5E D&D product sales numbers on Amazon, etc.

happyhermit

Explorer
There was a really good thread on the subject before the crash, that was updated regularly. After the crash there was a really good thread started on the subject before it was taken over by off-topic politics, then eventually closed.

Since Amazon numbers are rather ephemeral, and I enjoyed the original thread a lot, I thought we might try again.

The original post of the post-crash thread by TerraDave on September 26th;

Over 2 years have passed since its August release date, and the 5E PHB is currently in the top 60 of books sold on Amazon. All books.



This represents an increase from the beginning of this year, when the PHBs overall sales rank was around 100.

The DMG and MM have also consistently done well. Right now each is in the top 200 for overall sales.







These sales figures are consistent with statements by Mike Mearls and others that this has been the best selling edition in decades. Only the original AD&D PHB, which was kept in print for almost 10 years, may have exceeded the 5E PHB in sales so far. And we still have years to go.

This thread brought to you by the destruction of the ENWorld Database. Enjoy.
October 23 2016 Amazon rankings in All Books, hopefully without mistakes, first in USA then in Canada in brackets;
PHB; #68 (#14!)
DMG; #209 (#42!)
MM; #234 (#40!)
Starter set; #493 (#189)
Storm King's Thunder; #1812 (#422)
Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide; #2220 (#5509?!?)
Curse of Strahd; #2405 (#1511)

So, the overall sales ranks in the US have slipped a bit in the last month, these numbers do just around a lot in response to actual sales.

In response to the inevitable "these numbers have no meaning" arguments, yes, they do. They rank a product's sales numbers relative to other product's sales numbers on Amazon. If one product stays at a high overall ranking, such as the PHB remarkably remaining in the top 100 bestselling books, then we know it is selling better on Amazon than books ranked lower than it. They do not give us direct actual sales numbers, although we can gain insight into that from sales numbers of other books and we also have statements from Mike Mearls stating which previous editions PHBs have been outsold at this point.
 

happyhermit

Explorer
On another note, with the recent discussion of the possible end of the novel line I happened to look up some of them on Amazon. Wow, these are way more niche than I thought.

R.A. Salvatore's books seem to do well, his latest series books (Homecoming) sitting at #11,408, #9730, and the final potentially last Drizzt book still in pre-order but at #524 which is really good.

The author I had been hearing good things about, Erin M. Evan's novels apparently do not sell nearly as well. Her latest book "The Devil You Know" was just released and should be at a high but it is only #21,597, others are much lower such as "Fire in the Blood" at #407,058 and "Ashes of the Tyrant" which is not yet a year old, at #304,994.

I know fantasy is rather niche in general but I was really surprised to see these books ranked so far below ones that I consider not only niche but actually obscure. This is not meant in ANY way as a criticism of the books or writers, simply an observation on their sales.
 
It's probably not terribly surprising there's been a slip in the last month - there was obviously some buzz prior to the release of SKT, which will have pushed the numbers up, so this is probably them returning to a more 'normal' level.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
On another note, with the recent discussion of the possible end of the novel line I happened to look up some of them on Amazon. Wow, these are way more niche than I thought.

R.A. Salvatore's books seem to do well, his latest series books (Homecoming) sitting at #11,408, #9730, and the final potentially last Drizzt book still in pre-order but at #524 which is really good.

The author I had been hearing good things about, Erin M. Evan's novels apparently do not sell nearly as well. Her latest book "The Devil You Know" was just released and should be at a high but it is only #21,597, others are much lower such as "Fire in the Blood" at #407,058 and "Ashes of the Tyrant" which is not yet a year old, at #304,994.

I know fantasy is rather niche in general but I was really surprised to see these books ranked so far below ones that I consider not only niche but actually obscure. This is not meant in ANY way as a criticism of the books or writers, simply an observation on their sales.
Just for comparison, I looked up Storm Front (Dresden Files #1, published in 2000), The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1, published in 1990), The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings #1, 2012 publication), and Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth #1, published 1995) -- that last one was kind of random as a more "niche" work. I also looked at Skin Game (Dresden Files #15, published 2015) to get stats for an aging series. I have no idea what the early Drizzt books are, to get those stats. The stats for US are:
- Storm Front: #3227 in Books; #425 in Fantasy > Paranormal and Urban
- The Eye of the World: #5827 in Books; #534 in Fantasy > Epic
- The Fellowship of the Ring: #3717 in Books; #376 in Fantasy > Epic
- Wizard's First Rule: #20,833 in Books; #1236 in Fantasy > Epic
- Skin Game: #12,020 in Books; #1218 in Fantasy > Paranormal and Urban

So, my take away is that new Salvatore books aren't doing too bad, compared to new Butcher books. Over all, though, they aren't big draws compared to some of the "classics". Evan's books, on the other hand, not so much of a win. Still, I'm not sure what the ROI is for the Drizzt stuff, by the time you deal with all the IP divvying. Discounting what are, presumably, equivalent, set costs like printing, editing, distribution, etc., Butcher gets the whole pot, while Salvatore and WotC have to split theirs.
 

TerraDave

5ever
It's probably not terribly surprising there's been a slip in the last month - there was obviously some buzz prior to the release of SKT, which will have pushed the numbers up, so this is probably them returning to a more 'normal' level.
They have been in this very high range for a while. Not seeing much of a slip.

Normal is harder to say. Based on pre 5E performance, the PHB staying in, say, the top 500, would have been strong performance. Hard to know what normal is right now. Interesting to see if the PHB can stay in the top 100 for another 6 months.

As for "buz" around SKT. Hmm. CoS had buzz. And that did overtake the core books in sales, at least for a little while. Certainly not the case with SKT.
 
They have been in this very high range for a while. Not seeing much of a slip.
I was referring to the bit in OP where he says, "So, the overall sales ranks in the US have slipped a bit in the last month, these numbers do just around a lot in response to actual sales."

As for "buz" around SKT. Hmm. CoS had buzz. And that did overtake the core books in sales, at least for a little while. Certainly not the case with SKT.
The buzz won't have just impacted sales of SKT, but those of the core rulebooks too. That's one of the odd things about D&D - the biggest benefit of the supplements tends not to be the sales of those books, but rather that they drive ongoing sales of the core rulebooks.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Just for comparison, I looked up Storm Front (Dresden Files #1, published in 2000), The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1, published in 1990), The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings #1, 2012 publication), and Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth #1, published 1995) -- that last one was kind of random as a more "niche" work. I also looked at Skin Game (Dresden Files #15, published 2015) to get stats for an aging series. I have no idea what the early Drizzt books are, to get those stats. The stats for US are:
- Storm Front: #3227 in Books; #425 in Fantasy > Paranormal and Urban
- The Eye of the World: #5827 in Books; #534 in Fantasy > Epic
- The Fellowship of the Ring: #3717 in Books; #376 in Fantasy > Epic
- Wizard's First Rule: #20,833 in Books; #1236 in Fantasy > Epic
- Skin Game: #12,020 in Books; #1218 in Fantasy > Paranormal and Urban

So, my take away is that new Salvatore books aren't doing too bad, compared to new Butcher books. Over all, though, they aren't big draws compared to some of the "classics". Evan's books, on the other hand, not so much of a win. Still, I'm not sure what the ROI is for the Drizzt stuff, by the time you deal with all the IP divvying. Discounting what are, presumably, equivalent, set costs like printing, editing, distribution, etc., Butcher gets the whole pot, while Salvatore and WotC have to split theirs.

Fascinating analysis; this seems to give some indication why WotC appears to be moving the novels to out of house (probably part of the film deal). The economic situation with the novels was undoubtedly different twenty years ago, wonder by how much?
 

happyhermit

Explorer
Gotta love how this thread got a "Terrible" rating in a few hours :D

Do we have given sales numbers for any books in the current top 100?
So few authors put out their numbers and it is hard to look for them in reverse, maybe I will try at some point.

We do have things like this; http://www.theresaragan.com/salesrankingchart/
Amazon Best Seller Rank 50,000 to 100,000 - selling close to 1 book a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 10,000 to 50,000 - selling 5 to 15 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 5,500 to 10,000 - selling 15 to 25 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 3,000 to 5,500 - selling 25 to 70 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 1,500 to 3,000 - selling 70 to 100 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 750 to 1,500 - selling 100 to 120 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 500 to 750 - selling 120 to 175 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 350 to 500 - selling 175 to 200 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 200 to 350 - selling 200 to 300 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 35 to 200 - selling 300 to 1,000 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank 20 to 35 - selling 1,000 to 2,000 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank of 5 to 20 - selling 2,000 to 3,000 books a day.

Amazon Best Seller Rank of 1 to 5 - selling 3,000+ books a day.
Using those numbers, and the PHB's ranking for the past 2+ years gives a number somewhere over 750,000 and under 1,500,000, which actually lines up pretty well with Mike Mearls statements of surpassing previous PHBs and the numbers that were given for them in the past, AFAICT.


Just for comparison, I looked up Storm Front (Dresden Files #1, published in 2000), The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1, published in 1990), The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings #1, 2012 publication), and Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth #1, published 1995) -- that last one was kind of random as a more "niche" work. I also looked at Skin Game (Dresden Files #15, published 2015) to get stats for an aging series. I have no idea what the early Drizzt books are, to get those stats. The stats for US are:
- Storm Front: #3227 in Books; #425 in Fantasy > Paranormal and Urban
- The Eye of the World: #5827 in Books; #534 in Fantasy > Epic
- The Fellowship of the Ring: #3717 in Books; #376 in Fantasy > Epic
- Wizard's First Rule: #20,833 in Books; #1236 in Fantasy > Epic
- Skin Game: #12,020 in Books; #1218 in Fantasy > Paranormal and Urban

So, my take away is that new Salvatore books aren't doing too bad, compared to new Butcher books. Over all, though, they aren't big draws compared to some of the "classics". Evan's books, on the other hand, not so much of a win. Still, I'm not sure what the ROI is for the Drizzt stuff, by the time you deal with all the IP divvying. Discounting what are, presumably, equivalent, set costs like printing, editing, distribution, etc., Butcher gets the whole pot, while Salvatore and WotC have to split theirs.
Wizard's First Rule is a good example of what I was trying to think of. It was a good book, and I knew that some people liked it but I did not think of it as any sort of earth shattering success. To see that 20+ years later it is sitting at that position, and according to the chart above selling maybe a dozen books on Amazon that day makes sense. To see that Erin M. Evan's (which I have heard described as a good author) last book from not even a year ago might not even be selling a book every day on Amazon, that surprised me.

I was referring to the bit in OP where he says, "So, the overall sales ranks in the US have slipped a bit in the last month, these numbers do just around a lot in response to actual sales."
I was trying to say they jump around a lot, at least I think that is what I was trying to say last night :eek:.
 
Amazon numbers only include sales on their website. Many things, including WotC products, Amazon is willing to sell at close to their wholesale price. And even with the discount, it still only takes one or two books to get free standard shipping. So while their sales numbers may not accurately reflect overall sales postioning from all sources combined, the core books are still really good sellers. According to today's Sage Advice column, the PHB is into a sixth printing.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Sith printing........

:)

Does it include errata?
Yes, each printing includes any errata released up to that point. So, the sixth printing of the PHB includes all the new errata that's been recently released (as well as older errata).
 

Zardnaar

Hero
It's interesting to look at what Mearls actually said and we have numbers for older editions and a program was used to get the 5E numbers (about 4k a month IIRC)

Mearls never claimed 5E had outsold TSR era D&D. It would be selling faster than 1E but would need to keep this rate up for the next 4 years.

Mearls also claimed 5E has not outsold 3.0+3.5 he said it was individual.sales. So 5E has sold somewhere in the 500k to 750k range.

At that rate it's the fastest selling D&D ever with maybe the original red box and 1982/83:being exceptions.

D&D novels have been going downhill for years since 2008 IIRC. Spell plague killed them. Last good Drizzt book may have been 1999 or over a decade ago.

How well are Game if Thrones books doing?
 
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Ath-kethin

Explorer
It's also interesting looking at known bestsellers through this lens. The 2000 printing of the Dragonlance Chronicles are still moving 5-25 books per day (for some reason volumes 1 and 3 of the series move much faster than volume 2) on Amazon alone. That's staying power, I guess.

Though it's a little funky that for the Legends trilogy the second volume sells far better than the first and third.

Interesting stuff.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
"Printing" as as a numerical value is vague.

There are hard numbers out there for TSR editions and former TSR staff in various places on the net have discussed print run sizes. Some of the old Basic set print runs were huge. Roughly a million copies were sold of the old Black Box from the early 90s.

No doubt it's doing well. But every dood in charge of D&D @ WOTC over the years (Slav, Rouse, Mearls) has said how awesome the game has sold and twisted some statistic to their advantage. It's their job to promote and tell us everything is better than it has ever been before.
 

TerraDave

5ever
No doubt it's doing well. But every dood in charge of D&D @ WOTC over the years (Slav, Rouse, Mearls) has said how awesome the game has sold and twisted some statistic to their advantage. It's their job to promote and tell us everything is better than it has ever been before.
The whole point of these threads is not to rely on what they have been saying.
 

TerraDave

5ever
I have been skeptical about the non-mm they are releasing. But, initial sales are strong. CoS strong.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 8.51.34 AM.png

(And no, not everything they release does this well).

We will see what happens when people actually get their hands on it.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
The whole point of these threads is not to rely on what they have been saying.
Of course. The first paragraph of my post directly relates to the second paragraph you did quote, so I'm not sure what you are getting at.. Print runs of the 5e PHB were being discussed. Until sizes of print runs are known, the number of them are meaningless. 6 runs at 10k per? 20k per? 5k per?
 

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