Black Diamond Games Blog:
This was posted to Facebook on the Black Diamond Games page last week, if it looks familiar. It shows our year to date RPG sales up 60%, led by Pathfinder up 300%. Of course, the usual caveat applies that this is our store and the RPG industry or game stores in general may not be doing as well. There was a rising tide of RPG sales for us, with most of our top ten publishers increasing.
To answer the most common question: D&D miniatures are not included in this, since we track them in a different category. Paizo accessories like flip mats are included in the Paizo numbers.
I see a clear change in buying habits from our customers. There's definitely a "new normal," but they generally are more free with their money, especially on products they perceive as higher quality. I actually think the quality and utility of RPGs has increased since the beginning of the recession. There's also an interesting PDF phenomena.
I'm now happy to carry print products that were previously PDF. The idea is the PDF has been vetted by the online sales process. The top ones are selected as print products. The distributors then choose which ones are most likely to sell. They're generally right. Those PDF products don't get stocked deep, and many are sold in the dreaded "periodical model," where I buy them once and let them go after a single sale. Still, it's a sale.
Most of these PDF products were for Pathfinder, and honestly it's the one with the widest base for us and the least risk. A Shadowrun PDF, for example, is dangerous as a print product when it's likely our player base (something like four guys) are likely to have bought it already.
This news is no great surprise as I've thought it was probably inevitable. And probably significant, too.