Sales were very strong for the D&D 4 release. It wasn't our best sales day ever, but it was up there. In addition to the 40 box set pre-orders, we had a steady stream of customers, who didn't pre-order, buying sets and Player's Handbooks throughout the day. Some of these people we haven't seen before. A couple mentioned they were buying from us because Amazon couldn't ship until July. Many people were interested but cautious, content to buy a Player's Handbook but waiting to see if they wanted the other books. It was a pretty clear division, and we sold zero individual Dungeon Master's Guides and Monster Manual's. A nice surprise were the sales of the new 4E adventure, Keep on the Shadowfell, which we went deep on and still have many on the shelf. Other stores reported strong sales of dice, mats and accessories, but sales weren't appreciably larger than normal.
What has been surprising is the supply problem. Wizards of the Coast ran out of gift sets as they under-predicted demand. Baker & Taylor never did get me the other half of my order, promising the books sometime in June, so they never sent us Player's Handbooks or Monster Manuals. This is a company that shipped early and shorted my order, despite ordering 5 months in advance. I'm told WOTC had some words with them about their shipping times after I reported my early arrivals. Then again, a Forbes article reported that buy.com shipped about 100 copies rather than the 8 WOTC told me, so who knows what to believe.
My main Wizards of the Coast supplier ran out of books before the release date. My last minute dozen copies of PHB's, to make up for Baker & Taylor, was shorted to 9, the last of their supply, with no Wizards re-supply to them for at least a week. I think we'll be fine, but this is not how an evergreen product should be treated. I think this says something about these companies larger, overall view of the economy. Wizards under-printed. Distributors under-ordered. Pre-orders from retailers didn't guarantee supply. On the other hand, mainstream game distributors like ACD and Alliance were well prepared with plenty of books available.