I’m really heavy into the publication and sales side of game design right now, so my articles are germane to that. Today, I’m just briefly going to talk about fulfillment services. I am not currently using any of them for my own reasons, but I highly recommend them to any new author. There are several companies that can handle and have experience in handling the distribution and sale of independent RPGs.
IPR (Indie Press Revolution): IPR is run by Brennan Taylor and Simon Rogers. This company has burst on the scene and really changed things for independent RPG publishers. I have heard nothing but positive reports about them, and they even have their OWN PODCAST where they talk about their company with Paul Tevis. Personally, I believe IPR is one of the most significant developments for independent publishers to come along in a long time. They do have a certain standard RPGs have to meet in order to be carried there, but for the most part all independent RPG publishers are welcome.
Key20: Key20 has been around longer than IPR and has some long time relationships with small press publishers like Ron Edwards and Luke Crane. They usually run a booth at conventions like GenCon and have established relationships with distributors and game stores alike. They do a good job of catering to the small publisher and do a very good job of promoting the products of the companies they represent.
Lulu: Lulu is both a POD (print on demand) printer and a fulfillment service. You can take care of both needs at once through this company. They have their own storefront where both PDFs and books can be bought and sold. For a newer publisher looking to simplify things, Lulu is not a bad choice. Their printing prices are a little higher than some other POD printers, but if you go with their fulfillment service, it may be well worth it to save on the headaches.
With all three organizations, you need to really research them. Only one may be right for you, or all three may fit your needs. To my knowledge, none of them have any kind of exclusivity requirements, so you can go with as many as you like. Just carefully read over the terms of agreement and be sure you will get what you want out of it.