Diamond Comic Distributors Top 100 Games 2019


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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Looks like PF 2 is doing well. ICV2 link


Insane number of Paizo products!


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Just to be clear Paizo almost exclusively uses Diamond for Distribution to game and book stores. So this isn't an across the industry sales totals, but definitely an interesting data point


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Diamond/Alliance is the biggest game distributer in North America. You could argue Amazon, but P2 has done well on it also.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Justin Franklin wrote:
Just to be clear Paizo almost exclusively uses Diamond for Distribution to game and book stores.

This isn't accurate. Game and book stores are separate distribution channels. Diamond Book Distributors are indeed our primary distributors for the book trade, but in the hobby channel—which itself encompasses several different markets—Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors are just two out of many distributors.

So it is correct to say that we "almost exclusively use Diamond" for distribution to bookstores, but for game stores, it's not at all correct. We certainly do good business with DCD and Alliance, but we sell plenty through other hobby distributors too.

Justin Franklin wrote:
So this isn't an across the industry sales totals, but definitely an interesting data point.

That is correct—and judging from your comments, I think it may be even more correct than you realize.

In order to understand the data presented in the original link, it's important to understand the distinction between Diamond Books, Diamond Comics, and Alliance Games:

• Diamond Book Distributors sells primarily to bookstores. That includes the few remaining large bookstore chains, small independent bookstores, and online bookstores, including amazon.com. In general, gaming is a pretty small part of these stores' business.

• Diamond Comic Distributors sells primarily to comic shops. In general, gaming is a small part of these stores' business (but it's likely to be bigger for them than it is for bookstores).

• Alliance Game Distributors sells primarily to game stores. In general, gaming is the majority of these stores' business.

The link above lists Diamond Comic Distributors' top games for 2019—not DBD's book trade sales, and not Alliance's game store sales. So it's just game sales into (mostly) comic shops. So while we're clearly doing very well with them, it is indeed a VERY narrow picture of the gaming marketplace.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Dave2 wrote:
Diamond/Alliance is the biggest game distributer in North America. You could argue Amazon, but P2 has done well on it also.

Amazon isn't a game distributor. A distributor is an intermediate company that buys from publishers and sells to retailers. Amazon is a retailer, who buys from a distributor; in the case of Paizo's products, that's mostly from Diamond Book Distributors (though for reasons I have never well understood, they also buy Paizo products from another distributor who buys it from DBD).


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Vic, do you have a suggestion for where interested fans could seek out more complete information?


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Vic Wertz wrote:
Amazon is a retailer, who buys from a distributor; in the case of Paizo's products, that's mostly from Diamond Book Distributors (though for reasons I have never well understood, they also buy Paizo products from another distributor who buys it from DBD).

Lol.

I’m struggling to think of any good reason for that. (International jurisdictions, maybe?)

Liberty's Edge

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Pre-existing agreements that mandated a minimum amount of purchases every year maybe?

Silver Crusade

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A young tyke named Jeff Bezos signed a silly contract with indefinite clause back in 1995?

Liberty's Edge

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Nobody's perfect ;-)


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Gorbacz wrote:
A young tyke named Jeff Bezos signed a silly contract with indefinite clause back in 1995?

I can think of explanations just not good reasons.

FWIW, I think it’s more likely to be a behemoth company making silly decisions.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Amazon is a retailer, who buys from a distributor; in the case of Paizo's products, that's mostly from Diamond Book Distributors (though for reasons I have never well understood, they also buy Paizo products from another distributor who buys it from DBD).

Lol.

I’m struggling to think of any good reason for that. (International jurisdictions, maybe?)

I do know a little more than I mentioned in my last post: They generally place initial orders for new products with one distributor and reorders for existing products with another. (I'm guessing it's a volume thing, but I really don't know.)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Tarondor wrote:
Vic, do you have a suggestion for where interested fans could seek out more complete information?

Assuming you mean complete information on RPG sales, there is no really good source for that.

The "best" source is probably ICv2's quarterly market report and rankings, the most recent of which is here, but a ICv2 pro subscription is now required to read it. (This thread on EN World provides a summary of their rankings from the last 16 years, though.)

However, there are many issues with that info that makes it less useful than you'd probably like.

First, it's compiled from "interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers," which may include some hard data, but I believe is mostly anecdotal.

Second, there are issues inherent to each of those three sources:
• Many retailers in our industry don't have POS or inventory systems that allow them to provide hard data, so you're going to get a lot of "gut" responses; further, some of them may have personal interests that cause them to downplay or exaggerate the value of some publishers. And even if they did get good data, I have no clue if their sources represent a statistically significant sample.
• Distributors most likely have good data on the portion of the market they handle, but many sales don't pass through these distributors—certainly, none of Paizo's direct sales do, and I suspect that most of Wizards' Amazon sales don't. And again, no clue if their sources represent a statistically significant sample.
• Many publishers (including Paizo) don't share our sales figures.

Third, there are no actual dollar or unit sales figures involved here, just a relative ranking. So even if they are correct about who's #1 and who's #5, there's no indication of how close or how far those companies are. (They do offer annual estimates of the entire market size; for the reasons above, my personal confidence in those numbers is very low.)


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I’ve been watching for a while. Pretty sure ICv2 is the best but it’s definitely terrible.

Doesn’t stop people arguing over the meanings of changes in rankings, but there’s very little comparable if you want a “big picture” estimate.


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The big picture seems to be that Paizo is happy with Paizo's sales, and that bodes well for us fans, no matter what those sales - or expectations - were.

I do not feel compelled to put effort into dissecting Paizo's sales/accounting. Someone at Paizo is paid money to do that (IMO) mind numbing job. Every week/month/quarter I'm sure they stand in front of some executives and give a monotone Powerpoint presentation with breakdowns and footnotes and acronyms like YTD. And all that really matters to people outside of that room is whether the executives are smiling when they leave the room.

I don't need to see the sausage being made on this one.


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One statistic I hear over and over again is how many sessions of each RPG is being played on Roll20. I've always found this a weird and misleading statistic. Sure, Roll20 offers functionality that Paizo doesn't, but I run and play in LOTS of games right here on the Paizo boards. I've no need for what Roll20 offers.

Liberty's Edge

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Tarondor wrote:
One statistic I hear over and over again is how many sessions of each RPG is being played on Roll20. I've always found this a weird and misleading statistic. Sure, Roll20 offers functionality that Paizo doesn't, but I run and play in LOTS of games right here on the Paizo boards. I've no need for what Roll20 offers.

I guess it is a matter of falling back on almost any available number that looks like an indicator when there are none available that can adequately do the job.

It is a basis of non-violent discussion to rely on facts, because they are undisputable. Problem is that most people do not realize that statistics are not undisputable facts.


Regardless of the noted undisclosed variables inherent in the data .... 68 of the top 100 slots being accredited to Paizo, is something I find encouraging.

I'm sure I'm not the only one!


This thread over here discusses some of the same issues as are being debated here.

The easiest, non-numeric, objective criteria is to look at staff size over time. In addition, living in the greater Seattle area is not cheap, so even maintaining staff numbers over the years is a good indicator of a successful business. Building staff is an unambiguous indicator of success.

As for the ICv2 rankings. I think they are a little fuzzy but mostly accurate. When 5e PHB came out it was the #1 selling book (not gaming book, but all books) for weeks on Amazon ( Other products haven't even come close for more than a few hours according to those who were watching the rankings). Making the very reasonable assumption that WotC Tweets and other press over the last few years are true, then sales have been better by double-digit percentages year over year since. That means, not knowing sales #'s aside, that the #1 slot is well ahead of the rest of the ranks.

That said, the other "hard" non-metric metric since 2014 is that the TTRPG pie has been growing and (to mix metaphors) the tide has been rising for all players.

Bottom line:
Paizo is unambiguously a successful company. For which we can all be thankful.
:)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Roonfizzle Garnackle wrote:

Regardless of the noted undisclosed variables inherent in the data .... 68 of the top 100 slots being accredited to Paizo, is something I find encouraging.

I'm sure I'm not the only one!

Note that only 64 of those are actually Paizo products. The other 4 are Kobold Press products, which they have listed as Paizo because we handle their hobby distribution.

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