D&D 5E The Printers Can't Handle WotC's One D&D Print Runs!

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One of the reasons why the three new core rulebooks next year will not be released together is because D&D is such a juggernaut that the printers can't actually handle the size of the print runs!

Jeremy Crawford told Polygon "Our print runs are pretty darn big and printers are telling us you can’t give us these three books at the same time.” And Chris Perkins added that "The print runs we’re talking about are massive. That’s been not only true of the core books, but also Tasha’s Cauldron. It’s what we call a high-end problem."
 

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The issue with the price increase is that it is not consistent on the whole ttrpg and/or boardgame market. Only a handful of companies, WotC included, have had a major raise of price.
Can I pay for that price increase ? Maybe. But I may also wonder why other smaller companies have not increased their prices while Hasbro-owned WotC has.
For another game I certainly would have first bought the pdf and checked if it was worth having the physical product but since WotC pushes DnDBeyond I will have to wait for some time before being able to get that version of 5e since I have no use for that specific digital format.
Erik Mona from Paizo has definitely said printing cost increases have been a challenge and their books have been increasing in cost.

Kobold Press seems to have settled at $59 for their books looking at their Kickstarter and preorders on their site. If I read it right, you get a PDF included at that price for backing the Kickstarter but that seems to be a Kickstarter bonus since the 2023 Tome of Beasts preorder on their site is hardcover book only for $59. Others are definitely raising their prices.
 

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Hussar

Legend
As the owner of a small business I know why I haven’t been able to change my prices in twenty years.

Fear.

As a small business, if I increase my prices I will likely lose customers. And because I have so few customers, any loss would hurt me more than I would gain by the price increase.

So I can’t raise prices.
 

dbolack

Adventurer
Can I pay for that price increase ? Maybe. But I may also wonder why other smaller companies have not increased their prices while Hasbro-owned WotC has.

This isn't an exhaustive list, but these are some of the reasons:

  • A new print run has not been quoted. Small Press doesn't move nearly the volume nearly as fast as WotC. This is probably the cause in most cases.
  • Many publishers are afraid to update prices on reprints even if costs have gone up dramatically.
  • Publishers and Shop owners are incredibly superstitious about price tolerance with customers on books. When I was still in publishing it was a HUGE battle in the GPA amongst folks that we needed to stop charging sub $20 when the cost per page, etc placed books closer to 30. Publishers were constantly trying to compare the SKU price of their 1000-unit Whitehall run to WW's 10K Quebecor books. This is what Snarf spoke about. PoD wasn't even a factor until after that damn broke and was still too finicky a process for most for quite a while.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Edition warring, you say? Something like... claiming a single book out-prints an entire edition?

I think we're finally getting somewhere.

Might be plausible. Some of those 1E supplements outsold some editions of D&D and are comparable to numbers I've seen for 3.5.

5E most likely has outsold 1E so it's most popular supplements is plausible they've outsold 3.5/4E and OD&D.
 


Plageman

Explorer
Prices have risen across the RPG industry but the production value has also taken a huge step up from the early 2000s. The more recent issue is (for some of us anyway) that the inflation has run faster than the household income. I can certainly bear a price increase on gaming products like RPG, but it comes after huge price increase on natural gas, oil, food.

Again I get it that they have to keep a proper margin on the sales and that they don't want sell their books at a loss, but its complicated to hear WotC talk bout a brand being under monetized, having high profits, and crying about needing to raise prices.

Again I'm curious about the WotC refresh, I'm just wondering how that price increase in the context of the 5e variants market existing now will impact their profitability. I'm pretty sure it will just be a niche debate too, as the mainstream audience will flock to D&D as it is a more recognized brand than Paizo's PF2 or Kobold's ToV anyway.
 

Important to remember here that you're not paying $3 or 55 cents an hour, or a day, or a week. You're paying the full price ($60 or $80 or $100) right now. No one buys RPG books on the installment plan. You have to be willing to pay the entire cost all at once, and hope that you spend enough time with the purchase for it to be worth it.
True, but that is the case of many things. My basement is littered with kitchen appliances that ultimately didn’t get used enough to justify their cost. And they are a lot more expensive than a book.
 

Important to remember here that you're not paying $3 or 55 cents an hour, or a day, or a week. You're paying the full price ($60 or $80 or $100) right now. No one buys RPG books on the installment plan. You have to be willing to pay the entire cost all at once, and hope that you spend enough time with the purchase for it to be worth it.
Just about every purchase anyone makes works like this. Not following your logic. If I am making a purchase where the entire outlay is more than I am comfortable with spending in one shot (or if it's something I'm buying in installments and the monthly/weekly/whatever cost is more than I am comfortable with spending), I either make do without it or plan ahead and save until I can afford it. Just seems like basic personal finance management to me, something that all people everywhere deal with as part of any purchase they make.
 

Prices have risen across the RPG industry but the production value has also taken a huge step up from the early 2000s. The more recent issue is (for some of us anyway) that the inflation has run faster than the household income. I can certainly bear a price increase on gaming products like RPG, but it comes after huge price increase on natural gas, oil, food.

Again I get it that they have to keep a proper margin on the sales and that they don't want sell their books at a loss, but its complicated to hear WotC talk bout a brand being under monetized, having high profits, and crying about needing to raise prices.

Again I'm curious about the WotC refresh, I'm just wondering how that price increase in the context of the 5e variants market existing now will impact their profitability. I'm pretty sure it will just be a niche debate too, as the mainstream audience will flock to D&D as it is a more recognized brand than Paizo's PF2 or Kobold's ToV anyway.
The issue of monetization wasn't so much how much margin should WotC make on a book and more about them failing to find ways to get the D&D brand generating income in different areas, which when the statement was made was absolutely fair. Since then, we've seen a lot more licensed products taking advantage of the movie. Even then, the brand is still probably under-monetized compared to other successful brands that generate revenue from a wider range of products and licensing deals. They've definitely made progress on that goal though.
 


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