Sorry everyone, its been a long time since I have posted.
The fact is, I’ve been struggling in modelling. At the end of 2023 I finally decided to call an end to Inside the Armour Publications.
Sales have been declining for some time and, undoubtedly, Brexit was the main factor in this. I know this because the EU was my biggest market, and since the customs changes in Europe when Brexit was enforced, came into effect, overnight my EU business vanished. Completely.
However, Brexit was not the only reason. Whilst the EU business was 60% of my sales, The UK was a big chunk at around 20% (UK Modellers have never spent as much as other countries, in all my years in the hobby business) and the rest was basically US and Asia. Asia and US shipping has climbed dramatically and US distributors have told me “books don’t sell anymore”. Overall, friends in the Hobby Publishing business tell me that people just aren’t buying books anymore, and ebooks just don’t sell.
People say that the phrase “the hobby is dying” isn’t true. But the fact is: parts of it are.
The publishing side is really suffering right now, and before you say “oh that’s the internet and youtube vs books”, hobby stores tell me their sales are declining too.
The average demographic of modellers, is ageing, and not enough people are coming in. Sure, we get new models all the time, and new companies, but don’t mistake the effects of lowering barrier to entry for healthy sales. (the cost of making a kit, has reduced dramatically over the last 25 years, and CAD has made design of kits so much easier as it has become more widely used in society and more people can do it and afford it)
This decline has, to a certain extent, been masked by the ability of those older modellers to spend more. But with the current economic crunch, the cracks are showing. Ask yourself, how many kits or books have you bought in the last 12 months compare the past? How many of them were second-hand? How many people do you know that proudly tell you they haven’t really bought a kit in months?
Does it Matter?
Many of us have stashes to last forever, right? And “I can get what guides I need for free of the internet”.
The fact is modelling is a consumer activity. it requires us to consume a kit and get another. It is a hobby that demands supply in order to continue, and ultimately, if people are not spending money, no one will create high quality curated content, because they won’t be able to afford to. Magazines and books will be the first things to go, and they are not, arguably, essential to modelling, but if sales continue to decline, the commercial argument for importing kits and consumables becomes weaker, and we could see more announcements like the closure of Railway Hobby giant Hattons, on the horizon…
Anyway, while my hobby business is dying, you can get 50% off books at insidethearmour.com