Confirmed number of copies available?
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Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:04 pm 
 

I've been wondering whether somebody ever compiled confirmed number of copies for specific items or, even better, print runs. By default, prices are defined by offer and demand. That's of course where eBay comes in. So, we define an item as rare if it turns up rarely at eBay, correct? A rare item might still have a low value because of low demand (e.g. Strategic Review). What if it turned out that some items had relatively low number of copies compared with other items? I bet, the demand for these is increasing dramatically while the offer is increasing only moderately. This leads to increasing values und prices, driven by the demand of informed collectors.



At least it would be a valuable information for all of us.



This could be especially true for print runs.



So the question to you would be, if you have read about confirmed number of copies of (A)D&D items. Any source will help. I'm sure WOTC has a file with printed copies for all the old TSR items. Did anybody ever try to get some information from them?


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:14 pm 
 

I've been wondering the same thing myself.  The only official mention I know of is in the retrospective booklet printed in the 1999 Silver Anniversary set; I think they mention B2 (of course) was the most prolific module release with over a million copies, they might mention S2 as well.  But I've never seen a print run list from TSR or WotC.  I'm sure they have the data, I've just never tried to get them to release it.

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:22 pm 
 

There are some vague numbers in the 1996 product catalog, too. Sotto has a great collection of catalogs, maybe they printed some more info there?


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Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:18 pm 
 

Well, if anyone has an "in" at Wizards of the Coast, they might want to contact Johnny Wilson there -- his job is stated as follows:  "Johnny sets strategy on content, layout, look, print run, distribution and is responsible for profit and loss. He also decides on advertising prices and sets editorial guidelines."  Others might include Mary Kirchoff (VP of Publishing), Anthony Valterra (Business Manager of RPGs) or Mary-Elizabeth Allen (Marketing Liaison).  Deeper than that, I'm not sure.  The Pen&Paper.net people, or RPG.net, might be a quality resource as well.



In the meantime, I'm going to slog through some of my old Dragon Magazines from the time period; some have publisher's statements in them that give a general (proportional) indication of the D&D community size by time period.  Here's the very few bits I can speculate on off the top of my head, plus Acaeum research; if anyone wants to add, research, or correct, please feel free to post here.



My rough guesses:

B2 and X1                                                1,000,000+ copies

"hit" modules (S2 all editions, DL1 mass release)        500,000?

"average" module, 1980s                                200,000?

"average" module, late 1990s (TSR)                        100,000?

"average" module, WotC                                no idea



B2                                                1,000,000+

Collector's Set 10th Anniversary                ~1,000 (many destroyed?)

Collector's Set 25th Anniversary                5,000?

Ghost Tower of Inverness                        ~375

Lost Tamoachan                                ~375

Original D&D 1st Printing                        1,000

Original D&D 2nd Printing                        2,000

Original D&D 3rd Printnig                        3,300

Original D&D 4th Printing                        25,000

ST1                                                ~600 (many destroyed)

Supplement I Greyhawk True 1st Printing        ~1,000

  

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Post Posted: Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:06 pm 
 

St1's destruction was never confirmed, only assumed. There are WAY too many of those floating around for it to be as rare as some other items. I didn't see orange B3 or Quest for the Fazzlewood on your list..........


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Post Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 3:07 pm 
 

Well, I asked via Wizards, but of course got snubbed.  Searching Dragon magazines brought me a shred of info - issue #91, I believe, had a distribution of around 120,000, and that was the average distribution for issues 88-90 as well.



But I'm going to leave my research there.  If anyone else wants to add some helpful information to the thread, or just complain about the lack of data, feel free.

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Post Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 6:06 pm 
 

Sorry, the info was not in the 1996 catalogue, but in that from 1992. It comes in form of clues, spread throughout the catalog.



- "First-year release sales of the hardcover accessories avaerage 170,000 units:" (speaking of 2E AD&D hardcovers).



- "Popular PHBR-series accessory sales average more than 65,000 units."



- 1E Fiend Folio tome sold 190,000+ copies worldwide.



- The Dark Sun novel "Verdant Passage" has sold more than 100,000 copies in the first month of release." Troy Dennings novels "have sold more than 500,000 copies worldwide".



- The first Ravenloft novel "Vampire of the Mists" also sold 100,000+ in the first month of release.



- Forgotten Realms Boxed set sold 175,000+ copies in total.



- The 1988 Forgotten Realms computer game "Pools of radiance" has sold over 100,000 copies in the first year, the novel sold over 150,000 copies. The "Parched Sea", first novel of the Harpers Series sold 100,000 copies in its first month of publication. Sales for all FR novels total 5.2 million copies worldwide, 1.15 million from R.A. Salvatore only.



- 12 million Dragonlance games and books have been sold worldwide. The "Chronicles" trilogy alone sold over 1,000,000 copies since 1987. The "Preludes II" trilogy has sold 800,000+ while the "Meetings Sextet" sold 130,000+ as of 1992.



- TSR calendars sell more than 75,000 copies annually.



- The Spelljammer Boxed Set TSR1049 sold 39,000 copies in the first year of release. Book One of the SJ novels series sold 80,000 copies in the first year of release (how many were sold of Book Six???)



- As of 1992 the Dragon Magazine had over 125,000 copies in circulation of each new issue. Dungeon Magazine had a 15,000 copies circulation.



Please keep in mind that these are marketing figures, put in print to illustrate the success of AD&D to retailers. Still, they can give some interesting insight into the number of copies created.



This looks like a puzzle. Maybe if some of you guys could add some more pieces?


- "When the going gets weird, the Weird turn pro."

Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937 - Feb 20, 2005)



  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:13 pm 
 

The following statement is from a WOTC employee who wishes not to be named and was forwarded to me by a third person. I thought you guys would be interested:

"For stuff before 1980, the record keeping was abominable. There is a little data on the core books, but nothing on the smaller products, like
adventures. We pretty much had to guess, based on revenues and release schedules....

I don't have the specific data handy right now, but your print runs look extremely high to me. Throughout the 90s, and up until the launch of 3rd Edition, an adventure module for any D&D brand (including Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, & Dragonlance) usually sold less than 20,000 units (some selling as low as 3,000 units). The original adventures were somewhat higher (since there were fewer available products), but very few of them were above the 100,000 mark, and fewer still above he 200,000 mark. Anyway, here's what I recall:

1980s: Adventures were selling mostly between 50,000 and 150,000 units. A few of them (the ones we all know by name) exceeded that. I think White Plume Mountain was around 175,000.

1990s: Adventures were selling mostly between 7,000 and 15,000 units, though they varied a bit on either side, depending on the brand. Planescape, Dragonlance, and Birthright were on the bottom end of that, Ravenloft in the middle, and Dark Sun and Forgotten Realms were at the top.

Now: Starting with the launch of 3rd Edition, we've cut down the number of adventures from 6-8 per year to 1 per year, so that has cut down on
cannibalization of the market. Thus, sales for a new D&D adventure are now more like 35,000 to 60,000 units. Keep in mind that these are generally MUCH larger adventures though, with at least 128 pages, rather than the short, 32-page adventures we used to do.

Other manufacturers: Currently, there is a plethora of D20 material on the market, so competition is high. Thus, most of the other publishers who are doing d20 products are lucky to sell more than a few thousand units. Even While Wolf and AEG are shipping less than 6,000 of most of their d20 products. The smaller publishers are barely getting orders for 1,000 or 1,500 per release. It's a tough market for everyone but D&D.

All of this data applies only to adventures though. Adventures sell far less than rulebooks do. (Which is why we stopped doing them.) Rulebooks are a whole different matter. In 1989, TSR sold something like 1,000,000 copies of the D&D boxed set in one year. It was amazing.

Currently, I think they're selling at least 150,000 to 200,000 Player's Handbooks per year (probably more with the 3.5 release)."


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 6:42 pm 
 

Wow!  Thanks for the tip … that's pretty informative, and lower across the board than I expected.

The following is a quick reference I've whipped up, using that e-mail as a primary, with my own experience, the Acaeum rarity levels, and heaps of guesswork piled in.  Some of these figures may be way off, but at least they're a general guideline.  Feel free to knock them down or criticize them, since they'll only get better then.  I'll try to refine them a bit (especially the late 80s) at a later date.

Approximation scale used:

1970s = 75,000-100,000 copies
1980s Rarity 1 = 100,000-150,000 copies
1980s Rarity 2 = 75,000-100,000 copies
1980s Rarity 3 = 50,000-75,000 copies
1980s B2 = 1,000,000 copies?
1980s S2 = 175,000 copies (exceptional)
1980s X1 = 500,000 copies?
(note that there's a big gap in the data for late 80s releases, so late 80s are probably over-estimated)
1990s release, Rarity 1 = 10,000-20,000 copies
1990s release, Rarity 2 = 5,000-10,000 copies
1990s release, Rarity 3 = 3,000-5,000 copies
1999+ release = 35,000-60,000 copies

(code -- year of 1st printing -- Acaeum rarity level (my recommended rarity) -- approx # of copies)

A1 1980 R2 (R1); 100,000-150,000 copies
A2 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
A3 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
A4 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
A1-4 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
B1 1979 R1; 150,000 copies?
B2 1980 R1 (R0) ;1,000,000 copies?
B3 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
B4 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
B5 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
B6 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
B7 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
B8 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
B9 1985 R2 (R3); 50,000-75,000 copies
B1-9 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
B10 1986 R3; 50,000-75,000 copies
B11 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
B12 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
BSOLO 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
C1 1980 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
C2 1980 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
C3 1984 R1 (R2) ; 75,000-100,000 copies
C4 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
C5 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
C6 1987 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CA1 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
CA2 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
CB1 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CB2 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CM1 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CM2 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CM3 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CM4 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
CM5 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
CM6 1985 R1 (R2) ; 75,000-100,000 copies
CM7 1986 R1 (R2) ; 75,000-100,000 copies
CM8 1987 R1 (R2) ; 75,000-100,000 copies
CM9 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
D1 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
D2 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
D1-2 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
D3 1978 R1; 75,000-100,000 copies
DA1 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
DA2 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
DA3 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
DA4 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
DDA1 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DDA2 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DDA3 1991 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
DDA4 1991 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
DL1 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL2 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL3 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL4 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL5 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL6 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL7 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL8 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL9 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL10 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL11 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL12 1986 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL13 1986 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL14 1986 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DL15 1988 R2;100,000-150,000 copies
DL16 1988 R2;100,000-150,000 copies
DLA1 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLA2 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLA3 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLC1 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLC2 1993 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLC3 1994 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLE1 1989 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DLE2 1989 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DLE3 1989 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
DLQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLQ2 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLR1 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLR2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLR3 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS1 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS3 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS4 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLT1 1993 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
DQ1 1987 R2;100,000-150,000 copies
EX1 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
EX2 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FA1 1990 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FA2 1991 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FMA1 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FMA2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FMQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FR1 1987 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR2 1987 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR3 1988 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR4 1988 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR5 1988 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR6 1988 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR7 1989 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR8 1989 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FR9 1989 R1 (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
FR10 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR11 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR12 1991 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR13 1991 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR14 1992 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR15 1992 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR16 1993 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRA1 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FRA2 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FRA3 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FRC1 1988 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
FRC2 1989 R1 (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
FRE1 1989 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
FRE2 1989 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
FRE3 1990 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRM1 1993 R? (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
FROA1 1990 R? (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
FRQ1 1992 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRQ2 1992 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRQ3 1993 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRS1 1993 R? (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
GAZ1 1987 R? (R1) ;100,000-150,000 copies
GAZ2 1987 R? (R1) ;100,000-150,000 copies
GAZ3 1987 R? (R1) ;100,000-150,000 copies
GAZ4 1987 R? (R1) ;100,000-150,000 copies
GAZ5 1988 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ6 1988 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ7 1988 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ8 1988 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ9 1988 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ10 1988 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ11 1989 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ12 1989 R? (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
GAZ13 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GAZ14 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
G1 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
G2 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
G3 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
G1-2-3 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
GA1 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GA2 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GA3 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GDQ1-7 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
H1 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
H2 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
H3 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
H4 1988 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
HHQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HHQ2 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HHQ3 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HHQ4 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWA1 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWA2 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWA3 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWR1 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWR2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWR3 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
I1 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
I2 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
I3 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
I4 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
I5 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
I3-5 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I6 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
I7 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I8 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I9 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I10 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I11 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I12 1987 R2 (R3) ; 75,000-100,000 copies
I13 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
I14 1988 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
IM1 1986 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
IM2 1987 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
IM3 1987 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
L1 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
L2 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
L3 1999 R2; 5,000 copies
LC1 1989 R2 (R3); 10,000-20,000 copies
LC2 1990 R2; 10,000-20,000 copies
LC3 1991 R2; 10,000-20,000 copies
LC4 1991 R2; 10,000-20,000 copies
M1 1985 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
M2 1986 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
M3 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
M4 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
M5 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
MSOLO1 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
MSOLO2 1983 R2;100,000-150,000 copies
MV1 1984 R2;100,000-150,000 copies
N1 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
N2 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
N3 1986 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
N4 1986 R2 (R3); 50,000-75,000 copies
N5 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
O1 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
O2 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
OA1 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
OA2 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
OA3 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
OA4 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
OA5 1988 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
OA6 1989 R2 (R1); 100,000-150,000 copies
OA7 1989 R2 (R1); 100,000-150,000 copies
OP1 1988 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
PC1 1989 R? (R1) ;100,000-150,000 copies
PC2 1989 R? (R1) ;100,000-150,000 copies
PC3 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
PC4 1992 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
Q1 1980 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
RS1 1986 R2;100,000-150,000 copies
S1 1978 R1; 75,000-100,000 copies
S2 1979 R1; 175,000 copies
S3 1980 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
S4 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
S1-4 1987 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
T1 1979 R1; 75,000-100,000 copies
T1-4 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
U1 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
U2 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
U3 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
UK1 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
UK2 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
UK3 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
UK4 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
UK5 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
UK6 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
UK7 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG4 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
WG5 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG6 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG7 1988 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG8 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG9 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG10 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG11 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WG12 1989 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
WGA1 1990 R2 (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
WGA2 1990 R2 (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
WGA3 1990 R2 (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
WGA4 1990 R2 (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
WGM1 1993 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGQ1 1992 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR1 1990 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR2 1992 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR3 1992 R2 (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
WGR4 1993 R2 (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
WGR5 1993 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR6 1993 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGS1 1991 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGS2 1991 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
X1 1981 R1 (R0); 500,000 copies
X2 1981 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
X3 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
X4 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
X5 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
X6 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
X7 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
X8 1984 R1 (R2) ; 75,000-100,000 copies
X9 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
X10 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
X11 1986 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
X12 1987 R2 (R3); 50,000-75,000 copies
X13 1987 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
XL1 1984 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
XSOLO 1984 R2 (R1);100,000-150,000 copies
XS2 1985 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 12, 2003 11:12 pm 
 

Keep up the great work!


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2003 11:54 am 
 

Had time over the weekend to re-work the estimates.

Here's the revised conjectural figures.  Thanks to Ralf Toth for the initial data, and to those individuals who e-mailed me with feedback and suggestions.

The following is a quick reference I've whipped up, using that e-mail as a primary, with my own experience, the Acaeum rarity levels, and heaps of guesswork piled in.  Some of these figures may be way off, but at least they're a general guideline.  Feel free to knock them down or criticize them, since they'll only get better then.  I'll revise these figures as more information comes in.

Approximation scale used:

Phase I -- Initial AD&D Releases
1978-1979 release = 75,000-100,000 copies (including titles originating in the 70s, that were reprinted and sold into the 80s)

Phase II -- The AD&D "Golden Age"
1980-1984 release, Rarity 1 = 100,000-150,000 copies
1980-1984 release, Rarity 2 = 75,000-100,000 copies
1980-1984 release, Rarity 3 = 50,000-75,000 copies

Phase III -- Diversification of Worlds
(The following data for the time period 1985-1989 was extrapolated, by averaging the 80s data with the 90s.  This was done because although sales were still acceptable, there were many more titles being produced, hence fewer copies being sold per title.  This data, however, is the most prone to error of all.)
1985-1989 release, Rarity 1 = 55,000-85,000 copies
1985-1989 release, Rarity 2 =  40,000-55,000 copies
1985-1989 release, Rarity 3 =  26,500-40,000 copies

Phase IV -- "Cannibalization," Excess of Titles
1990-1999 release, Rarity 1 = 10,000-20,000 copies
1990-1999 release, Rarity 2 = 5,000-10,000 copies
1990-1999 release, Rarity 3 = 3,000-5,000 copies

Phase V -- 3rd Edition
1999+ release (3rd Edition) = 35,000-60,000 copies

Key:  code -- year of 1st printing -- Acaeum rarity level (my recommended rarity) -- approx # of copies

~Aerie (?) / Slave Lord series~
A1 1980 R2 (R1); 100,000-150,000 copies (likely fewer than A2 and A3)
A2 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
A3 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
A4 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely more than A2 and A3)
A1-4 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Basic series~
B1 1979 R1; 150,000 copies? (likely fairly high due to inclusion in the Basic Set)
B2 1980 R1 (R0); 1,000,000 copies? (known to be high)
B3 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely higher than B4 through B8)
B4 1982 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
B5 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
B6 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
B7 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
B8 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
B9 1985 R2 (R3); 26,500-40,000 copies
B1-9 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
B10 1986 R3; 26,500-40,000 copies (includes B/X1)
B11 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
B12 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
BSOLO 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies

~Competition series~
C1 1980 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (+ early tournament printings)
C2 1980 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (+ early tournament printings)
C3 1984 R1 (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
C4 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely towards the low end, but more than C3)
C5 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
C6 1987 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies

~City of Adventure series~
CA1 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
CA2 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Conan the Barbarian series~
CB1 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
CB2 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies

~Companion series~
CM1 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
CM2 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
CM3 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
CM4 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
CM5 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
CM6 1985 R1 (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
CM7 1986 R1 (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
CM8 1987 R1 (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
CM9 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely towards the low end, fewer than CM6, CM7, or CM8)

~Drow series~
D1 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
D2 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
D1-2 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
D3 1978 R1; 75,000-100,000 copies (likely high; both monochrome and blue cover)

~David Arneson series~
DA1 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
DA2 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
DA3 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
DA4 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Dungeons & Dragons Adventure series~
DDA1 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DDA2 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DDA3 1991 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
DDA4 1991 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~Dragonlance series~
DL1 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely the highest of all)
DL2 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
DL3 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
DL4 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
DL5 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
DL6 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL7 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL8 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL9 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL10 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL11 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL12 1986 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL13 1986 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL14 1986 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DL15 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
DL16 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Dragonlance Adventure series~
DLA1 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLA2 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLA3 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies

~Dragonlance Classics series~
DLC1 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLC2 1993 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
DLC3 1994 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies

~Dragonlance Extended (?) series~
DLE1 1989 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DLE2 1989 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
DLE3 1989 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies

~Dragonlance Quest series~
DLQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLQ2 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies (likely lower than DLQ1)

~Dragonlance Reference series~
DLR1 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLR2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLR3 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Dragonlance Saga series~
DLS1 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS3 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
DLS4 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Dragonlance Tales series~
DLT1 1993 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~DragonQuest series~
DQ1 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Expansion series~
EX1 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
EX2 1983 R1;100,000-150,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Adventure series (1)~
FA1 1990 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies (likely lower than FA2)
FA2 1991 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Maztica Adventure series~
FMA1 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FMA2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Maztica Quest series~
FMQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms series~
FR1 1987 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR2 1987 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR3 1988 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR4 1988 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR5 1988 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR6 1988 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR7 1989 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR8 1989 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FR9 1989 R1 (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
FR10 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR11 1990 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR12 1991 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR13 1991 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR14 1992 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR15 1992 R1; 10,000-20,000 copies
FR16 1993 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Adventure series (2)~
FRA1 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FRA2 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
FRA3 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Computer series~
FRC1 1988 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
FRC2 1989 R1 (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Epic series~
FRE1 1989 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
FRE2 1989 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
FRE3 1990 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Manual (?) series~
FRM1 1993 R? (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Oriental Adventures series~
FROA1 1990 R? (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies

~Forgotten Realms Quest series~
FRQ1 1992 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRQ2 1992 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies
FRQ3 1993 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies (likely fewer than FRQ2)

~Forgotten Realms Sourcebook (?) series~
FRS1 1993 R? (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies

~Gazetteer series~
GAZ1 1987 R? (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
GAZ2 1987 R? (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
GAZ3 1987 R? (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
GAZ4 1987 R? (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
GAZ5 1988 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ6 1988 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ7 1988 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ8 1988 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ9 1988 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ10 1988 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ11 1989 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ12 1989 R? (R2); 40,000-55,000 copies
GAZ13 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GAZ14 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Giant series~
G1 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies (+5,000 Silver Anniversary editions)
G2 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies (+5,000 Silver Anniversary editions)
G3 1978 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies (+5,000 Silver Anniversary editions)
G1-2-3 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies

~General Adventure (?) series~
GA1 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GA2 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
GA3 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Giant-Drow-Queen series~
GDQ1-7 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~High-Level series~
H1 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
H2 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
H3 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
H4 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~HH (?) Quest series~
HHQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HHQ2 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HHQ3 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HHQ4 1993 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Hollow World Adventure series~
HWA1 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWA2 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWA3 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Hollow World Quest series~
HWQ1 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Hollow World Reference series~
HWR1 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWR2 1991 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
HWR3 1992 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies

~Intermediate series~
I1 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
I2 1982 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
I3 1982 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
I4 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
I5 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
I3-5 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I6 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (higher than I5; +Silver Anniversary editions)
I7 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I8 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I9 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I10 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I11 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I12 1987 R2 (R3); 26,500-40,000 copies
I13 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
I14 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Immortal series~
IM1 1986 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
IM2 1987 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
IM3 1987 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies (likely lower than IM2)

~Lendore Isle series~
L1 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
L2 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than L1)
L3 1999 R2; 5,000 copies (Silver Anniversary edition only)

~Living City series~
LC1 1989 R2 (R3); 10,000-20,000 copies (likely lowest of all)
LC2 1990 R2; 10,000-20,000 copies
LC3 1991 R2; 10,000-20,000 copies
LC4 1991 R2; 10,000-20,000 copies

~Master series~
M1 1985 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
M2 1986 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
M3 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
M4 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
M5 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~"M" Invisible Ink series~
MSOLO1 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
MSOLO2 1983 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies

~Magic Viewer series~
MV1 1984 R2; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely low)

~Novice series~
N1 1982 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
N2 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than N1)
N3 1986 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies
N4 1986 R2 (R3); 26,500-40,000 copies
N5 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~One-on-One series~
O1 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
O2 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies

~Oriental Adventures series~
OA1 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely more than OA2 through OA5)
OA2 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
OA3 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
OA4 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely less than OA3)
OA5 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
OA6 1989 R2 (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
OA7 1989 R2 (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies

~Outer Planes series~
OP1 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Player Companion (?) series~
PC1 1989 R? (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
PC2 1989 R? (R1); 55,000-85,000 copies
PC3 1990 R? (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
PC4 1992 R? (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~Queen series~
Q1 1980 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies

~Red Sonja series~
RS1 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely towards the low end)

~Special series~
S1 1978 R1; 75,000-100,000 copies (+reprints in Return to the Tomb of Horrors)
S2 1979 R1; 175,000 copies (+5,000 Silver Anniversary copies)
S3 1980 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
S4 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than S3)
S1-4 1987 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~Temple series~
T1 1979 R1; 75,000-100,000 copies
T1-4 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely higher than other supermodules due to reprints)

~United Kingdom (1) series~
U1 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
U2 1982 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
U3 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than U2)

~United Kingdom (2) series~
UK1 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than UK2 and UK3)
UK2 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
UK3 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
UK4 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
UK5 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies (likely lower than UK4 and UK6)
UK6 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
UK7 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

~World of Greyhawk series~
WG4 1982 R1;100,000-150,000 copies
WG5 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies (likely lower)
WG6 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
WG7 1988 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
WG8 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
WG9 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely higher than WG8)
WG10 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely higher than WG8)
WG11 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely higher than WG8)
WG12 1989 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies (likely lower than WG11)

~World of Greyhawk Adventure series~
WGA1 1990 R2 (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
WGA2 1990 R2 (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
WGA3 1990 R2 (R1); 10,000-20,000 copies
WGA4 1990 R2 (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies (likely higher)

~World of Greyhawk Module (?) series~
WGM1 1993 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies

~World of Greyhawk Quest series~
WGQ1 1992 R1 (R2); 5,000-10,000 copies

~World of Greyhawk Reference series~
WGR1 1990 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR2 1992 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR3 1992 R2 (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
WGR4 1993 R2 (R3); 3,000-5,000 copies
WGR5 1993 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies
WGR6 1993 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies

~World of Greyhawk Saga series~
WGS1 1991 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies (likely lower than WGS2)
WGS2 1991 R2; 5,000-10,000 copies

~Expert series~
X1 1981 R1 (R0); 500,000 copies (high, due to inclusion with Expert Sets)
X2 1981 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies
X3 1982 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than X2)
X4 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely higher than X3)
X5 1983 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies (likely lower than X4)
X6 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies
X7 1984 R2; 75,000-100,000 copies (likely lower than X6)
X8 1984 R1 (R2); 75,000-100,000 copies
X9 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
X10 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
X11 1986 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies
X12 1987 R2 (R3); 26,500-40,000 copies
X13 1987 R1; 55,000-85,000 copies

~Expert LJN (?) series~
XL1 1984 R1; 100,000-150,000 copies

~Expert Solo series~
XSOLO 1984 R2 (R1); 100,000-150,000 copies
XS2 1985 R2; 40,000-55,000 copies

  


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2003 2:08 pm 
 

Terrific!


- "When the going gets weird, the Weird turn pro."

Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1937 - Feb 20, 2005)



  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2003 5:54 pm 
 

Great! It is always nice to know that there are people willing to spend time posting info like this on the forum.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Aug 04, 2004 11:26 pm 
 

*bump* (found this one whilst looking for that post about identifying 1st woodgrains!).
Interesting thoughts/estimates/research/food-for-thought. Thanks :)


Regarding print runs, the totals would of course need to be vaguely in-line with the turnover figures for TSR (although estimating the actual monies obtained for each module, set or book is kinda "finger in the air"... and is it even safe to presume "near sell-outs"??).
*
Just as an aside, then, that late-1979 Gygax interview in <Gryphon> #1 mentions the turnover for fiscal year ending 9/79 being circa $2,250,000, up from circa $1,250,000 for fiscal year ending 9/78 (with his out-turn "guess for next year" (to 9/80) being $4-6 million. Bet it was more!).
Still not "big numbers", really...

Aside, at the time of that interview they were selling 12,000 copies of the Basic Set per month. (Which was one item of concern I had regarding the publication/release date for the 5th printing of the original white box D&D set at a far earlier date, but that might still end up on the other/another thread...).


p.s. Has anyone got a compiled list of the annual/latest circulation figures as printed inside Dragon? I'm missing a large number of the relevant issues. Please... ;)

  


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 05, 2004 2:58 am 
 

Been awhile since I dug that deep into the estimates.
:?
I can say with certainty, though, that some of my figures are still too high.  But no new data has come to light.

Concerning Dragon, the print run figures are found in the Publisher's Statement boxes that they were forced to display every year or so.

I don't think this is every one of them, but searching through the Dragon CD-ROM, here's the publisher figures from various issues:

1976:  Can't find data, my estimate 5,000
1977:  Can't find data, my estimate 8,000
1978:  Can't find data, my estimate 15,000
1979:  Can't find data, my estimate 25,000
1980:  Can't find data, my estimate 40,000
November 1980 - November 1981:  Average per month = 44,994
#55, November 1981:  60,000
1982:  Too blurry to read, it's in issue #67 if anyone wants to look
1983:  Can't find data
November 1983 - November 1984:  Average per month = 120,080
#91, November 1984:  124,821
1985:  Can't find the data, but it should be in #103 or thereabouts
November 1985 - November 1986:  Average per month ~ 106,000
#115, November 1986:  ~101,000 (PDF is blurry, feel free to look it up in a physical copy of the issue)
November 1987 - November 1988:  Average per month = 100,270
#139, November 1988:  104,187
November 1988 - November 1989:  Average per month 106,124
#151, November 1989:  106,252
(etc., don't have time to keep looking)

Sadly, I believe current print runs are hovering at about 55,000.

  
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