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D&D 5E Chapters/Indigo and the death of the FLGS

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
I'm very troubled by Chapters/Indigo in Canada breaking the release date with the 5e PHB,. This wasnt a surprise: we knew they were likely to do so; but it seems such a slap in the face of such a brilliant plan to release the books two weeks early so that game stores could make a reasonable profit before the online marketers had a chance.

I know not everyone has access to a store, and many are in a financial position such that they want the biggest discounts possible -- all that's fair game; you can have the books cheaper on the release date if you want them.

WOTC were so progressive with this solution -- I cant describe how much I admire this marketing choice. It was supportive of their fan base and gave a real reward to those willing to pay the premium. Amazon, not known for their respect for their fellow retailers, choose to honour it (so far at least).

While I'm giddy to discover what's inside as much as the next guy, I feel conflicted: Breaking the release date hurts the whole hobby, I feel; it hurts game stores, and -- I'm surprised at my moralism here -- it cheats. However much I want my PHB, I'll admit that I'm pleased that I didn't order it from Chapters/Indigo. I don't want to order anything from them, or go to their stores. But I wish I could do more. I have no idea what sorts of reprisals or restoration WOTC might be able to get from the Canadian retailer, but I hope they pursue everything they can, and I hope it works.
 

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pkt77242

Explorer
I'm very troubled by Chapters/Indigo in Canada breaking the release date with the 5e PHB,. This wasnt a surprise: we knew they were likely to do so; but it seems such a slap in the face of such a brilliant plan to release the books two weeks early so that game stores could make a reasonable profit before the online marketers had a chance.

I know not everyone has access to a store, and many are in a financial position such that they want the biggest discounts possible -- all that's fair game; you can have the books cheaper on the release date if you want them.

WOTC were so progressive with this solution -- I cant describe how much I admire this marketing choice. It was supportive of their fan base and gave a real reward to those willing to pay the premium. Amazon, not known for their respect for their fellow retailers, choose to honour it (so far at least).

While I'm giddy to discover what's inside as much as the next guy, I feel conflicted: Breaking the release date hurts the whole hobby, I feel; it hurts game stores, and -- I'm surprised at my moralism here -- it cheats. However much I want my PHB, I'll admit that I'm pleased that I didn't order it from Chapters/Indigo. I don't want to order anything from them, or go to their stores. But I wish I could do more. I have no idea what sorts of reprisals or restoration WOTC might be able to get from the Canadian retailer, but I hope they pursue everything they can, and I hope it works.

Most contracts have fines written into them for breaking street date, having said that it almost never happens (I can't think of a single time it has happened).
 

Pyromantic

First Post
I agree with you; I don't think it's right.

I live in the Toronto area and I could probably have a copy already if I'd ordered from Chapters, but there's a reason release dates exist. As much as I would like to get the books now, I'm also not in a position to pay twice as much just to get them a couple of weeks early, so I won't be searching for a WPN store and I'll be content to get my Amazon order in a couple of weeks.

Just to be clear, I don't begrudge anyone who has gotten access to the book already...I've been very tempted to cancel my Amazon order and place one at Chapters!
 

doctorhook

Adventurer
This thought crossed my mind too: it's a huge retailer in Canada that offers an absolute advantage over ever buying D&D products in an LGS. That really sucks for LGSs.

If it's any consolation, part of the reason Chapters/Indigo probably does this is because it's fighting as hard as it can to avoid the fate of Borders in the United States. I doubt Chapters is likely to end up that way, but their management is surely cognizant that it's a real possibility for any big-box retailer in the publishing industry these days. (Chapters has been selling decorations and fashion-oriented housewares for years already, and now they even carry some clothes; it's a sign the company wants not to rely on books for its future.)
 

sgtscott658

First Post
Hi-

Here in Chicago, I guess I am lucky, I have a game store (dice dojo) less then a mile from me and I buy most of my gaming gear from them. Granted I could go online, pay a cheaper price but then I would have to wait. I want my book now not a week later.

Anyway, I did get an email from them saying my reserved copy d&d 5E book was in but I had to pick it up friday, well, there only a mile away so I hoped into my two black Cadillac's (combat boots) and trucked over to see if I could get my book now.

They said no, on friday. Now thats integrity!

Scott
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Rather than assuming Chapters/Indigo did it on purpose for a competitive advantage, I assume it's just incompetence.
 

Boarstorm

First Post
Rather than assuming Chapters/Indigo did it on purpose for a competitive advantage, I assume it's just incompetence.

While I'm a firm believer that you should never assume malice when stupidity is an equally valid explanation, it seems a little widespread for incompetence.

But then, maybe I'm an optimist. :p
 

random.brown

First Post
An ignorant 'murican here, but is "Chapters" a large chain?

If they broke the street date at more than one store I could imagine that might go poorly for them in the future!
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
While I'm a firm believer that you should never assume malice when stupidity is an equally valid explanation, it seems a little widespread for incompetence.

But then, maybe I'm an optimist. :p

It takes one central distribution point shipping all the books out as soon as they get them, and a lack of a policy in place at stores to hold back books they receive from the distribution point until you've checked the release date. Doesn't seem like a lot of things need to go wrong for this to happen.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and support.

If it's any consolation, part of the reason Chapters/Indigo probably does this is because it's fighting as hard as it can to avoid the fate of Borders in the United States.

This may be, but it cuts both ways, since Chapters, by offering discounts of 10-20% on all new books, effectively drove out most smaller independent bookstores with their price-gouging. Amazon is just able to do it more effectively since it doesn't worry about retail.

Rather than assuming Chapters/Indigo did it on purpose for a competitive advantage, I assume it's just incompetence.

That may be, but if so it is serial incompetence, and they are gaining a significant competitive advantage. They broke the street date for the Starter Set as well, and that's why I say this was predictable -- and indeed last month many people on these boards said they were switching their orders to Chapters/Indigo because of the likelihood it would happen again.

An ignorant 'murican here, but is "Chapters" a large chain?

If they broke the street date at more than one store I could imagine that might go poorly for them in the future!

Yes, it is the largest book retailer in Canada, with stores in every province (a merger of two formerly competing box book sellers).

As for whether there will be fallout, we'll have to see. I feel there should be, and if there is a financial penalty, then they should be made to pay it.
 

pkt77242

Explorer
While I'm a firm believer that you should never assume malice when stupidity is an equally valid explanation, it seems a little widespread for incompetence.

But then, maybe I'm an optimist. :p

Street dates get broken pretty often (I have seen it many times in DVDs, Music and Video Games) sometimes through choice (wanting to give a friend a copy) many times from incompetence or poor training/plan. I am going to bet that the average worker at a large bookstore doesn't know the street date for the PHB (it might mean the world to us but not to them) as it isn't a release like a Harry Potter book that is crazy hyped. So I would view it as likely incompetence on their part.
 

Gundark

Explorer
As for whether there will be fallout, we'll have to see. I feel there should be, and if there is a financial penalty, then they should be made to pay it.

Will there? What fall-out would there be? What would Wizards do to them as punishment? They could Fine them (unlikely). They could withhold product (yeah right).

I think there is ZERO that Wizards could do to them that has any meaningful consequence.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
That's probably true. Fines were mentioned upthread; I'm not aware of what contracts exist, or how these things are usually enforced.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
That's probably true. Fines were mentioned upthread; I'm not aware of what contracts exist, or how these things are usually enforced.

Speaking as a Canadian retailer who jumps through WotC's hoops to get WPN status so I can get the books earlier, because they sure don't give 'em to me cheaper (for example there was a 4e book that Amazon was selling for a cheaper price than our net cost. Yes, that's right, customers could get them for cheaper on Amazon than I could get them from WotC for)...

I informed WotC about Chapters when the Starter Set shipped in June. I did a bunch of research FOR THEM to prove it to them. They said they'd look into it, and that it was unlikely I would ever be informed of the results.

Now the PHBi is out on Chapter's shelves, while I've got the books but CAN'T SELL THEM without breaking my terms of Sale.

It looks looks like WotC didn't do anything about it at all.

The consequences of breaking street date hurts Chaperts not at all, but it could seriously harm my business. Besides, I personally told the guys at the distributor that I wouldn't sell them before Friday, and I don't like to break my word.
 

Agamon

Adventurer
It's odd, I've never heard of a video game/system being released early or a movie being shown early. Is it because books (and especially RPG books) just aren't a big deal?

Anyway, I'm Canadian and I'm getting it from a gaming store tomorrow...not that I didn't try pre-ordering from Indigo. It just didn't ship on time to get it by tomorrow, so I cancelled. And that's mostly because I have to drive 300 km one way to get to a WPN store. I'd rather not, if I didn't have to. I'd have gladly supported the local store, but they're MtG/FNM only, they don't run Encounters anymore. The price wasn't a big deal (obviously...I'm spending $50 in gas alone to get this thing).
 

Obryn

Hero
Yeah, at this point, it's more unusual when Chapters DOESN'T break street date on gaming books. They did it on 4e, too.
 


Gundark

Explorer
It's odd, I've never heard of a video game/system being released early or a movie being shown early. Is it because books (and especially RPG books) just aren't a big deal?

This. Chapters doesn't care because 5e isn't going to sell big at all compared to other books/products. Once the 19th passes they will sell barely any at all in their physical stores.

I'm guessing here but it would probably hurt WotC more to enforce something like this than they'd gain from enforcing it.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Speaking as a Canadian retailer ...

The consequences of breaking street date hurts Chaperts not at all, but it could seriously harm my business. Besides, I personally told the guys at the distributor that I wouldn't sell them before Friday, and I don't like to break my word.

Thank you for making my point much clearer and with authority than I can. I feel for you, man. This is exactly what I'm saying.

Yeah I'm sure D&D isn't a huge seller for them, so WotC fines them and they just stop carrying WotC products.

And that's a win, right?
 

reiella

First Post
While I'm a firm believer that you should never assume malice when stupidity is an equally valid explanation, it seems a little widespread for incompetence.

But then, maybe I'm an optimist. :p

A lot of book vendors ignore release dates on books that aren't Harry Potter. I know when I worked at a book store, we didn't care.

[ edit ]
To add about it. I did catch a few RPGs that were going to be stocked before release date, but generally, we just assumed that street date notation was in error (and they often were issued in error).

Mostly as books took up the most space in the stockroom :(.
 

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