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The Indie Approach to Self-Publishing

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Since traditional retail, as pointed out in a similar and recent topic, is too expensive: How does an indie group go about publishing their own titles? Packaging: Can an indie group find low cost packaging solutions? Are traditional game boxes (the "new" small footprint boxes with cardboard reinforcement) too expensive? Maybe the cheap alternative are standard DVD cases with kinko-copied inserts? The cheapest solution I can think of is a standard slim-line case for the cd with a printed insert but that (to me) comes across a little cheap and unprofessional. True, it's an indie production but what impression is the developer/publisher trying to make. I got "Battle of Troy" (a budget retail title) in a small footprint box w/ no cardboard reinforcement, no real manual, and a black-white insert. I like to save my boxes and the box literally crumpled quite easily. I got a cheap feeling before I even tried to install the game. Media Duplication: Are these services out of the reach of standard indie developers? Or are they within financial reach but not reasonable business practices? I'm not a indie developer myself (well not yet anyway) so I don't know how many copies the standard self-publishing developer sells. Is a copy-on-demand service more appropriate for such low budget publishing? Shipping: I'm guessing this isn't too hard - because customer pays shipping costs? But is there anyway to offer discounts in shipping due to repeated use of a shipping provider (other than USPS)? I know online retailers often have cheaper shipping fees. Credit Cards: Is it worth it to pay to handle credit card transactions? Is there a cheap commission based service (I'm thinking Paypal but I don't know for sure). NOTE: If I missed a question related to self-publishing feel free to add on - a "duh" statement but anyone with answers (even if you have an idea and not really sure) is free to respond...

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