Stocking Books Sells Books

Last month I asked my local game store to order me a copy of Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition. I had read Savage Worlds years ago and wasn't too interested in it, but with the relative popularity it still enjoys and the low price I figured I should give it a second chance.

On the 6th of March, I ordered it. On the 14th, I had a note from my FLGS saying that it was in. I finally got the chance to pick it up on the 29th.

My FLGS has a shelf behind the counter where they display the books and games that have been set aside for pre-orders. In the 15 days from the time he put that book on the shelf, he has taken 3 other orders for the exact same book, all from people who had no idea the book existed. The simple act of stocking one copy -- and it didn't even sit on the New Releases shelf -- exposed it to enough people that they sold 3 more copies.

A few thoughts about this:

  • If the book had been on the new releases shelf and I had walked in and picked it up, those sales might not have happened -- the customers that saw my pre-order copy may have never seen this fictional non pre-ordered copy.
  • The low price of Savage World Explorer's Edition probably factored into the good conversation rate: Who thinks twice about dropping $11 on a book?
  • Providing "display/reader" copies to game stores would be interesting ... but aside from Wizards of the Coast and perhaps White Wolf, I don't think any hobby publisher could afford to do so on a regular basis for a large amount of stores. I think there's probably a way to do it on a limited opt-in basis for the small [50-100] number of stores that would take advantage of such a promotion, but would that help grow sales in any appreciable way?

9 comments

  1. The crazy thing to me is that SW Explorer’s Edition is only $10 for a great game. It’d seem like a no-brainer for stores to keep it in stock.

  2. I forgot to ask, but I suspect that the store already had a copy of the SW core rules — I know they had stocked it before — and so didn’t want to order “another copy” if the previous one was sitting on the shelf. I suspect they’ll be keeping it in stock now, at least.

  3. That book sells like hotcakes. The vendor at Fear the Con brought 8(?) copies and sold them all within a couple of hours.

    Granted, this is a crowd that hears Luke tout it constantly, but hey. 😉

  4. Luke is a dirty, dirty pusher — he’s one of the main reasons I decided to take another look at it.

  5. Hey Jonathan,

    Here’s a trick for figuring out if Keith can get something in — check out Lion Rampant’s catalog. They’re the major distributor of hobby games in Canada, and Keith can [or should be able to, at least] get anything that they stock. You can browse it by company or just search for the title you’re looking for. The link is: https://www.lionrampantimports.com/products-search

  6. Hi Adam. You don’t know me, but your FLGS owner mentioned your name to me & directed me to our facebook group. From there, I found your site, and after seeing this post, thought I might as well chime in.

    I’m one of the customers who ordered the Savage Worlds book, after seeing your copy on the shelf. I did know of the book prior to seeing your copy (thanks to the RPG.net forums) so I’m not much help there. However, I didn’t order it from said FLGS because I had no idea the owner could order this particular book in until I saw your copy!

    Granted low price had a lot to do with me buying it, but I have to give most of the credit to the RPG.net forums for peaking my interest in the book. Its due to their many kind words that I decided to pursue getting my own copy.

    Added note – I had planned on ordering the copy of the book directly from the publisher. However, upon seeing that shipping would cost me more than the cost of the book ($18 for shipping, $10 for the book), I decided against that option. Luckily I saw your copy a day or two after that.

    Its a fine book. Now I just need to find a group here to try it out with!

  7. Oh wow, that is extremely helpful. Thanks for the link!

    And if you’re ever wanting to try out Savage Worlds, let me know!

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