Saturday, April 26, 2008

Top Sellers

I usually strip out a lot of extraneous stuff when I make these lists. That "stuff" is often more revealing than a list of items. Lets look at one where I don't strip it out:

Top Sellers for April (the last 30 days)
  1. Friday Night Magic Fees. We're getting 15-20 people now for FNM, and events fees top the chart, at least before we give away a ton of cards as prize support (it's probably around #5 when you factor that in). Thus you hear me rant about the collectible model, rather than doing something about it.
  2. D&D Discount Books. Here's what happened: A small distributor who almost nobody in the industry has heard of, recently signed me up. A few weeks later they decided they were going to dump ALL their D&D 3.5 stock for next to nothing. Nobody else is doing this, by the way, as the game has life left in it. I bought up 4-6 copies of every book and we sold them at the Conquest convention and later in the store for $15/each or 3 for $30. Of the 100 or so books, there are about six left. And that is how I know exactly the residual demand for D&D 3.5.
  3. Used Games. This is more a category that tracks as an item, but there has been a resurgence in used games. I blame the economy. Customers trade down and sometimes it has unusual results. You know that gourmet food in grocery stores? Going nuts. People are trading down from restaurants to gourmet prepared foods. Used games are my gourmet prepared foods.
  4. Collectible Figures. The new D&D miniature set, Dungeons of Dread, doesn't make the list, but collectible figures from that set does. When we crack open boxes and sell singles, it pushes down the numbers for that item and pushes up this one. We've sold the majority of this release as singles. Same profit margin, different sales method. Everybody's happy.
  5. Event Fees (non-Magic). These represent the various mini events where you pay into a pool for prize support. We then give out free product as prizes, which tends to deflate the ranking of a game on lists like these. The new Bleach CCG release is in that category.
  6. Yu-Gi-Oh Gold Edition. This was like printing money. The interesting thing about this item is it was a hobby store exclusive. Remember those $300,000,000 market size numbers I posted from ICV2? Crap perhaps. However, you start to realize how big the market is when you strip out the mass market. Now if they could have stripped out the Internet, I could retire to the Bahamas. The truth about game stores is that they'll never be as profitable as they once were because of the ability of the mass market and the Internet to swoop in and steal the thunder, once small stores have done the leg work. Successful stores seem to do other things to make up for this.
  7. D&D 4th Edition Gift Sets. Pre-orders for the 4E gift set have topped 20 now and we've had to adjust our order. I like to think for every one of these, we'll sell 4 Player's Handbooks on the release week. The gift set is something only game masters will buy, although in many groups, different people wear that hat. The one overlooked product is Keep on the Shadowfell, due out 5/20. It should have had some better promotion as a quickstart product, being it's the first D&D 4 product. It's a missed opportunity.
  8. World of Warcraft CCG: Servants of the Betrayers. This is all about speculation. I bought a stupidly large amount of this on the advice of my distributor because Upper Deck under-printed, creating artificial demand. I ordered far more than our small player base could consume, and although the many unsold boxes scared me at first, I wasn't disappointed. Mystery customers have been arriving with large buckets of cash and buying up multiple boxes of this paper crack. I feel dirty. But the rent is paid.
  9. Magic the Gathering: 10th Edition Boosters. I'm going to attribute the sales of this vanilla set to the number of new and re-emerging Magic players. It's like comfort food to homesick card players. It's also rarely used as prize support, so it doesn't get pushed down the charts (due to messing with the margins).
  10. Individual Dice. We moved the dice. We switched them with the collectible cards, mostly because we needed to keep a closer eye on the card packs. The next step after putting the cards on the counter next to my chained up laptop is a special utility belt. Want a pack of 1oth edition? No problem, left hip. Actually it will be putting them in the black hole of the display case, a real sales killer (but much less theft). The retail lesson here is that moving things is often better than buying new things. Out of money? Can't buy new games? Try re-arranging the ones you have. I wonder if that works at home?


  1. "Out of money? Can't buy new games? Try re-arranging the ones you have. I wonder if that works at home?"

    It can if you have enough games at home :-P

    Well, it can if your goal is to have new games as opposed to making more money. Reorganizing here I'm always finding something "new" to read in terms of gaming. Either stuff that I haven't read since I moved to California, or stuff that I bought in California and never really took a close look at.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't serve to make new money, unless you find some games that you aren't interested in anymore and sell them someplace...

  2. Yes, like selling your used games at our quarterly auction in mid May.

  3. We need to figure out how to pump up attendance at the next auction. More attendance should equal higher prices on all the auctioned items and generate more excitement as people get caught up in the bidding.

  4. That would be nice. The other option is to have them less often. Endgame just had their *annual* auction with 75 attendees.

  5. Evidently Kublacon isn't having any flea markets on Saturday and Sunday (just Monday). That has people a bit disappointed.
    Perhaps a little guerrilla marketing could get them into BGG to spend their $ at the auction instead of waiting to not buy things at a flea market that won't be being held at Kubla.

  6. Should read BDG ,not BGG. Keyboard is sticking. AAAAAGH!