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3E/3.5 5E's Initial Raw Sales Numbers Stronger Than 3E's!

It seems that the initial sales of D&D 5th Edition are very strong. Asked about how they compare to 3E and 4E, WotC's Mike Mearls says that "Raw numbers are stronger, but that's not the complete picture. end of year 1 is the key." The Player's Handbook has now topped the hardcover nonfiction sellers list at Publishers Weekly. As of right now, it's #1 in Fantasy Gaming at Amazon, and a week ago it was the #1 book on Amazon!

BwoJwYwCMAA4NuS.jpg

In other news, prompted by some discussion about the gaps between D&D edition releases, I whipped up this quick info-graphic showing the dates that each edition was released. [threadcm]http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?359004-So-I-have-been-out-of-town-for-a-few-weeks-did-I-miss-something[/threadcm]

releases.jpg
 
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TerraDave

5ever
We are at the 2 month point for the thread, lets see where things stand with the top books in fantasy gaming:

#1 MM 24 overall, 16 in new releases, 25/28 5 star reviews
#2 PHB 39 overall, 28 most wished for, 269/334 5 star reviews
#3 Starter Set 302 overall (released July 15)
# 4 DMG 311 overall, 83 in new releases
#6 HotDQ 663 overall

Still pretty strong. The starter set is going on 3 months. Compared to, say, the 4E red box, well, there is no comparing, with the 5E ranking much much higher. (Same for PFBB, though , as we know, that is going to be less amazon dependent).

One interesting comparison is Keep on the Shadowfell. This actually did pretty well in its first month, when it was the only product available to play 4E. Sales rank went from 152 to 183, so comparable to the 5E starter set. (and better then HotDQ). Unfortunately we do not have any other sample until Oct, when it plummets down to 9000 or so. And its early reviews, well those were also a little different than the ones for the starter set, or any 5E product.

OK, that’s probably the last of these I do for a while, but I will probably do an update at some point.
 




The Black Ranger

First Post
Let's not forget that people will buy it to check it out. Waving the victory flag is a bit premature.

I wouldn't rely on Amazon to be a full proof answer as to how well it's doing.
 

Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
I do think the amazon numbers are incredible for the PHB.

Though I must admit online interaction is way different than it was in 2000. I talk to my great aunt via facebook. I would never ever have done that via usenet. Nor, my gosh, fidonet, never.

Most of my gaming group back then were not on the internet, not anywhere close to where most/all of my gaming group is now on the internet.

Anyway Ryan Dancy in Morrus' Interview stated that the 2nd edition phb sold 280,000 copies in the year of transition from 1st ed. I wonder how many copies they sold of the 1e phb during that same year.

Anyway, he goes on to say they sold 300,000 copies of the 3.0 phb in one month.

It's at about 28:00 in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXLBBp3YDro

So, is there anyway we can tell if the first month of 5e PHB's got close to or better than that? I think we can find out if we dig, and I'd bet that it crushed that number, just a hunch, a guess.

Don't need exact numbers, a good swag should give us a decent idea.

I thought I also read that the 4E PHB outsold the 3E PHB initially, but the sales didn't continue beyond the first 12 months.

So it's not just initial sales (although strong initial sales are obviously better than weak initial sales), but also how many people continue to buy D&D books beyond the core rulebooks.
 

TerraDave

5ever
Yes, success requires going beyond being the top new seller.
Or dominating the Rpg catagory, where the starter set still sits at the top next to the phb.

They should just shut down wotc for such a fail.
 

TerraDave

5ever
Seven weeks latter, D&D is still the top five in fantasy gaming (I think that Zelda book had snuck in there, but is back in its place).

Going through the top 5:

#1PHB 25 overall, 17 in most wished for
#2 MM 36 overall, 17 in new releases
#3 Starter Set 139 overall, higher then when I started this thread
#4 DMG 280 overall, 66 in new releases
#5 HotDQ 442 overall, this seems low, but does beat every other gaming book/product, (hence the ranking).
 

Halivar

First Post
I've heard from a couple of FLGS here that they did not go all in on stock of 5e materials, because they got killed and wanted to play wait and see. They confessed they were blown away by demand that they did not anticipate and were out of stock opening weekend.
My FLGS ordered 24 copies, and all of them were gone by noon; I got the last one.
 

Customer reviews do not really matter that much either though only sales. Social media did not exist back in 2000/2003 either. People were not talking about D&D on facebook for obvious reasons.

People WERE talking about 3E on the internet in 1999. In several venues. ISTR Kenzer & co having their forums up by then, And RPGNet was rolling. (1996). The Forge was newly up, but promptly denigrated all things d20.

And the mailing lists for a number of game systems were talking about it. There was a LOT of chatter online. It looked very different due to different media, but it was there.

And boards like the Delphi forums, and AOL forums.
 
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TerraDave

5ever
This is the best I can find. The PHB 3.0 was featured on the main page apparently a few days after reviews start appearing in Amazon's records.

Check this out too . It states that the 3.0 PHB was #1 on Amazon’s hardcover fiction list on about August 27th, 2000.

Thanks Darius0!
[MENTION=52905]darjr[/MENTION], welcome to the party.

TerraDave said:
It is hard to compare to past releases, but through the way-back machine, I was able to find out that (for bestsellers) the:

4E PHB did get up to 33, fell to 54. then plumeted.


PFCRB got up to 369 (and maybe a bit higher, based on what I poasted above), but seemed to stay in the hundreds longer.

So the starter set, which I think got into the top and 10 and is now at 199, looks good by those numbers.

The PHB is something else. The difference in sales as you move into single digits is massive.

TerraDave said:
Was able to find the 3.5 PHB about one month out. #123.

3E remains the main point of contention. We may never know. (And I guess 1E, but I think that can stay all time best seller, I mean they kept it in print after releasing the 2E one).

As for 2E, 3.5, and 4E, I am pretty confident that they have been outsold. Also confident about PF, but it is just one relative ranking, who knows what is happening through other channels. (Every game store I know of sold of out PHBs at some point, often within hours, but that remains anecdotal, oh, and the #1 ranking on publishers weekly, but that probably doesn't cover hobby stores or other online channels).
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
#1 on Amazon is truly impressive. I wonder how it is doing here in Italy (the local RPG market is pretty weak). At my friend's store it's sold out, despite the fact that it's in English.
 

TerraDave

5ever
In the interview with Dancy on the front page of ENWorld he says that the 2E PHB sold (about) 280,000 in its first year, and the 3E one sold 300,000 in its first month, and "it got better from there".
 

The Black Ranger

First Post
Yes, success requires going beyond being the top new seller.
Or dominating the Rpg catagory, where the starter set still sits at the top next to the phb.

They should just shut down wotc for such a fail.
And? Way to go with more exaggeration to support your argument.

Hitting the top seller doesn't mean that much when you are dealing with this type of product. The real evidence comes later on when everyone has gotten a handle on all the rules. Thinking any different is just fooling yourself.
 


Parmandur

Legend
Given the selling out on Amazon, and what WOTC has said, It seems reasonable to suppose, barring evidence otherwise, that 5E has outdone that old 3E number.
 

Mistwell said he was on the internet in 1982.

Look up ARPANet and Milnet. If he/she/it was in the military in 1982, and was in intel, administration, or environmental programs, the odds are pretty damned good they were on what would eventually become known as the internet.

ARPANet was the original backbone
DARPANet was a rename for it, when ARPA became DARPA.
MilNet was a spur network starting in about 1983

Many FidoNet gateways existed connecting to the civilian side by the late 80's.
 

Thinking about it now, it's also interesting to point that choosing to delay the other two main books will allow 5E to spend more time under the spotlights. People will be talking about D&D as the newest thing for at least three more months going forward.
 

darjr

I crit!
I thought I also read that the 4E PHB outsold the 3E PHB initially, but the sales didn't continue beyond the first 12 months.

So it's not just initial sales (although strong initial sales are obviously better than weak initial sales), but also how many people continue to buy D&D books beyond the core rulebooks.

I don't have the quote from Mike, but I think he said the numbers for the 4e PHB were greater than the 3.5 PHB which were greater than the 3.0 PHB. In the first month anyway, or initial sales. If I remember the quote correctly.

I think back then everyone agreed that was a smash hit for 4e, at the time. If it's extended success, sure time will tell. But if the 5e phb is close to those numbers I think that means it's a success. Those numbers are mind numbingly fantastic for an RPG.
 

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