Saturday, December 29, 2012

Decline of Print RPG Sales



.  In the store, we have seen printed RPG sales fluctuating betwixt 5 and 10% of total store sales.   We have seen three overarching trends:
1.         
       Concentration of sales among the top selling RPG lines.  About three lines account for 80% of total RPG sales.  Everything else in the RPG category accounts for the other 20% (It’s the 80/20 rule in action again).
2.      
       Lack of interest by customers in venturing outside their comfort zone.  There are very few “Igors” (cue Dork Tower reference) who are willing to try a brand new RPG just because it pops up on the new release shelf.  Most stick with the tried and true, going for the new Pathfinder, Dark Heresy, or, much less than in days of yore, Dungeons & Dragons, though how much of this is due to dissatisfaction with the current system and how much is due to not wanting to buy new books with D&D Next looming on the horizon, I can’t say.
3.        
      Huge decline in sales of used RPGs.  Pre-eBay and PDF, sales of used RPGs accounted for a huge amount of our RPG sales.  In fact, we didn’t even want to deal in used RPGs when we started out.  Our customers kept bringing in stuff they wanted to get rid of and, at the time, the markup and turnover on them was huge.  Today, markup is still huge, but turnover is a fraction of what it used to be as customers could satisfy the thrill of the hunt much more easily online and those who just wanted content could readily find PDF versions of almost everything out of print for free or very low cost, if they looked hard enough.