!

For this reason I prefer mass production - it cuts costs but provides good quality. I have bought some hand made mods direct and this was also satisfactory. I hate eBay as I either get carried away and end up spending silly money or (more usually) end up spending time and energy and then still lose out thus I end up feeling cheated!

I haven't gone the shapeways route because there are too many stories of mistakes by them and then taking time to sort it out. Plus i absolutely loathe stickering complex puzzles! I also have a new kitchen and if I ruin in with RIT dye then "she" will see to it that I never do a puzzle or anything else ever again! :shock:

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