Early 4e sales?

96 posts / 0 new
Last post
Publishers can and will levy hefty fines on big chain stores for breaking street date. On the employee level big chain stores can and will fire members of their inventory teams when that happens.

The rumor was that breaking street date for Harry Potter 7 brought a fine of $100,000 per book sold. (Even opening the boxes before a prescribed "you can let the press inside" time would result in a stiff penalty). I didn't bother to test that.

I doubt breaking date on the Monster Manual is that extreme, but I'm not risking it.
Famous campaign setting: www.sigilprep.com Unfamous web comic: www.department34.com
The rumor was that breaking street date for Harry Potter 7 brought a fine of $100,000 per book sold. (Even opening the boxes before a prescribed "you can let the press inside" time would result in a stiff penalty). I didn't bother to test that.

I doubt breaking date on the Monster Manual is that extreme, but I'm not risking it.

I can verify that yes, there was a penalty. I work as part of the inventory team for a major chain bookstore. Our boxes of those books even came labeled as big sale promotion to be started the day after the Harry Potter release. Only a few of us and one or two management staff of individual stores knew what was actually in the boxes, so that employees wouldnt be tempted to tamper with the boxes. As far as store employees knew the books were going to arrive at the store the night of the release event.
I can verify that yes, there was a penalty. I work as part of the inventory team for a major chain bookstore. Our boxes of those books even came labeled as big sale promotion to be started the day after the Harry Potter release. Only a few of us and one or two management staff of individual stores knew what was actually in the boxes, so that employees wouldnt be tempted to tamper with the boxes. As far as store employees knew the books were going to arrive at the store the night of the release event.

Oh, I knew there was a penalty. What I referred to as "rumor" was the extremity of the penalty (I don't doubt it's possibility, just that I heard the figure second hand, not from Scholastic). I'm the assistant manager (and street date gestapo) of a major chain bookstore.

I will say that we haven't even received the 4e books yet. (racka-frackin' mumble, mumble)
Famous campaign setting: www.sigilprep.com Unfamous web comic: www.department34.com
Oh, I knew there was a penalty. What I referred to as "rumor" was the extremity of the penalty (I don't doubt it's possibility, just that I heard the figure second hand, not from Scholastic). I'm the assistant manager (and street date gestapo) of a major chain bookstore.

I will say that we haven't even received the 4e books yet. (racka-frackin' mumble, mumble)

Ah yeah. Sorry. It seems like a lot of the people around here dont believe there are those sorts of penalties. Lots of 'Book stores just break street dates willy nilly' comments.

I think we got our 4e books today. They updated from in transit to on hand. Most RPG stuff isnt street dated with the exception of a lot of WotC stuff, but in the last few months even WotC stuff hasnt been. We got our pallets just before I left for the day so I dont know if it came street dated or not. I guess Ill find out tomorrow.

Im one of those that even if it comes without a street date I wont buy it until the date that Im aware of (ie, if they dont have a street date the store will sell them but I wont buy them until the 6th).
I will say that we haven't even received the 4e books yet. (racka-frackin' mumble, mumble)

And this is the real reason for street dates. It allows the distributer to get the books out to ever store that ordered it by the set date. And is done because in this day of the internet and over night shipping it is feasable to cancel orders from one place and overnight an order from across the country.

Back in the 70's and 80's when I would hang out at a local chain store, I knew the schedule of what publisher typically shipped what week and would actually go to the stock room to check new arrivals. You can't do that anymore of course but that was fun and I would often get a stack of new books from the stock clerk that I then went and bought. Street date was not even a concept back then. But the internet facilitating communication so everyone knows that Joes Quickie Game Store has the latest new game today and UPS can get it to me tomorrow changed all that.
Publishers can and will levy hefty fines on big chain stores for breaking street date. On the employee level big chain stores can and will fire members of their inventory teams when that happens.

Book publishers maybe, but have you got any examples of an RPG company doing it?
Book publishers maybe, but have you got any examples of an RPG company doing it?

Outside of WotC RPGs virtually never have street dates attached to their books, so no I dont. Even WotC products in the last half year or so havent been arriving with street dates attached.
Outside of WotC RPGs virtually never have street dates attached to their books, so no I dont. Even WotC products in the last half year or so havent been arriving with street dates attached.

So you response to my original post seems a bit pointless then.
So you response to my original post seems a bit pointless then.

It probably wouldnt work the way you posted it anyhow. It would go more like WotC makes $10,000 off Borders (not likely, chain stores view RPGs as very niche products, because they are. People tend to buy RPG books at hobby shops or online. Our store has even discussed losing the gaming books section all together a few times in the last 2 years. Depending on whether or not theres an FLGS in the area, and the demographic of the area its likely the FLGS is making more money for WotC than Borders is), then WotC fines the snot out of Borders. They can choose to stop working with Borders, yes, but probably wont. They probably wont with a smaller FLGS either.
So there is a lot of talk about Amazon shipping to make the release dates, but does anyone have experience with Barnes and Noble?
Do they ship on the date or before to make the date

Thanks

I too have been feeling the guilt of online buying, I am considering skipping my FLGS release party due to my act of disloyalty. I will make it up by buying a battle map and future supplements through it though
They can choose to stop working with Borders, yes, but probably wont. They probably wont with a smaller FLGS either.

That scenario was in response to Propane asking if WotC would do it.

then WotC fines the snot out of Borders.

If WotC actually does this, hallelujah. However given they've never done it before (and I seriously doubt this is the first time Borders has sold books early), I'm not holding my breath.
For a lot of the Big chains, their intrest isn't just in getting your sale, it's making sure that the little guy doesn't get the sale

When the new Harry Potter book cane out, one of the big british supermarkets sold it as a "Loss leader" for less than it cost them to buy it from their supplier

this gave them two advantages - firstly, while there, a customer might buy something else. secondly, a small shop, that just can't swallow a big loss, might be relying on that trade, and so, when the NEXT big book comes out, the supermarket has one less competetor

plus, as was posted on another thread, in the relationship between Wizards and (say) amazon, wizards represents a teeny-weeny little part of Amazon's trade, whereas Amazon will represent a significant chunk of Wizard's trade. Wizards will have to be carefull they don't draw the wrong kind of attention

Finally, there have been street-date-breaches of Wizards products in the past that have not been significantly enforced - for precisley the reason given above. I've known retailers who have contacted Wizards when breaches have occured, and the exact explanation about power I gave was given
If WotC actually does this, hallelujah. However given they've never done it before (and I seriously doubt this is the first time Borders has sold books early), I'm not holding my breath.

Again, if there are no street dates marked on the boxes when the stores receive them the stores are completely within their rights to sell the product. Its up to WotC to post those street dates. Since January of this year not one box of WotC product has come through the store I work at with a listed street date. Thats not the stores fault, its WotCs. If they didnt label the boxes with a street date and try to fine a store like Borders or B&N for putting it on shelves when it arrived, its a legal battle they will lose.

It is not just my individual stores policy, but company wide policy that boxes that arrive with a street date are not even opened until that date. It doesnt matter if they come from a local press or Del Rey books, they do not get opened.

I dont know that the policy is the same for every major book store chain but I do know it is for the one I work for and at least one other.
Though I can't vouch for WotC punishing people on breaking street dates, I was actually given a warning for doing so when I worked for Borders as a keyholder. I bought a copy of "Sharn: City of Towers" a few days before it was offically released and got a call the next day from loss prevention about it. Granted, I haven't worked for Borders in about two years, but they might be watching the 4e release, given the amount of pre-orders it seems to be garnering.
Another factor of early ship dates is that most companies outsource the printing to contracted printer companies. Sometimes.. they goof up and send the books to the warehouseing companies (like amazon and buy.com) early or, as noted earlier, they forget to include the little street date tag for some reason.. and they probably aren't even aware of it happening.

Case in point.. I've gotten Two of my Changeling the lost supllement books early from ordering this way.. because one of the printing companies sent a bunch of the books out.. and without a street date.. the company selling the book marks it as "available to sell" and ships it or shelves it.
From what I have been reading on Enworld, at least Buy.com has already sent out the books and people have received them already. here's the link:

http://www.enworld.org/forumdisplay.php?f=317

Why can't WotC make these people pay attention to release dates?
Someone pointed out to me on an Amazon forum thread that Walmart was taking pre-orders for cheaper, like $55 for the set. They charged me tax and shipping and it was still a tiny bit cheaper than Amazon so I cancelled my Amazon order and am trying Walmart now.

As to street dates I used to work for a little music/movie chain and if the company sets a street date it is a hard or soft date, a hard date fines early sales (although if you as the retailer can prove that it is on sale at a competitor you are allowed to break street early to compete) but a soft date just means that when you get the product, you can put it out. Most books (except the Harry Potter releases) were soft in our world, so if the books actually show up on the 5th, I wonder if they will go on sale. It does not matter if there is a warning on the box or not if the vendor and the company have agreed to a date, as an inventory manager you try your best to watch communicated dates and stick to them.

Also, I bet your LFGS might take cash sales as soon as they get the book and then ring those cash sales in after the 6th. I would if I owned one. I would call my pre-orders and sell from "behind the counter" only to pre-orders before the 6th, so that no product would be on display and no computer evidence would exist to prove the sale. But my store would have to be small and informal, I wouldn't try it if I was larger.
although if you as the retailer can prove that it is on sale at a competitor you are allowed to break street early to compete

If this is true I'm suprised that all stores aren't selling 4e right now - since it has clearly been released early by at least one company, possibly others.

If piracy counts as a 'competitor' then there's no point having a date on anything anymore.
Playing Scales of War

Rogue.jpg

One location I worked was in Detroit, with hard street dates in place for all music releases but with every privately owned place around me selling whatever they could whenever they got it. All I had to do was send an employee over and buy a copy, return it to my store, and forward the receipt that was clearly labeled and dated from the offending store. Did it practically every week for a year.

Hopefully everyone starts selling immediately. I think they'd be within their rights if they did (although on such a large scale we probably won't be so lucky).
From what I have been reading on Enworld, at least Buy.com has already sent out the books and people have received them already. here's the link:

http://www.enworld.org/forumdisplay.php?f=317

Why can't WotC make these people pay attention to release dates?

Maybe because they're not Random House with Tom Clancy as an author?

I just wish they'd sent my PHB first, that's where I want to start reading!

Gerry
you know, I saw that the 4e core books are appearing for piracy, when that would happen for an album we would get an email for (usually a hip-hop cd) saying PUT IT ON THE SHELF ASAP AND CALL YOUR RESERVATION CUSTOMERS!!!!! Perhaps WotC is moving against piracy and dropped the street date, so all of our stuff will be here soon. I know Amazon charges when it ships, this would be a fantastic way to guard against last second order cancellations.

I think there's actually a chance of early release here.
So there is a lot of talk about Amazon shipping to make the release dates, but does anyone have experience with Barnes and Noble?
Do they ship on the date or before to make the date

Thanks

Seconding this question, 'cause it'd just be even more painful to hafta wait for my books...

EDIT: To clarify, I'm actually ordering from Amazon, it's just that I'd like to know if it'll be shipped to get here by release. If so, I'm just going to go with the Super Saver Shippin', 'cause hell, it's ten days away at this point and waiting an extra day at worst wouldn't bother me much. Otherwise, I'm going to order some rapid delivery...
B&N ships around the time they say they'll ship--sometimes earlier, rarely later. The delivery service used (USPS, Fed Ex, UPS, etc.) is another story.
I spoke to the local store where I ordered my books. They haven't received them yet, but when they do they aren't releasing them early unless WotC releases retailers from the street date. Since they are a small operation, being cut off from WotC would be bad for them. My guess is WotC doesn't care about "losing" sales from a few small stores (by cutting them off), as those customers will still buy their product elsewhere.

Moral of the story... the little local retailers have to play by the rules, the big boys don't.
I wonder if people didn't get informed that the original street date of May for the PHB was changed to all books being released in June which could cause early release of books to make sure they arrived in May? Then add the holiday weekend, they were shipped a little even extra early to make sure that they did arrived during May to prevent customers calling June 1 and asking where their product was that was pre-ordered when people can just as easily buy it from a local retailer.....
Again, if there are no street dates marked on the boxes when the stores receive them the stores are completely within their rights to sell the product. Its up to WotC to post those street dates. Since January of this year not one box of WotC product has come through the store I work at with a listed street date. Thats not the stores fault, its WotCs. If they didnt label the boxes with a street date and try to fine a store like Borders or B&N for putting it on shelves when it arrived, its a legal battle they will lose.

It is not just my individual stores policy, but company wide policy that boxes that arrive with a street date are not even opened until that date. It doesnt matter if they come from a local press or Del Rey books, they do not get opened.

I dont know that the policy is the same for every major book store chain but I do know it is for the one I work for and at least one other.

Then clearly the fault lies with FLGS's for not releasing books that don't have a street date.
Buy.com has released them and wizardmon and several over at ENworld have them. I hope that Wizards drops the release date now so everybody has a fair chance to compete


(Plus I really really want my books:angelhide)
My FLGS confirmed with me today that I could pick my books up on the 4th. Doesn't sound like everyone is following the rules.
Then clearly the fault lies with FLGS's for not releasing books that don't have a street date.

Im inclined to believe its WotCs fault for not including street dates. If it were a store like B&N or Borders I would suggest its possibly an error on the distributer level, but places like Amazon.com and Buy.com dont use distribution companies (one of the reasons theyre able to offer stuff at such low prices). Of course without being in their warehouse I couldnt be 100% sure. Its possible they just broke street date.

If the FLGS gets product without a street date, then yes, theyre within their rights to sell it as soon as they get it. I know my store wont be selling the books until the 6th. We DID have a street date attached to them and even if WotC decides to push the date forward we are obligated to wait until the date listed on the boxes (its happened before, a publisher pushed their street date forward a week but our store, our entire company, would not sell the books before the original street date).
From what I read in another thread (hey that rhymes), the three core books were leaked via the internet. They were printer copies of the books in OEF/OCR PDF format. Wizards has already been notified, the links have been removed, the offenders were dealt with, and the leaker was probably fired. But unfortunately the damage the has been done, the books were probably already been downloaded 10s to 1000s of times before it was caught. Which means it's going to be pretty much impossible for Wizards to stop the distribution of the books. Not that I condone piracy in any form. Not that I ever play 4th edition, or 3rd edition.
I used to work at a FLGS (probably a year since I left). But I remember a goodly number of WoTC products coming with a hard street date. This date was not always stamped on the box, but was included within the invoice report, as well as an email from the distributor. If the 6th is, in fact, a hard date then anyone who releases the books early because "there was no date on the box" is using a bull excuse. The release date (again, provided that it is, indeed, a hard date) appears in more places than just the box.

We also had a dedicated WoTC rep in town that would also pass the information along about release dates and such. We were lucky like that. :D
I used to work at a FLGS (probably a year since I left). But I remember a goodly number of WoTC products coming with a hard street date. This date was not always stamped on the box, but was included within the invoice report, as well as an email from the distributor. If the 6th is, in fact, a hard date then anyone who releases the books early because "there was no date on the box" is using a bull excuse. The release date (again, provided that it is, indeed, a hard date) appears in more places than just the box.

We also had a dedicated WoTC rep in town that would also pass the information along about release dates and such. We were lucky like that. :D

That used to be the case for us. Since January however nothing has come with a hard street date from WotC. Our shipment of 4e books is the first thing in almost 6 months that has.
Wierd. I wonder why the shift? Has it been the same with Magic too? Cause that was always the really strict one.
Wierd. I wonder why the shift? Has it been the same with Magic too? Cause that was always the really strict one.

Yeah, Magic, minis (both D&D and Star Wars), source books, novels, everything. I have no idea why the change, but its not just the bulk stuff. Single orders as well. Two copies of Ascendancy of the Last showed up yesterday without a street date. That book is supposed to release on the 6th. The 4e core books DO have one, but theyre the first WotC product since January that have.
I got a message from a buddy last night that stated that his preorder with Amazon dropped in price as well. Amazon, at least, has brought it down to about $20 a book with what he was saying.
I got handed pdfs of all 3 by my well-meaning father, but I'm definitely buying hardcopy versions as soon as possible after street date.
I will also be acquiring my copy from my local FLGS, and not until the release date. I asked if they would be releasing early and was not told they would be doing so. I fully intended to order from them and regardless I will still do so.

However, it was not hard to find high quality alternatives to read now while I wait.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

I got a message from a buddy last night that stated that his preorder with Amazon dropped in price as well. Amazon, at least, has brought it down to about $20 a book with what he was saying.

Looks like that is indeed the case. 45% off now for the boxed set. $57.72 with free shipping.
Indivisually they are $23 and change each still...

I too have already begun reading the copies available. Still have the boxed set and two additional Player's Handbooks on preorder though. Not going to change that just because I got a sneak peak.
you payed $68? I only payed $54.75 :D YAY FOR B&N 25% OFF COUPONS!!!

Heheh - after pre-order discount, coupons, and other member rewards...

Core Set of 3 books for $8.82

Of course I won't actually get them until June 10th, but meh.
I am a member of Amazon Prime which allows me to get 1 day shipping on any item for $3.99. My Keep on the Shadowfell arrived one day earlier than expected and it was shipped 1-day as well, so I'm hoping that means that my books will arrive on Friday (meaning shipped Thursday) instead of Monday.

Time will tell. Sooner or later ... Time will tell.

I'm in the exact same boat, hoping for the exact same thing. I *SO* want those books on Friday, not Monday.
Sign In to post comments