April 3, 2009

Players Handbook 2 on WSJ Top 15 Best Seller List

According to the Associated Press, The Players Handbook 2 reached #14 on the Wall Street Journals Top 15 Non-Fiction book sales list for the week it was released. I guess this is a success for WotC. Interestingly, the PHB1 ranked only slightly better the week it was released in 2008.

Who says nobody plays RPGs anymore ? ...


  1. I think that's great news, for the entire industry even.

  2. That's pretty badass. Glad to see 4e doing alright, and can't wait for Monster Manual 2 and Eberron.

  3. So much for the "4e hasn't been successful" argument. I'm pretty sure none of the 3e stuff ever hit the best-seller lists.

  4. Cool - now if I could only get my players to buy their own copies! ^_^"

  5. @Wickedmurph: That is where you would be wrong. This is from a Hasbro press release from December '01:

    -- Manufactured by Wizards of the Coast Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc., the
    third edition of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D(R)) Player's Handbook has appeared
    on several top publishing lists, including the New York Times best-seller list
    and USA Today's Best-Selling Books List. The Dungeons & Dragons Player's
    Handbook peaked at number three on Amazon.com's Yet-To-Be Published
    Best-Sellers list.

    -- The third editions of the core rulebooks (Player's Handbook, Dungeon
    Master's Guide, and Monster Manual) have together sold over 1,000,000 copies
    since August 2000.

    I think the 4e PHB peaked at 47 and the 3.5 PHB peaked at 57. Of course, book sales have been declining rapidly, so this doesn't say whether it has actually sold more than 3.5, just that is has sold more than other books during its time in the spotlight... which is pretty swell in its own right.

  6. Yeah, you might be spot on on that last comment, Mad Brew. What comparisons of 3e to 4e sales tells me is that the D&D market remains fairly steady even in the recession. It seems our growth rate about equals the rate of abandonment, for every new person coming in, one moves on (roughly, of course).

    I also don't think there is anything to be gained by trying to put the two editions in competition over sales. This is a good sign 4e is doing well which is great for the hobby as a whole. 3e did well, too, and is the edition that brought D&D into the new millennium.

  7. Here is a compilation from the USA Today Top 150:

    3.5 PHB - 2 weeks on list, peak at 57
    3.5 DMG - 1 week on list, peak at 92
    3.5 MM - 1 week on list, peak at 112
    3.5 Gift Set - does not figure on it

    3.5 Magic Item book was there for one week, peaking at 147
    3.5 PHB2, 1 week, peak at 128

    3.0 PHB - 3 weeks on list, peak at 45
    3.0 DMG - 2 weeks on list, peak at 58
    3.0 MM - 2 weeks on list, peak at 58
    Gift set doesn't figure on it, if there was one

    4e PHB - 4 weeks on list, peak at 47
    4e DMG - 1 week on list, peak at 128
    4e MM - 1 week on list, peak at 147
    4e Gift Set - 2 weeks on list, peak at 57
    AV was there one week, peaking at 109, FRPG was there 1 week, peaking at 129

  8. @CK : wow! nice work! (and welcome to TCM! first comment?) So, from what you've contributed it seems as though 4E is doing at least as well as other editions. RPG's are recession proof I guess. =D

  9. I know it's a technicality, but it cracks me up that it's on the non-fiction list.

  10. Good Morning America aired a piece last week about table top games making a comeback during the recession. They never mentioned once RPGs, maybe they don't think RPGs are "family" games.

  11. #14? That's pretty impressive.

    It seems that the 4e books are generally outselling the 3e and 3.5e ones, at least during their initial peaks. (The 4e gift set contains the three books, so if that were counted not as a unit but as a sale of each of the three separate books, 4e's numbers would be higher than 3.5's in every case, and at least comparable to 3's.)

    That doesn't say anything about sustained sales, of course. It could be that the 4e dropoff is much steeper than 3.5e's. But at least at this less-than-a-year-in point, yes, it's safe to say that "4e hasn't been successful" is pretty well disproven. If its future sales hold to 3.5e's course, then 4e will be more successful by a moderate margin.

    Assuming that holds true, though, it's still a question whether Wizards (or more likely Hasbro) will consider those kinds of numbers a success. It's entirely possible we could see a scaling-back or even a cancellation of 5e because 4e didn't improve enough on 3.5e's numbers.


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