Wednesday, May 28, 2008

4.0 Street Date Low Down

As the first store in the US to get in a D&D 4 order, I've had quite a few conversations with industry people today. As for us, our Baker & Taylor D&D order, planned as a backup, arrived today. It was a partial order, not enough to even fulfill pre-orders. Still, there was much industry curiosity about this order, which technically arrived about a week earlier than it was supposed to, with no reference anywhere to a street date. We'll be sitting on these books unless there's verified proof that local stores are breaking the street date. Then there will be some interesting discussions.

As for Internet orders, the only company confirmed to have shipped D&D 4 books is They shipped 8 copies before Wizards of the Coast came down on them. Still, eight copies was enough to catapult the gift set from #41 to #1 on their best sellers list, a 4,000% increase in one day. They're quite proud of their little maneuver. In any case, those who pre-order from them now will absolutely be kept to the June 6th street date, at least according to WOTC. They may even sell out, now that people think they're selling them early, in which case they might not get them until after the street date. Still, was slapped on the wrist and lightly too.

As for brick & mortar stores, I had what I thought was good evidence that both Borders and Barnes & Noble were selling early locally, but when I sent Michael out there, there were no books. Both WOTC and my primary distributor were very keen on learning more about these two. The strategy from WOTC's perspective is to plug holes in the dikes by tackling individual stores or sites that sell early. There's no widespread sales of the books as of yet, and WOTC claims there probably won't be. They've done a lot of work to make this an exception release for big stores. They're releasing the book off the usual Tuesday release schedule, which costs them more money but also allows them to have a more open dialog with the stores and big distributors like Random House. In fact, WOTC wanted me to pass on that street date violations from big book stores should be reported directly to Random House (800-726-0600).

As for electronic copies, torrents appeared early this morning. Am I worried about them? Not really. Of all D&D books published, the core books are the most essential at-the-table reference books. I can't imagine a regular player not shelling out the money for a paper book. What's disconcerting is that the copies are allegedly printers copies, meaning they were leaked from the printer, and not scanned in early by fans who somehow got copies.


  1. According to my sources, the PHB is definitely a printer's copy complete with color bars and alignment marks. The DMG and MM lack those distinguishing features, but are still high quality pdfs and not scans.

    Mind you, that doesn't necessarily mean that someone at the printer leaked the copies. The files would have come from WotC ready for printing. It could have been someone at WotC. Depending on how the files were delivered to the printer, other people could have had access to them as well.

    In fact, that the DMG and MM apparently don't have the printer's markings while the PHB does makes me think that it's more likely the leak or failure of security occurred on WotC's end. The printer's files should have all had the markings, unless they were altered after the leak.

  2. Did you obtain the secret books of 3?

  3. My electronic copies are the same.