What do retailers pay for RPG items?
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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 11:15 am 
 

Something I have been wondering for some time now . . . what is the typical markup for a D&D item (or any RPG item for that matter)? I know many of you must have some experience on the retail end buying new items.

For instance, as long as I can remember, one of the local comic stores sells all Gaming items at 30% off. This not only includes older items that he has never sold (like Birthright, Dragonlance, Complete handbooks, etc.) , but also new d20 books. He certainly doesn't stock a large inventory (maybe a few each of WotC hardcovers and a couple of the larger independents) so his volume discount couldn't be much - that is, assuming there even is a volume discount.

So, he must be paying less than 30% of the total costs - including whatever shipping fees he might have to pay . . .

And all the ebay gaming stores that have inventory from the 80's and 90's to clear out . . . are they taking a loss . . . how much did the average $10 supplement cost a retailer in the first place?  :?:


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 12:35 pm 
 

I've wondered this myself.  It must be a reasonable price based on what I also have seen.  I know in video games that the dealer price was AWFUL (at least it was in the late 90's when we owned a game store)  We were in a smalll town 100 miles from a wal-mart so did a booming business with the townfolk.  But 90% of the time bought our stock from Sam's club or Walmart if we ordered a new item because after shipping costs our price from a supplier was break even at best.   In the video game business (at that time) we would have gone broke if not for our used game sales.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:32 pm 
 

I friend of mine sells games in his comic store and receives a discount of 35-50% off.  D20 stuff from wizards is 45% off unless you by a case then it moves to 50% off.  Ocassionally he gets deals at up to 80% off on overstocked items (ie 3.0 D20 stuff).  Warhammer and games workshop is 40% off unless you buy a load like $10,000.00 worth.  Not a great markup actually considering you can order from Amazon at 30% off.
Must be hard to be a retailer.

J


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:56 pm 
 

For what it's worth:

My family just opened up a local business on Sept. 1, and we mark everything up 220% (our $100 item from the manufacturer will cost you $220). We attended a number of small-business seminars and were told that a figure in this range is fairly typical for a smaller, family-owned business.

Whether or not this would apply for a larger business (or to our specific hobby), I have no idea. But I figure there must be some sort of significant mark-up in any hobby-related business: those utility bills and payroll accounts don't pay themselves.

Again, I'm not offering this up as definitive. YMMV, and probably will.

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 1:58 pm 
 

The difficult thing about RPG books is the price is on them already.  Hard enough to sell them - even harder to bump up the price to more than what the back cover states.


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 2:17 pm 
 

No, you don't bump up the price on goods that are clearly labeled, but you do need to get the best deal available before you agree to put those goods on sale.

Using my example above, the same math applies: if my 100 copies of the new D&D 4.0 version of the Player's Handbook are clearly stamped $40 on the back cover, then I would expect to be getting them from Wizards (or the distributor) for 40/2.2 = $18.18. Or, if the "industry standard" is 150% markup, then I'd expect to get them for 40/1.5 = $26.66.

The markup, in this case, needs to be "built-in" or else it's not going to be worth it to even stock the goods.

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Sidebar: I just had a thought as to how this would apply to our hobby. If someone can get their hands on a retailer catalog (from Wizards, for example), then a simple comparison of catalog vs. shelf-price would yield a percentage. Not very scientific, I know, but it would be a place to start ...

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:19 pm 
 

Here are some prices from the 1991 TSR Wholesale Price List that was only available to distributors:

Prices effective December 1, 1990

Atlas of the Dragonlance World $7.18
T1-4 $6.75
S1-4 $4.48
H4 $4.03
GAZ1 $4.50
WG9 Gargoyle $2.68
WG8 Fate of Istus $4.93
DM Screen $3.13
X6 Quagmire $2.70
N2 Forest Oracle $2.70
Trail Maps $2.68
WGA4 Vecna Lives! $4.48
Dragon magazine $2.03
Dungeon magazine $2.18
D&D Rules Cyclopedia $11.23
Ruins of Undermountain $9.00
DMG $8.10
PH $9.00
Castles 3d Aid $11.23
World of Greyhawk Setting $6.75
The NEW Dungeon Boardgame $9.00

and many more great deals(if you have a time machine and buy in bulk) :)

  

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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 5:38 pm 
 

burntwire wrote:H4 $4.03
Trail Maps $2.68
WGA4 Vecna Lives! $4.48

Is anyone else crying right now?


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Post Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:25 pm 
 

DnDGeek wrote:
burntwire wrote:H4 $4.03
Trail Maps $2.68
WGA4 Vecna Lives! $4.48

Is anyone else crying right now?


yeah but thats the sad thing, back then, i couldnt afford to buy the items anyway, or i would have :D

so while hindsight is an amazing thing, i wouldnt have been able to do feck all with it anyhow :)



  


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 4:37 pm 
 

The rule of thumb in the rpg publishing industry is that rpg books are sold to distributors at 60% off of cover price, and that distributors sell them to retailers at 50% off of cover price.  Retailers then double the price to cover price, which accounts for their overhead (rent, utilities, payroll, etc.).

Those general ranges have held true since the early 1990s, at least, although individual publishers and distributors may flex up/down in their rates to each other (for example, while still running Event Horizon Productions, we would award a 2-4% bonus to distributors who bought product from us on a COD basis, which was one of the ways we insured that we were paid in a timely manner).


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 6:06 pm 
 

Thanks Gro, that explains a lot.  

In my above example, the guy at "Comics, etc."  stays in business through comics and action figures/toys.  RPG items would just be a little something extra and he is able to undercut all the stores who make it their primary business since he is willing to settle for marginal profits.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:57 pm 
 

De nada :D


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