A full year worth of sales...

edited January 2007 in Story Games
So, hopefully this is helpful. I thought I would post a full sales report relevant to the titles discussed here, then throw out some comparisons. I haven't had a chance to mine the data too hard, but that will come with time (I hope.)

A few things I should note before giving the numbers:

- We pushed story games pretty heavily at in-store MiniCons, through our email list, and local regional cons.
- This may appear slightly differently than the list I posted previously...I forgot to filter our returns, and that may have inflated the numbers slightly.
- From numbers we have shared with other retail game stores, our over-all yearly sales are in the top 10-20%. That should give you the indicator that we are a high traffic, high volume location...thus may be an anomaly to a store that is small, and in the middle of nowhere.
- Well, maybe that's it. This is in no real order. I had to coble it together. More commentary to follow below

Breaking the Ice - 8
Burning Empires - 18
Burning Wheel Monster Burner - 13
Burning Wheel Revised - 24
Capes - 7
Carry - 2
Cold City - 3
Code of Unaris: 6
Conspiracy of Shadows: 4
Dead of Night - 12
Dictionary of Mu: 4
Dogs in the Vineyard - 37
Don't Rest your Head - 4
Drowning and Falling - 2
Fastlane - 2
Hero's banner - 6
Kwaidan: Tales of ghostly japan - 4
LACUNA: Blue City Girl - 3
Mechaton - 3
Mortal Coil: 22
Nine Worlds: 2
Polaris: 19
Prime Time Adventures 2e - 15
Push Vol. 1 - 6
Shab Al Hiri Roach - 8
Shock - 6
Sorcerer - 3
Sorcerer's Soul - 3
Spirit of the Century - 3
The Mountain Witch - 20
The Princes Kingdom - 8
The Shadow of Yesterday - 4
Under the Bed - 5
Universalis revised: 9
With Great Power - 8

That's roughly (and rounded) $6,200 retail worth of product.
That's roughly 13% of our total Role-playing sales
On a plus note, Role-playing was up ras a category roughly 24% from 2005.

Here are some more titles, and their performance. I chose some random titles that seemed to be decent sellers. No favoritism implied or implemented:

True 20 - 10
Moongoose Runequest - 7
D&D 3.5 Players Handbook 2 - 53
World of Darkness Core - 4
Shadowrun 4th edition - 12
Artesia - 7

Some final comments. I think the biggest issue I had all year with our attempts to help grow the story game community was lack of supply. I think a lot of this is going to change in 2007, but that was a major factor for me this past year. I went to a couple key regional conventions without some very core titles because there weren't any to be had. That said, going into this process I knew it was going to be the case.

Form factor was huge for the story game titles. They only take up 4 shelves on one bookcase, three shelves are somewhat front faced (we use the Demco acrylic racks that Williams Sonoma displays their cookbooks with). This results in me being able to stock more deeply than on some of the larger format harcovers, and optimize space.

That's about all I have time for. Congrats to everyone for some stellar sales, and here's to another great year!

Woo!

Ch
- EndGame

Comments

  • Thanks for the numbers, Chris, congratulations - that looks really good.

    Your comment on form factor is interesting to me, because I hear a lot of chatter about retailers disliking "non-standard" sizes, not being able to effectively merchandise them, and so forth. Any thoughts on this?

    Also - I'm curious how you merchandize The Roach, which ships with a packet of cards. Is that a pain in the ass, or are tricksy component games no problem for you?
  • Thanks for sharing these figures, Chris.

    yrs--
    --Ben
  • Thanks Chris. Go story games! We may not pay for the sports car, but we'll definitely chip in for gas.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarThanks for the numbers, Chris, congratulations - that looks really good.

    Your comment on form factor is interesting to me, because I hear a lot of chatter about retailers disliking "non-standard" sizes, not being able to effectively merchandise them, and so forth. Any thoughts on this?

    Also - I'm curious how you merchandize The Roach, which ships with a packet of cards. Is that a pain in the ass, or are tricksy component games no problem for you?
    Really, I want to congratulate the community for generating the interest in the first place. This is a whole lot of grass roots. You all have something to be proud of.

    As many of you know, I am pretty willing to get myself in trouble with others...and will probably do so when I answer your question on "non-standard sizes." As you can tell, I like the form factor. It draws a curious eye to those who haven't seen the books in the past. My choice of shelving also helps:

    Demco Zig-Zag Stands

    But I gotta be honest...many FLGS owners are just not paying attention.They know "standard" and want what's easy. They re going for an item to sell as a pass through. MANY don't even work the sales floor, or have any real idea what their base wants. If they were willing to explore a little deeper, I don't think statements like those you have received would be as prevalent.

    Finally, the Roach works great with the shelves above. I just tuck the card packs in there, and we are good to go.

    Thanks!

    Ch
    -EndGame
  • Chris, it's 13% of your sales and what percent of your stock?

  • edited January 2007
    Roughly 13% Our turns aren't as great for the simple reason that due to supply concerns. I do MUCH deeper on these titles than even D&D titles.
  • Out of additional randomness, I'll provide my listing of what - off of Chris' list - I purchased from EndGame in 2006. I don't consider myself the "typical customer", especially since I'm Chris' podcasting partner and rpg evangelist, but it may be useful:

    Burning Empires - 1
    Burning Wheel Monster Burner - 1
    Burning Wheel Revised - 1
    Capes - 1
    Cold City - 1
    Code of Unaris: 1
    Conspiracy of Shadows: 1
    Dictionary of Mu: 1
    Dogs in the Vineyard - 1
    Don't Rest your Head - 1
    Fastlane - 1
    Kwaidan: Tales of ghostly japan - 2
    Mechaton - 1
    Mortal Coil: 1
    Nine Worlds: 1
    Polaris: 1
    Prime Time Adventures 2e - 1
    Push Vol. 1 - 1
    Shab Al Hiri Roach - 1
    Shock - 1
    Spirit of the Century - 1
    The Mountain Witch - 1
    The Shadow of Yesterday - 1
    Universalis revised: 1
    With Great Power - 1

    I believe I'm a decreasing percentage of the EG sales and story game sales (which is actually good to see).

    Thanks!

    Brian
  • Thanks for the purchase, Brian. That's a lot of games!
  • Oh what the hell, here's what I purchased from from Chris' list at EndGame this year as well:

    Burning Sands: Jihad - 1
    Burning Wheel Monster Burner - 1
    Burning Wheel Revised - 1
    Dogs in the Vineyard - 1
    Hero's Banner - 1
    Kwaidan: Tales of ghostly japan - 1
    Mortal Coil: 1
    My Life with Master - 1
    Polaris: 1
    Prime Time Adventures 2e - 1
    Push Vol. 1 - 1
    Shab Al Hiri Roach - 1
    The Mountain Witch - 1
    The Princes' Kingdom - 1
    Universalis revised - 1

    I would consider myself to be a "power purchaser" (whatever that is). Just for reference, I didn't really travel to any cons this year so I tend to make about 80% of my purchases at the store with the other 20% usually online if it's something EG doesn't carry or if I get caught up in pre-ordering hype (thank you Luke Crane).

    I have to say that the $16-22 price point is pretty attractive to someone like me. I get something nice to read that doesn't take up much room on my overflowing bookshelves (another vote for the small form-factor) and I always have something new to turn my friends onto. Isn't that what gaming is all about?

    Chris B.
  • Thanks for posting that Chris - looks like Story Games I more than holding their own against more mainstream titles.

    Also interesting to see the figures for Dead of Night - that's quite a lot more than I was expecting! I'll have to compare that to the total we sold last year, but I'm willing to bet that your store represents a good 10% of our total sales in 06!
  • I ran a games store here in Portland for 5 years, and worked at another after that. I hear a lot of talk from retailers about how non-standard sized books are hard to display. Thats complete bullshit. I've never been in a retail game store that couldn't easily display whatever sized products they wanted. I think the Penn42 nailed it when he said the retailers want whats familiar and easy. No good retailer is going to have a problem displaying a good product, no matter what its shape and size. When retailers tell us they don't want to carry our books because of the size or shape what they are really saying is that the are comfortable with the way things are, and they don't want to try something new. Is it any wonder that customers are leaving these stores by the droves?

    Penn42 (sorry, I don't know your name), thanks for posting this info and for operating what sounds like a completely awsome store. I'm glad to know that retailers like you are out there.

    I did notice that you don't carry Panty Explosion (or at least don't list it). What do I need to do to get you to order my game?

    Jake Richmond
    www.atarashigames.com
    jake@atarashigames.com
  • Chris, some basic details, like do you sell online, which state are you in, how many cons you attend, etc.?

    And Jake, if you place your cursor over his username you get to see his name.
  • Posted By: Penn42

    Roughly 13% Our turns aren't as great for the simple reason that due to supply concerns. I do MUCH deeper on these titles than even D&D titles.

    Sorry, Chris, but I don't know some of these words in this context. What do "turns" and "deeper" mean here?

  • And Jake, if you place your cursor over his username you get to see his name.

    Good to know. thanks.
  • Posted By: Thunder_GodAnd Jake, if you place your cursor over his username you get to see his name.
    Do you know I've never realised that before! Very handy!
  • Chris,

    That's fantastic data. Thanks for posting it. Publishers being able to point retailers to hard data that indie games sell will be huge for us.

    Paul
  • Posted By: jake richmond

    I did notice that you don't carry Panty Explosion (or at least don't list it). What do I need to do to get you to order my game?

    Mainly I just need to not be a dumbass. I have forgotten to order it twice now on my last two IPR orders. I am hoping to get some through Key20 before my next MiniCon (where it's on the schedule) on 1/13. Thanks for the heads up! (and the nice comments.)

    Ch
    -EndGame
  • Posted By: Thunder_GodChris, some basic details, like do you sell online, which state are you in, how many cons you attend, etc.?
    We are in Oakland, Ca. If you were to look at a map of the San Francisco Bay Area, we would almost be right in the center of it all...and two blocks away from one of the central transfer stations for Bay Area Rapid Transit. We attend all three of the regional cons, and do a significant amount of marketing at each one. Aside from a few scattered titles, we are the only retail presence that significantly promotes Story Games at all three shows.

    We specifically do not sell online. We have a website as a marketing tool, and a community forum to help drive events. It's our desire to get people into the store, and engaged in the community here..so we avoid selling to people via an e-commerce site.

    Hope that helps.

    Ch
    -EndGame
  • Posted By: Joshua A.C. NewmanPosted By: Penn42
    Roughly 13% Our turns aren't as great for the simple reason that due to supply concerns. I do MUCH deeper on these titles than even D&D titles.

    Sorry, Chris, but I don't know some of these words in this context. What do "turns" and "deeper" mean here?

    That was easily one of my most excitingly poor posts ever...in terms of grammar. A"turn" is a retail term used to show average sales for an item or category. If you have $1,000 in inventory, and make $6,000 in the year for that category..that's 6 turns. That's a massive oversimplification, but is really the general idea. I mentioned above I had low turns, when I meant to say high. I go for about 4 turns per category, and get roughly 4-5 for my Story Game stock. That's darn good.

    By "deeper" I mean I stock multiple copies of titles I have confidence in. I was able to sell 37 copies of Dogs, because I would generally order 8-12 at a time. When I could get it, this insured I would have it to sell even when there were droughts in supply. It causes me to take an additional risk, and tie up some of my cash flow. Since turn around time on ordering can be slow, and I often have to go direct to the publishers I don't have much of a choice. As we speak I have about $1,600 (cost) on my shelves and $600 (cost) worth of books in transit. I also generally pay ahead instead of taking any kind of terms. This is one of the few categories I do that. It has managed to burn me a few times, and I have multiple copies of a few titles that have never performed. But that's the glamorous life of a retailer.

    Make sense?

    Ch
    -EndGame
  • I don't have much else to add to this thread except "Endgame rocks!!" :-)

    Yah, Chris' store is awesome. I don't want to move out of the Bay Area because of it! :-P
  • Posted By: Penn42I also generally pay ahead instead of taking any kind of terms. This is one of the few categories I do that. It has managed to burn me a few times, and I have multiple copies of a few titles that have never performed. But that's the glamorous life of a retailer.
    I'm curious why you pay ahead instead of taking any terms. Seems like you'd be giving away some interest on money in the bank. Care to elaborate on why you don't take terms? Does it gain you extra discounts?

    Also, on the poor performing titles, how often do you mark them down?
  • Actually, IPR has really crappy terms compared to what retailers are used to. Chris is assuming some of this risk because of IPR's business model, which is publisher-centric. I don't offer terms (although I would be willing to with a couple of retailers now--Chris being one of them) in order to protect the publishers' cash flow. This moves the risk down to the retailer like Chris, who has very kindly assumed it, but it seems like it's paid off for him.
  • I know that I let IPR's stock of SOTC lapse briefly in late December, which would account for at least a small portion of the supply difficulties Chris is talking about, I think. For that, my apologies, but I think we've got the problem licked from here on out.

    Great information. I'm proud to see Evil Hat's games carried at EndGame.
  • You're not alone, Fred. Several other titles have been out of stock off and on in the last year.
  • Chris: Role-playing as a category was *up* 24% versus 2005? I thought the hobby was in the process of dying out, at least in terms of sales. (Creatively, I sometimes think its too healthy. I can't keep up with all the cool stuff.) Do you attribute the spike to better product in 2006, or is it more due to 2005 being a crap year?
  • Posted By: Brennan Taylor
    You're not alone, Fred. Several other titles have been out of stock off and on in the last year.

    Tell me about it.

    Chris, Shock: is back in stock, if you're out and need more.

  • Posted By: ConnwulfChris: Role-playing as a category was *up* 24% versus 2005? I thought the hobby was in the process of dying out, at least in terms of sales. (Creatively, I sometimes think its too healthy. I can't keep up with all the cool stuff.) Do you attribute the spike to better product in 2006, or is it more due to 2005 being a crap year?
    Before I answer, I would like to know who you are hearing that from, and in what context. I have a reason...so I am not just "baiting you."

    :)
  • Comics & Games Retailer surveyed some stores and reported in early 2006 in their "State of the Gaming Industry" report that there'd been a 45% drop in RPG sales in 2005. I suspect the opinions held by most gamers on the state of RPG retailing are based on this report, and on personal experience with store closures and/or stores discontinuing carrying RPGs.

    Paul
  • Awesome Paul,

    That's really what I wanted to hear. That report has driven me nuts since I read it. There a few very key things that weren't quantified in that report. (I should note that I spent a bunch of time working in Silicon Valley working in high tech marketing. I spent a lot of time on customer retention and focus groups. Data like this generally drives me crazy, but I digress)

    1) Comics and Games retailer draws it data from Full Line game stores AND stores that focus on Comics with a game section. When categorizing themselves through Diamond, comic stores with a game section will co-categorize themselves in both "Games" and "Comics." When one of these stores folds, boom...we lost another "game store." Y'all probably know how volatile the comics market can be, and it isn't that hard for a hobbyist to open, and fold. I am clear there were many full line game stores that went down in 2005, but I don't think the numbers speak accurately in that topic.

    2) 2004 marked the 30th Anniversary of D&D. The marketing dollars WoTC put into this event were significant, and managed to garner a lot of national news. Some of the products they came out with to coincide with this were very strong. National D&D day to celebrate that anniversary hasn't been paralleled yet. For those comic stores (and game stores) whose speciality isn't RPGs rode some signifcant sales numbers off of this event. Not just on that day, but throughout the year, as we built up to Nationwide D&D day in October 2004. So, if you get this free boost to sales without doing _any_ work at all to make them...of course your numbers are going to slide the next year.

    3) Many, MANY stores don't have the foresight to pay attention to the RPG market. We come from an "industry" of hobbyists. If the dude behind the counter of your FLGS (or comic book store) is wearing a stained t-shirt, a pair of sweat pants, and reading an Iron Man comic, he is happy to have you there, but may not have a clue it is what your hobby is all about. He is just looking to make an easy pass-through sale. The most work they do is to take the book out of the box, and put it on the shelf. It is probably there because their Diamond/Alliance rep suggested they bring it in. When that's all the effort you are making, your sales are going to slide...cause

    4) of competition. D&D day generated a lot of notice for the hobby, and a lot of those sales went online. We know we are competing with Amazon, and we see it every day. We combat it by holding in-store events, and have a base of loyal customers who feel the store is more important than the discount. I am not really interested in a long debate on the merits of getting stuff cheap, I am just saying I am aware of it, and so are my customers. They chose to shop here because of the value add we try and provide. If you are just passing through product...not much reason to buy anywhere but Amazon.

    I cold rant on, but I think that about covers it. We were up, have been up...and so were many other game stores. I think the reports and feeling of doom were an over reaction to skewed/not well defined data. Please keep in mind, I know that some WERE down, I am not arguing that...but I think the reasons are more important than that fact alone.

    Ch
    -EndGame
  • Well said, Chris. I work in marketing, too, and the laziness in most statistical reporting is just awful. It's easy to point at a report as some kind of gospel, but the methods used and data gathered are critical to how truly valid it is.

    Thanks for sharing some details.
  • Can I toss a lob or what?

    Chris, do you by chance know Brian Hibbs? Or have you read Tilting at Windmills?

    Paul
  • Posted By: Paul CzegeCan I toss a lob or what?

    Chris, do you by chance know Brian Hibbs? Or have you readTilting at Windmills?

    Paul
    We have met in passing, and I very much enjoy his store. ;)

    Something I haven't mentioned before...here or my Podcasts. There is pretty much one individual who is responsible for my personal evangelism, and EndGame's limited involvement in this community: Mike Sugarbaker. He was the one who first introduced me to IPR, and the community as a whole. So, thanks Big Mike...it's made a huge difference for me in a bunch of very meaningful ways.

    Ch
    -EndGame
  • A question for Chris: Your sampling of non-indie RPGs included the D&D 3.5 Players Handbook 2. I mistook that at first for the main Players Handbook -- but you meant PH2, right? Just for comparison, how many did you sell of the main D&D 3.5 Players Handbook (which seems like a better benchmark against other core rulebooks)?
  • Posted By: Paul CzegeComics & Games Retailer surveyed some stores and reported in early 2006 in their "State of the Gaming Industry" report that there'd been a 45% drop in RPG sales in 2005. I suspect the opinions held by most gamers on the state of RPG retailing are based on this report, and on personal experience with store closures and/or stores discontinuing carrying RPGs.
    Posted By: Penn42That's really what I wanted to hear. That report has driven me nuts since I read it. There a few very key things that weren't quantified in that report.
    Oh, one more question. How did RPGs as a category in 2005 compare to 2004? Because I just note that the Comics & Games Retailers report was saying that 2005 was a sharp drop overall from 2004. So you're not quite comparing the same numbers. (C&GR is talking about 2004 to 2005, while you're reporting on 2005 to 2006.)
  • Posted By: jhkimPosted By: Paul CzegeComics & Games Retailer surveyed some stores and reported in early 2006 in their "State of the Gaming Industry" report that there'd been a 45% drop in RPG sales in 2005. I suspect the opinions held by most gamers on the state of RPG retailing are based on this report, and on personal experience with store closures and/or stores discontinuing carrying RPGs.
    Posted By: Penn42That's really what I wanted to hear. That report has driven me nuts since I read it. There a few very key things that weren't quantified in that report.
    Oh, one more question. How did RPGs as a category in 2005 compare to 2004? Because I just note that the Comics & Games Retailers report was saying that 2005 was a sharp drop overall from 2004. So you're not quite comparing the same numbers. (C&GR is talking about 2004 to 2005, while you're reporting on 2005 to 2006.)

    2004 was up, and 2005 was up and 2006 was up.

    I will have to try and remember to look into PHB when I am at the store.
  • Awesome, Chris. Thank you!
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