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D&D 5E PHB is #3 right now on "Amazon's Hot New Releases"

Mistwell

Legend
Whoah, wait a minute. I think you buried the lede here: 3e was "fiction" but 5e is "nonfiction." This time we get to use real magic!

If only Jack Chick knew how right he was...

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It's an oddity. However, I suspect it is usually easier to get on the hardcover-specific bestseller list for fiction than non-fiction, in a Presidential election year. That's because non-fiction hardcovers are usually dominated by political books and autobiographies of famous people during those years (along with some history books), which are endlessly promoted on radio and 24 hour news stations and entertainment stations.

This year happens to not be a Presidential election year, so we don't see the same sort of political and autobiographical books dominating non-fiction.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
I wish you would stop repeating claims that have already been refuted...unless you have a response to the refutation.

Myspace.
Friendster.
AOL.
Usenet.

These were all big at the time. Bigger than mere "message board". They were, in fact, HUGE. MySpace surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States at one point.



This is another one of those Zard-specials, where you cite a generic set of data that has little to do with the topic but imply it has a lot to do with the topic. Nobody cares, say, computer use in Zibabwe for this topic. We're talking about internet usage, in the United States, which is where the overwhelming bulk of "D&D discussions on the internet" would be found. Right now internet usage is at 81% of Americans. By comparison, in 2000 it was about 51% of Americans. Now that is certainty growth, but it's not "doubled or tripled". We're also talking about gamer nerds - who were the first adopters of the Internet. I am sure the number of Americans online in the gamer nerd community has increased since 2000, but it's definitely not the wild numbers you're trying to imply here.



Wow talk about disingenuous. We're comparing a book from 2000 to a book from 2014, where Amazon physical-book sales have raised about 30% and internet usage has raised about 30% as well in that period of time. So you compare it to books thousands of years old, which definitely never had any internet access when they released?

Why the constant exaggerations here Zard? It's not persuasive once someone reveals what you're doing, in fact it's the opposite. By doing this so much in this thread, you're decreasing the credibility of your arguments in general. It's like crying wolf.


I never claimed things like that did not exist and I did not realise America was the centre of the world my apologies. Hell I had friends using modems in 1991 to talk to each other. I'm saying the culture these days in regard to things like social media is very different now than in 2000 and you would be very disingenuous to claim other wise. The social media for example is linked to your TV and cell phones and in 2000 if you wanted to play online on a TV you were more or less limited to the Sega Dreamcast. The joke was also the only online business making money back then was porn as well.

Amazon and Ebay were in their infancy by comparison, blogs barely existed, there was no iPhone, no iPods, no twitter, facebook, steam, youtube. These forums did not exist either although the pre ENworld forums were up IIRC. Put simply I would expect online reviews now days to be a lot more common. Hell you could post a review while sitting on your toilet. It would be out right moronic to claim 5E is doing better than 3.0 due to online reviews. If that was a good metric 5E is doing better than D&D during the golden age of D&D. It is a little bit fairer to compare 5E with 4E I suppose but I don't think that would be that fair either to be honest. If you don't think 5 or 6 years makes a difference in that regard how about 1995 compared with 2001, or 1989 compared with 1995. You are using a 14 year gap, hell it would be like comparing 2E launch to 3.5 in terms of online presence. The internet existed in 1989 (in USA anyway) that is a fair comparison right?
 

Iosue

Adventurer
If you don't think 5 or 6 years makes a difference in that regard how about 1995 compared with 2001, or 1989 compared with 1995. You are using a 14 year gap, hell it would be like comparing 2E launch to 3.5 in terms of online presence. The internet existed in 1989 (in USA anyway) that is a fair comparison right?
Way to slay that strawman.
 

There were things like bulletin boards but you did not have things like facebook, twitter, youtube and apps on cell phones linking them all together. Computer use has doubled or tripled since 2000 depending on what country you are in, you could not msg the D&D designers on twitter or watch them on youtube.

Its a slight difference of scale. I'm willing to bet you will find more positive reviews on the latest Game of Thrones book than Shakespeare or the bible as well.

No, no twitter. No facebook, no myspace. But AOL and Delphi were nationwide BBSs. So was Compuserve. And not just for people using them as their point of entry into the internet. (I dropped of Compuserve in 1994 - it was too expensive. The AOL and Delphi forums, however, were free to use even if you didn't use those services as ISPs.)

And you could, quite easily, find the dev team's email addresses in 1997-1998 - they were on the TSR website!

I know because I got some 2E rules questions answered simply by emailing them.
 

MwaO

Explorer
I don't see this as anti-FLGS or pro-Amazon. I think its simply impressive that Amazon sales are high. And, Amazon is established enough to be important/meaningful. It is perhaps even more impressive, because now the LGS that are WPN members (and who run a high volume of Magic and D&D organized play) are allowed to sell these products two weeks in advance of Amazon. I've heard several cases of people canceling their Amazon orders to purchase from their FLGS because they wanted to get their books as soon as possible. I know other people who used to order from Amazon who know turn to their FLGS for the same reason.

It is great to see 5E do well on Amazon and at the FLGS. I visited a board game store in Belgium recently, and they were carrying the Starter Set and had made several sales despite not normally catering to RPGs. The stores I visit in Portland and Houston are seeing well beyond expected sales. Great news for our hobby.

Point being - in many areas, there are significantly fewer FLGS stores because Amazon exists over the past 5 years. Borders went bankrupt. Barnes & Noble closed a lot of stores. Many smaller bookstores went under.

That D&D made its way to the top of the Amazon food chain might very well be remarkable. It might also reflect that options for purchasing PHB have significantly narrowed. And that had other editions had the same conditions, we might have seen similar results.

We don't know - only WotC knows, which means that speculation is kind of pointless, even with the Amazon data point. And had Mearls the option of conclusively saying that yes, 5e is off to the best start of any edition of D&D, he very well might have said so. So maybe he can't...
 

Zardnaar

Legend
No, no twitter. No facebook, no myspace. But AOL and Delphi were nationwide BBSs. So was Compuserve. And not just for people using them as their point of entry into the internet. (I dropped of Compuserve in 1994 - it was too expensive. The AOL and Delphi forums, however, were free to use even if you didn't use those services as ISPs.)

And you could, quite easily, find the dev team's email addresses in 1997-1998 - they were on the TSR website!

I know because I got some 2E rules questions answered simply by emailing them.

Le sigh. It is still a matter of scale. How many devices do you have these days that can be used to post a review online would be the main point? With that capability I would expect the more modern D&D is the more I would expect people to post about it and do things like online reviews.

Being honest how many online devices did you have in the following years in your home. And by online devices I mean things connected to the internet and could be used to browse it?

Mine

1998 0
2000 1 (1 console)
2003 3 (2 console, 1 PC)
2008 7 (2 PCs, 3 consoles, 2 phones)
2014 14 (2 phones, 2 PCs, 2 TVs, 1 tablet 7 consoles)

The jump between 2008 and 2014 is things like smart phones, TVs, and every gaming console having the net built in. Is my household unusual in the amount of web capable devices being added? I suppose it is odd I kept my old consoles including the one I had in 2000.
 


Le sigh. It is still a matter of scale. How many devices do you have these days that can be used to post a review online would be the main point? With that capability I would expect the more modern D&D is the more I would expect people to post about it and do things like online reviews.

Being honest how many online devices did you have in the following years in your home. And by online devices I mean things connected to the internet and could be used to browse it?

Mine

1998 0
2000 1 (1 console)
2003 3 (2 console, 1 PC)
2008 7 (2 PCs, 3 consoles, 2 phones)
2014 14 (2 phones, 2 PCs, 2 TVs, 1 tablet 7 consoles)

The jump between 2008 and 2014 is things like smart phones, TVs, and every gaming console having the net built in. Is my household unusual in the amount of web capable devices being added? I suppose it is odd I kept my old consoles including the one I had in 2000.

1992: 1 (via dialup through the university)
1994: 2 (via dialup through the university - both desktops)
1998: 5 (3x desktop, 1x laptop, 1x Newton MP140 with modem) and a cablemodem
2003: 5 (3x laptop, 2x desktop, 1x Newton)
2008: 12 (3x laptop, 4x desktop, 1x newton, 1x Wii, 3x Palm with wifi, 1xDSi, 1x DVD player)
2014: about 16, counting all the abandoned functional hardware of my parents. as in, 16 that one can pull the dustcover, plug it into the wall, fire it up, reset the clock, plug in the one physical cable that is there, and be able to go online. I'm not counting the half-dozen assorted needs-a-part or needs-a-reinstall.

One of the desktops only supports HTTP 1.0, and hasn't had a software upgrade since 1998. Runs Mac OS 8.5.

The Newton's browser sucked, but worked. The hardware still works, but I can't get dial-up any more.

I've got an ethernet card for the Apple IIGS, and could, in theory, run the web browser for it... but haven't counted it in any of the above.

All the local high schools had internet by 1999. Students were allowed to use it by 2001, when I started working for them.

I've had internet access since I started college... in 1988. Rec.games.frp.dnd dates to 1992. Rec.games.frp dates back further still. I didn't get into usenet until 1990, but there was discussion there about games already. And gopher servers on the internet with netbooks, often the same ones as were on WWIVnet. And wwivnet discussion groups were often nation wide, tho' it could take upwards of a week to see responses to your post from across the country.

There has always been a strong tech-geek element connection to RPG's. And lots of opinionation about them.

Most of my friends were on the internet by 1995, either through fidonet tie-ins, Compuserve, or through the university. D&D discussion online was pretty common. And blogs were happening - even tho' the term wasn't used yet - with people putting commentary up on their website, and then posting response comments to it received via email by manually editing the HTML. Much of it looked much like JH Kim's website. Internet email discussion groups were really popular from about 1994 on to about 2002.
 


Mistwell

Legend
Hell I had friends using modems in 1991 to talk to each other.

I was actively talking D&D on BBS's in 1982 using my Commodore 64 (and thanks to FidoNet, it was national discussion by the mid 80s, with national email too thanks to EchoMail). By 1991 a lot of us were already on university internet access playing Nethack, MUDs, and emailing using PINE while discussing D&D on Usenet.

I am starting to wonder if this is a generational thing. I don't want to be impolite and ask your age, but is it possible you were a teen or younger in 2000 and maybe that's why you thought internet usage was lower than it was for that year? A lot has changed since 2000, but hardcopy Amazon book sales, internet usage in the U.S., and D&D discussion are not things that have changed all that much since then.

I'm saying the culture these days in regard to things like social media is very different now than in 2000 and you would be very disingenuous to claim other wise.

I am claiming otherwise in the context of "D&D discussion", it's not disingenuous for me to do so, and I'd prefer you stop being rude and reply to what I am saying rather than calling me names like liar (which is what disingenuous means in this context). MySpace was really not much different than Facebook, nor was Friendster or much of AOL. There are some aspects that are different, but not the ones that are most relevant to the topic of D&D discussions. In fact we've had some of the same discussions in 2014 that I had in 1991 on Usenet with people.

The social media for example is linked to your TV and cell phones and in 2000

Sure but most people are not posting on their TV. And whole many post on their cell phones, those same people were posting on their computers before. It's not like that changed the quantity of people talking about D&D, it just changed the device they were using to talk about D&D. But ask Morrus about his usage here - usage actually went DOWN for many years, and only recently rebounded with the introduction of 5e.

if you wanted to play online on a TV you were more or less limited to the Sega Dreamcast. The joke was also the only online business making money back then was porn as well.

I was General Council for a large internet co-location (server farm) company from 1997 to 2003. It was a joke only. We were massively profitable, and almost all our clients were profitable as well. Internet advertising was taking off in a huge way, and people were paying big bucks for it - in some ways, bigger bucks then than now.

And I was playing Xbox on Xbox Live in 2002 by the way. And before that I was at LAN parties, and playing 15 different people on Spaceward Ho!

Amazon and Ebay were in their infancy by comparison,

OK stop, just stop. This has already been refuted. You can't just keep pretending nobody replied to you, that nobody cited hard evidence to refute it, and then just repeat your claim. Amazon BOOKS were not in their infancy (they were almost as big as they are now). eBay in the U.S. was not in it's infancy (it was half a decade in already, and huge, and was about to buy PayPal).

It really seems like you think 2000 was 1990. Most of the stuff you're saying is off by about a decade. Which is why I referenced your age - I don't know of anyone who was a geek and an adult in 2000 who thinks these things.

blogs barely existed

Are you friggen kidding me? LiveJournal was huge. Blogging was huge. 2002 is the year Journalism classes were teaching blogging vs. journalism classes, and in 2001 "how to blog" books were being published. Once again it really seems like you're off by a decade on this stuff.

was no iPhone, no iPods,

iPod was 2001, and it was a copy of several devices that came before it. Palm PDAs were huge, and the Palm VII had internet access in the U.S. by 1999. I had a Palm Treo phone in 2003, which had apps, and internet access.

no twitter, facebook, steam, youtube.

No idea what Steam has to do with this discussion. But yes, no Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, which is a point that you've made three times now and which has been responded to three times now. The longer you pretend it had no reply, the worse your argument looks.

These forums did not exist either although the pre ENworld forums were up IIRC.

WOW. Dude...what do you think E.N. World stands for? This forum was founded by Eric Noah BECAUSE of the launch of 3e. It was absolutely around then...before the launch in fact! They were not "pre-ENWorld" forums, we just had a board reset at one point. There are lots of people who have been posting here since before 3.0e launched.

It would be out right moronic to claim 5E is doing better than 3.0 due to online reviews.

Excuse me? Did you just call me a moron for disagreeing with you?
 
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Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
I would say the Pathfinder stuff was bought mainly from Paizo itself, not to mention you can get everything via the SRD. I would say it's the top RPG book sold out of Amazon but that's it.

I could also say that Pathfinder stuff was bought mainly from Amazon, or mainly from FLGS. Without any proof to back that up, that statement is meaningless. I'm guessing only someone from Paizo could give us the numbers on how many books they sell directly through Paizo compared to other channels. I also doubt whether they'd want to give that sort of financial data up.

I do agree that all you can definitely prove about the 5E PHB is that it's the top RPG book sold by Amazon. However, I think that fact is still a good thing nonetheless, especially considering how many copies you need to sell in order to hit the #1 spot.
 

Mistwell

Legend
Newtons! Hah! What was Apple thinking, PDA and messaging in my hand? Daft. Just daft. Nothing could ever come of it.

Yeah I was emailing people and taking pictures from my phone on my Palm Treo 600 in 2003 using an App well before an iPhone was even a dream of Steve Jobs. What was Palm thinking, that people would want to download Apps to their phone? I had over 50 of them I think. I sometimes miss my physical tiny keyboard and stylus.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I was actively talking D&D on BBS's in 1982 using my Commodore 64 (and thanks to FidoNet, it was national discussion by the mid 80s, with national email too thanks to EchoMail). By 1991 a lot of us were already on university internet access playing Nethack, MUDs, and emailing using PINE while discussing D&D on Usenet.

I am starting to wonder if this is a generational thing. I don't want to be impolite and ask your age, but is it possible you were a teen or younger in 2000 and maybe that's why you thought internet usage was lower than it was for that year? A lot has changed since 2000, but hardcopy Amazon book sales, internet usage in the U.S., and D&D discussion are not things that have changed all that much since then.



I am claiming otherwise in the context of "D&D discussion", it's not disingenuous for me to do so, and I'd prefer you stop being rude and reply to what I am saying rather than calling me names like liar (which is what disingenuous means in this context). MySpace was really not much different than Facebook, nor was Friendster or much of AOL. There are some aspects that are different, but not the ones that are most relevant to the topic of D&D discussions. In fact we've had some of the same discussions in 2014 that I had in 1991 on Usenet with people.



Sure but most people are not posting on their TV. And whole many post on their cell phones, those same people were posting on their computers before. It's not like that changed the quantity of people talking about D&D, it just changed the device they were using to talk about D&D. But ask Morrus about his usage here - usage actually went DOWN for many years, and only recently rebounded with the introduction of 5e.



I was General Council for a large internet co-location (server farm) company from 1997 to 2003. It was a joke only. We were massively profitable, and almost all our clients were profitable as well. Internet advertising was taking off in a huge way, and people were paying big bucks for it - in some ways, bigger bucks then than now.

And I was playing Xbox on Xbox Live in 2002 by the way. And before that I was at LAN parties, and playing 15 different people on Spaceward Ho!



OK stop, just stop. This has already been refuted. You can't just keep pretending nobody replied to you, that nobody cited hard evidence to refute it, and then just repeat your claim. Amazon BOOKS were not in their infancy (they were almost as big as they are now). eBay in the U.S. was not in it's infancy (it was half a decade in already, and huge, and was about to buy PayPal).

It really seems like you think 2000 was 1990. Most of the stuff you're saying is off by about a decade. Which is why I referenced your age - I don't know of anyone who was a geek and an adult in 2000 who thinks these things.



Are you friggen kidding me? LiveJournal was huge. Blogging was huge. 2002 is the year Journalism classes were teaching blogging vs. journalism classes, and in 2001 "how to blog" books were being published. Once again it really seems like you're off by a decade on this stuff.



iPod was 2001, and it was a copy of several devices that came before it. Palm PDAs were huge, and the Palm VII had internet access in the U.S. by 1999. I had a Palm Treo phone in 2003, which had apps, and internet access.



No idea what Steam has to do with this discussion. But yes, no Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, which is a point that you've made three times now and which has been responded to three times now. The longer you pretend it had no reply, the worse your argument looks.



WOW. Dude...what do you think E.N. World stands for? This forum was founded by Eric Noah BECAUSE of the launch of 3e. It was absolutely around then...before the launch in fact! They were not "pre-ENWorld" forums, we just had a board reset at one point. There are lots of people who have been posting here since before 3.0e launched.



Excuse me? Did you just call me a moron for disagreeing with you?

I am 36 if you must know. I do know a lot of the things you posted did exist. Your perosnal experiences probably did not match that of most Americans. The main point being we are far more connected now than we were in 2000 by an order of magnitude. ANd by E-commerce I meant selling normal goods online not just selling online services and things related to websites, telecommunication, ISP's, etc. Ebay was just getting started for example IIRC, and Amazon was not making a profit in 2000. It was early days was the main point, Everquest was not the 1st MMO but it was big by 2000 standards back then.

From the sounds of it you were on the cutting edge. Do you not understand the basic concept that due to increased internet usage since 2000 especially in the explosion of new devices that one can use these days I would expect there to be way more reviews these days than even a few years ago?

I think a better indicator is the relative lack of negative reviews in regards to 5E than the numbers relative to the internet bronze age when 3.0 launched. 5E seems to have had a good launch and the 4vengers types seem to be in a small minority compared to the h4aters that bailed on 4E and left negative reviews. How we buy things and how we communicate has changed in a massive way since 2000. I used steam as an example because I would not be surprised if Amazon, Steam and I-tunes for example end up becoming bigger than brick and mortar stores for purchasing things you got from a store in 2000. That is if they are not there already. Smartphones would be another example of a way to post online and shop as well.
 

darjr

I crit!
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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
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.

Some ideas.

https://www.acaeum.com/library/printrun.html

1st Ed PHB was printed in smaller print runs. It was printed 17 times by TSR and once by WoTC. 1st ed DMG the 1st 3 printings were 40 000 each.

The reason I said Mike was not clear was he claimed each edition sold more than the one before it yet 3rd ed is referred to the silver age of D&D with around 1981-1983 being the golden age. He did also say initial sales do not matter to much as modern D&D it seems is heavily frontloaded to the 1st few months, TSR era was a slow burner as such with smaller print runs sold over a longer time frame.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It would be out right moronic ....

Nor would it be terribly bright to use insulting language to describe fellow posters, what with the moderator attention it brings. But it happens occasionally anyway.

Folks, It is pretty simple: keep it civil. Don't be insulting.
 

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).
 

Alphastream

Adventurer
The reason I said Mike was not clear was he claimed each edition sold more than the one before it yet 3rd ed is referred to the silver age of D&D with around 1981-1983 being the golden age. He did also say initial sales do not matter to much as modern D&D it seems is heavily frontloaded to the 1st few months, TSR era was a slow burner as such with smaller print runs sold over a longer time frame.

He isn't the only one saying each edition has outsold the previous one. Dancey says that up to and including 4E, where 4E outsold 3E's initial sales based on pre-orders alone.

It isn't that initial sales don't matter. Of course they do, because sales matter and you always want strong sales, market penetration, and excitement around a launch. But, the key is that the interest remain as high as possible. And, ideally, across the line. One of 1E and 2E's big problems was that they had no idea how to correctly sell product beyond the core books. They had a poor understanding of what customers want and often were ignorant regarding the profit (or lack of it) behind each product. (Dancey writes plenty on these subjects, but others have said the same before).

This is why we can think of the '80s as the golden age (because D&D was a massive brand of which most people in the US and many countries were aware) all while it was terrible from a business perspective (TSR was overhiring, overspending, underselling, etc.). Like many businesses, the highest years of revenue concealed the biggest problems.

What Mike Mearls is saying is that the initial sales are terrific, but it is smart to be cautious and see how the game is received as time passes and more products are added. This isn't just the core books, but also the adventures, the licensed video games, the licensed miniatures, the licensed board games, etc. Fast-forward to March, when the next storyline theme is released, the next officially licensed adventures come out, and so on. Is D&D even bigger then? The same? Smaller? If the licensed products continue to well received, as they have been, then this could pave the way for much more. If not, you have to rethink the model, retreat in some areas, and try new things. A lot can change in a year.

None of that takes away from the incredible start this RPG has had. 5E's initial numbers are nearing the point where they dwarf anything before it. If somehow D&D can regain some of the '80s spotlight (so far so good), it could bring in a new golden era. It doesn't even have to outshine the '80s to be great for RPGs. And, preferably, any golden era comes with much higher profitability and business sense. This seems to be in good hands so far (just look at how licensing is being used to handle traditionally unprofitable products such as DM screens and minis).
 

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