Mystery Cult Sold Out

Wow, that was fast.

Too fast, I think. It seems AG is underestimating future sales. Well, that's much better than overestimating them. :slight_smile:


It's likely better to sell out and consider the option to reprint than to get stuck with a warehouse of books.

I've got a video store and every week I need to predict what's hot and what's not. If I over buy, even one extra copy that doesn't rent, it really hurts the bottom-line. Even with the option of selling it as previously viewed, if it's a dog- it's a dog and I'm lucky to break even on a dud item.

While I'm also surprised that they sold out this fast, maybe a conservative print run with a PDF 'second print' is the way of the future. Of course, this is all speculation on my part.

As I do a lot of my SG notes and writing on the train to and from work I'm pretty tempted to buy the PDF copies of the books in addition to the hard copies.

I mean, I'd never be without the hard copies as they're just so tactile and I can write in them and add sticky tabs and all sorts. But they are harder to manage on a train with my laptop.

Just to quote myself, from my reply to blog comments:

The HOH:MC print run was smaller than other recent books, because it had to be the same size as the HOH:TL reprint we ganged with it.

I doubt we will reprint HOH:MC in 2006, but odds are pretty good we'll do it next year. We might try to run it along with another reprint, so as to go with a smaller quantity than we need on a first-run title.

The print runs of TMRE and ROP:I, both at press (we're signing off on the printer's proofs today), are set to be larger than HOH:MC (it helps that they're both new books rather than reprints).

So...I was being conservative, but my decision was influenced by the two-at-once factor. I may have been reprinting too many of HOH:TL -- its sales are good, but it hasn't yet paid for the reprint costs. On the other hand, seeing the post-reprint sales pattern of HOH:TL will help me fine tune future reprintings for the line (wanting to print enough to get a good unit cost, but not so much that it takes too long to recover the cash investment in printing).

Being quite nosey about the way these things work, John, is there a limit to the number of titles you could group for a reprint?

I seem to remember you saying that you were standardising on page count and formats so that it becomes easier to send two titles off for a (re)print. Would a third or a fourth be cost effective? I mean, shorter runs in any one go to ensure you get sell through while keeping your options open for reprints in the future.

By no means am I suggesting anything, I'm quite sure you know your business, I was just interested in how it all works.

There's no theoretical limit to the number of titles. We get pricing benefits by doing multiple titles period (a little discount plus savings on freight); we get much more benefit if multiple books have the same format (dimensions, page count, etc., meaning less press set-up/changing time). It saves us a little more to run 3 titles instead of 2 (I think we ran three titles at once in 2004... Calebais, Blowing Up Hong Kong, and Seven Civilizations, I believe...), but it's nothing like the benefit we've seen going from one to two. When you get down to the small quantities, you're just stuck with a certain fairly high level of set-up costs in the price, no matter what.

Quoting oneself is either the hallmark of budding true greatness or unbridled megalomania :stuck_out_tongue:

My, my doesn't this mean that next year you will have to set apart a special "printing slot" only for reprints, aside from new books ? Otherwise another new book will risk to get too-little of a print run, just as happened to HoH:MC.

Hmm, does this mean we are still on track for the last week of July, or not ? Is it correct that the books should ship from Warehouse 23 a bit earlier than from other sources ? As a rule, I'm rather satisfied of my usual online FGS, but because of the huge delay TMRE got, I've got so impatient for it I could start chewing off furniture anytime, and wish to exploit any tiny opportunity to reduce the residual wait.

I think so.

There's another aspect to this, though, which is that selling out quickly on new books may lose us some short-term sales, but benefit the product line in the long term. When we're sold out, the reality is that a lot of the books are still in the "channel" -- on distributor and retailer shelves. If fans who want the book hunt down those copies and buy them up, it improves the standing of the game with those businesses (the faster a product turns, the more profitable it is, because the money invested in it plus the profit margin are then available to invest in another piece of inventory). That encourages them to buy more up front on the next book, which means faster "turns" for us (and better financial performance for the next product). It may also encourage them to keep the core book stocked and generally treat the line better, if they recognize its potential for profit.

I wouldn't want to be in a situation where we weren't able to fill all of our initial orders from distributors, but imagine if we sold out immediately. Distributors who hadn't ordered enough (say, because their retailers hadn't committed to pre-ordering any, but then asked for some when it was available) would be frustrated, but the thing for them to do would be to order more at the initial release of the next book...which would be good for us and for the line.

Yes, we are still on track. Since we've OK'd the proofs, the printer will move forward to making the plates for printing, scheduling press time, binding, etc. It's moving right along as it should. :slight_smile: If I'd found some horrible problem on the proofs, that could have meant delays as we'd need to have the files corrected, possibly have to ask for new set of proofs, etc.

I guess it depends.

We normally ship to Warehouse 23 on the same day that we ship to distributors. A book purchased through W23 has to be shipped from us to Austin, Texas (which I believe is 3 business days), then they have to receive the books and process the orders (which probably takes another day, though perhaps they can do it same-day if their UPS delivery is early enough and their outbound pick-ups are late enough), and then there's the transit time from them to the customer (which depends on geography, shipping method, etc.).

If you were in the US Midwest, you could probably get the books sooner at your FLGS. For example, if you were in southern Wisconsin or northwest Illinois or near Fort Wayne, Indiana, your local store may get the book the very day their distributor receives it -- and the local distributors in all those regions are 2-day shipping time from us. You might be able to get the book on the evening of the 2nd business day after we shipped, while the books wouldn't even be at W23 until the next morning.

So there are lots of factors, and a lot of them are impossible to predict (e.g., when does the book arrive at the local distributor relative to your favorite game retailer's order cycle, if they place orders once or twice a week?).

In the end, I'm happy either way -- we get our cut whether W23 sells you the book or your FLGS does. :slight_smile:

Is there any way for those of us in Austin to benefit from its unique location in your distribution system?

We also have a distributor in Austin -- Alliance Games Distribution (Southwest). They should normally get new releases from UPS the same day as Warehouse 23, which means that local game stores should be able to get the goods on the same day if they pick up orders themselves from the distributors. Again, it depends on the retailer's order cycle, what day the games happen to arrive, etc.

My FLGS (I'm currently in Virginia) is supplied by Alliance. I can usually put my hands on the goodies when you announce they are available, modulo the timing of their weekly order.

The supply chain seems to be working as intended. :slight_smile:

Well, as concerns myself, I'm well-stocked, since I've already got both of my "working" and "backup" copies for HoH:MC (see, I've already done my dutiful quota :wink: ), since I figure this book is going to get almost as much wear and tear as the corebook, as for HoH:TL, Covenants, and TMRE. I was reasoning from the perspective of the guy who wishes to get the book now. Even if, you're right: there must still be plenty of available copies spread in the distribution system.

Nope, I'm from Europe. More in detail, I'm from Italy, and generally get my RPG books, the stuff which I want quick and sure, from an online FGS in London (the completist stuff I usually get from such disparate sources as Amazon, Ebay, etc. Wherever I can get a good bargain). They are rather quick, in that they ship new releases about three days after making them available for order, and the package takes 2-5 business days to reach my door (likely signficantly more in August when the efficiency of our postal system hits an all-time low). However, apart from some big fishes like WWP, whose stuff takes one week to reach the FGS, books from most RPG publishers (including yours) take two weeks to burrow their way from U.S. publisher release to London. I was meaning to try cutting down on this distribution delay. Normally I wouldn't bother and settle for the London deal, but as I said, after a 10-month delay for TMRE I'm definitely eager to get it yesterday and I'm fishing for all ways of cutting times. Especially since the release time (August) is the worst for getting postal shipments.

So, no intercepting things at the warehouse and getting them before my game store.

Short of a hijacking, of course, but I think I'll stay short of that however badly I may want to start raising demons.

Hijacking a truck full of Atlas Games? This sounds like a Feng Shui or Unknown Armies plot. Hmmmmm.....

I'm superhappy to have been notified about this. I decided to go ahead and buy the book (even though I play a Tytalus and have no plans to make a new magus soon) because I might have wanted it before the reprint. and it's a really interesting volume. Plenty of material for player and SG alike.

Sorry for being guilty of thread necromancy. But this seemed the appropriate thread.
I have some difficulties locating a copy of the softcover reprint of Mystery Cults here in Germany. Is the SC reprint sold out? Or is it some problem with the distribution over here? I know I might order a copy from elsewhere, (or buy a pdf) but Iยดd rather have my FLGS order a copy for me, or order one at a german retailer.