Sunday, January 13, 2013

Periodical vs. Evergreen

I had a discussion with two employees of the store today on periodicals versus evergreen or catalog titles and the relative importance of each.  The store relies on catalog titles.  Catalog titles are products such as Warhammer 40,000, Pathfinder RPG and Settlers of Catan (At one time, D&D would have replaced Pathfinder on that list but it sells nowise as well as it did 4-5 years ago).  Catan came out in 1995 and is still our best selling boardgame, with several dozen copies sold last year.  Pathfinder came out in 2009 and we still sell an average of one copy a week of the core rulebook.  The first edition of Warhammer 40,000 released in 1987, 6th edition released this year and still sells.  We restock all evergreen titles on a regular basis.

Periodicals, however, have a shorter shelf life.  White Dwarf, Games Workshop's magazine for its Warhammer games comes out every month.  We pull off a copy for the one customer that gets it regularly, the rest go out on the shelf.  Once they sell out, that is it. We do not restock them, except for special issues or a special order for a customer.  Comic books are treated this way as well.  The general rule of thumb for the comic industry is that if comics do not sell within 3 days after arrival, there is only a 25% chance they will.  Comics have a very short shelf life.

RPG modules have, unfortunately, moved into the periodical area as well.  In the 80s and 90s, we would restock modules regularly as they sold out.  Now, however, module production has increased so much and sales have dropped a commensurate amount that it is rarely worthwhile to re-order a module once it sells, unless for a special order.  Instead, we look for what is new next month and make our orders from that.