D&D 5E Amazon best and worst sellers for 5e so far

JEB

Legend
Was idly curious, and went to look at the current hour's sales ranks for books in the "Dungeons & Dragons Game" category on Amazon.com. Broke them up by year to see which have sold best to worst.

YearRankings
2014PHB (#1)
DMG (#5)
MM (#7)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen (#44)
Rise of Tiamat (#121; had to look it up separately)
2015SCAG (#23)
Princes of the Apocalypse (#29)
Out of the Abyss (#30)
2016Volo's (#6)
Curse of Strahd (#21)
Storm King's Thunder (#34)
2017Xanathar's (#4)
Tales from the Yawning Portal (#19)
Tomb of Annihilation (#22)
2018Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (#10)
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (#18)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (#24)
Ravnica (#31)
2019Essentials Kit (#11)
Eberron (#13)
Ghosts of Saltmarsh (#20)
Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus (#28)
Acquisitions Inc. (#38)
Rick and Morty starter set (#66)
2020Tasha's (#2)
Wildemount (#16)
Theros (#25)
2021Fizban's (#3)
Candlekeep Mysteries (#14)
Strixhaven (#17)
Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft (#26)

Curiously, five official D&D products don't appear to be ranked in the D&D category: the original Starter Set, the Stranger Things starter set, the Tyranny of Dragons compilation, Icewind Dale, and Wild Beyond the Witchlight.

Thoughts:
  • Player's option books are king, followed by monster books. Not really a surprise there.
  • The MTG settings are actually the worst sellers in each year (excepting 2021, where Strixhaven beat out Ravenloft). I would have thought crossover sales would have done more for them.
  • D&D original settings tend to sell better than other books in their year (excepting, again, Ravenloft).
  • Anthology-style adventures seem to sell better than other kinds of adventures.
  • I wonder what will happen to sales of Volo's and MTOF once Monsters of the Multiverse is out? Though their rankings are so strong even years after release that even a sharp drop might not be noticeable, at least for a while.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
  • The MTG settings are actually the worst sellers in each year (excepting 2021, where Strixhaven beat out Ravenloft). I would have thought crossover sales would have done more for them.

I don't know how the sales of D&D percolate through the MtG world as I'm not a part of that, but I remember asking the question here and and having very few people here interested by the MtG settings for D&D, except as a vague source of ideas. Only a few (again, IIRC and then it's certainly not significant statistically) were actually running campaigns in those settings.
 

Thoughts:
  • Player's option books are king, followed by monster books. Not really a surprise there.
  • The MTG settings are actually the worst sellers in each year (excepting 2021, where Strixhaven beat out Ravenloft). I would have thought crossover sales would have done more for them.
  • D&D original settings tend to sell better than other books in their year (excepting, again, Ravenloft).
  • Anthology-style adventures seem to sell better than other kinds of adventures.
  • I wonder what will happen to sales of Volo's and MTOF once Monsters of the Multiverse is out? Though their rankings are so strong even years after release that even a sharp drop might not be noticeable, at least for a while.

Interesting read, thanks for putting it together.

A positive spin on the MTG setting books is that they’ve improved in rank each year.

It’ll be interesting to see if we start getting a greater ratio of anthology/shorter adventure books compared to the longer single adventures.
 

TheSword

Legend
Was idly curious, and went to look at the current hour's sales ranks for books in the "Dungeons & Dragons Game" category on Amazon.com. Broke them up by year to see which have sold best to worst.

YearRankings
2014PHB (#1)
DMG (#5)
MM (#7)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen (#44)
Rise of Tiamat (#121; had to look it up separately)
2015SCAG (#23)
Princes of the Apocalypse (#29)
Out of the Abyss (#30)
2016Volo's (#6)
Curse of Strahd (#21)
Storm King's Thunder (#34)
2017Xanathar's (#4)
Tales from the Yawning Portal (#19)
Tomb of Annihilation (#22)
2018Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (#10)
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (#18)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (#24)
Ravnica (#31)
2019Essentials Kit (#11)
Eberron (#13)
Ghosts of Saltmarsh (#20)
Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus (#28)
Acquisitions Inc. (#38)
Rick and Morty starter set (#66)
2020Tasha's (#2)
Wildemount (#16)
Theros (#25)
2021Fizban's (#3)
Candlekeep Mysteries (#14)
Strixhaven (#17)
Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft (#26)

Curiously, five official D&D products don't appear to be ranked in the D&D category: the original Starter Set, the Stranger Things starter set, the Tyranny of Dragons compilation, Icewind Dale, and Wild Beyond the Witchlight.

Thoughts:
  • Player's option books are king, followed by monster books. Not really a surprise there.
  • The MTG settings are actually the worst sellers in each year (excepting 2021, where Strixhaven beat out Ravenloft). I would have thought crossover sales would have done more for them.
  • D&D original settings tend to sell better than other books in their year (excepting, again, Ravenloft).
  • Anthology-style adventures seem to sell better than other kinds of adventures.
  • I wonder what will happen to sales of Volo's and MTOF once Monsters of the Multiverse is out? Though their rankings are so strong even years after release that even a sharp drop might not be noticeable, at least for a while.
So it’s worth noting that Amazon sales rank isn’t simply a league table of sales ever made. It is strongly inferred by outsiders (Amazon doesn’t explain its calculation) that recent sales have greater weight than older sales. So it throws a bit of light on why Candlekeep has a higher ranking than Curse of Strahd.

It also explains why later MtG appear to be better sellers.
 

JEB

Legend
So it’s worth noting that Amazon sales rank isn’t simply a league table of sales ever made. It is strongly inferred by outsiders (Amazon doesn’t explain its calculation) that recent sales have greater weight than older sales. So it throws a bit of light on why Candlekeep has a higher ranking than Curse of Strahd.
Interesting. That would have a few implications:
  • If a book is newer and high-ranking, it may not stay there very long if sales aren't sustained.
  • If a book is older and high-ranking, it likely continues to sell very well years after its publication. Or it had a recent and very significant spike in sales. (Or both.)
  • If a book is newer and already low-ranking, it might be selling more poorly than it seems, relative to older books with steadier sales.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It would also depend when in the year they were released. The earlier in the year, the longer they have to sell. Something released in Jan 2018 has a big advantage over something released in December 2018 if you're counting 2018 sales.

A rolling 12 month might be interesting to see!

[edit - oh wait. Current sales? Now I'm confused! In that case presumably newer stuff has the advantage?)
 


TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Just for reference

PHB is...

#179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#1 in Puzzle & Game Reference (Books)
#1 in Dungeons & Dragons Game
#28 in Reference (Books)

Tashas is....

#296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#2 in Dungeons & Dragons Game
#2 in Sword & Sorcery Fantasy (Books)
#3 in Short Stories Anthologies

Dropping down a bit...

TftYP is

#1,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
#15 in Dungeons & Dragons Game
#21 in Puzzles & Games

Which in the olden days, would have been considered amazing for an adventure released 5 years ago.
 



JEB

Legend
A rolling 12 month might be interesting to see!
Don't have the time to do that myself just now, but a quick look suggests one month-related pattern: the first adventure in a year outsells later adventures in the year. (Which suggests an alternate possible explanation for anthologies selling better.)
 




JEB

Legend
so now I’m wondering what #8 or #9 are?
I believe Monsters of the Multiverse was #8 and the core rules gift set was #9, but the rankings have shifted since (Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes moved up to the #8 slot, and several others moved around - though the top 7 are the same).

Worth noting that the "Dungeons & Dragons Game" category also includes third-party and non-game products (including Critical Role merchandise).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
My hypothesis on the MTG setting is biased but I suspect that their purchases are more player focused. However there is less reliability that your DM would run them as many of them are very different for traditional setting and not as compatible to dungeon crawling and adventure as setting designed for it. They were designed to be Planeswalker playhouses. Especially later MTG settings.
 


Now Hasbro has got a deal with Paramount, but Amazon is also a streaming service, and maybe they would like to adapt a growing cash-cow franchise as D&D. And WotC needs Amazon's services.
 

MTG settings feel half baked. I have them all and I love their ideas but I find it so hard to use them in a campaign. There just isn’t enough guidance, it’s all very light flavor, light aesthetics, light narrative frames.

For example, Ravnica was, to me, a super inspiring book. But what I really needed from it was about one hundred small storyseeds that I could draw into an epic intrigue campaign. and tables for making flavorful Ravnica NPCs. And more then a single location for each guild.

I expect that since such tools are not included, not many DMs are able to easily use the book. So word of mouth doesn’t spread, and they don’t sell that well (still better then basically all other rpgs tho).
 

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