Daily Archives: October 5, 2007

D&D 4.0 and Used Books

I have mentioned before, and will no doubt mention again, that one of the perks of my job is that it is located less than a block from my favorite used book store.

It is my favorite because it is large, at least for a used book store in expensive Silicon Valley, clean, well organized, and they play baroque music.

The last is a book store must for me.

They have a very good science fiction and fantasy section.  I once estimated that they had over 14,000 paperbacks in that section alone, less than 5% of which were from the Tek War series. (They have a list of books they do not currently buy and William Shatner figures prominently on that list.)

They also have a couple of shelves of role playing games manuals.  I have actually picked up a few gems there, including some nice Forgotten Realms source books.  I cannot bring myself to buy any of the campaign modules, but the lore and geography of the setting still interests me.

The role playing games section is pretty active.  Books seem to come and go regularly, so I make a point of checking the section every time I go in.

Of course, there is a selection of titles that are not very active at all.  There are some Advanced Dungeons &Dragons 2.0 core books that seem to be glued to the shelves, and the two copies of the little-known EverQuest II role playing game seem to have set up a permanent home.

But other books, like any of the out-of-print FASA stuff, seem to come and go pretty regularly. Good for the store, it keeps them in business, which in turn gives me some place to talk a walk when I need to get out of the office for a while.

One set of books that has been rare on the shelves is any of the Dungeons & Dragons 3.0/3.5 source books.  I recall only seeing a single copy of the 3.0 players guide over the summer, and it did not sit on the shelf long. 

And then came Gencon 2007 and the Dungeons & Dragons 4.0 announcement from Wizards of the Coast.

Despite the fact that Wizards of the Coast is not planning to ship the D&D 4.0 Player’s Handbook until May of 2008, and the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide until June and July respectively, there was some rather sudden movement on the book shelves in the role playing games section.

3.0/3.5 versions of the core game books started appearing on the shelves, peaking at over 20 copies a few weeks back.

My guess is that these came from people who no longer play, but who pay close enough attention to gaming to have heard about the 4.0 announcement and who felt that they had better sell now.

So the population of 3.0/3.5 books grew.

And then, like the receding tide, the population of those books diminished, eventually hitting an equilibrium at around 6 books on the shelf.

As I said, this section of the book store is pretty active and I think that I am just one of many people who catalog it on a regular basis, looking for gems.  I think some of the regulars spotted bargains in the selection.  The copies that were on the shelf were all in very good condition.  I even considered grabbing a pristine copy of the v3.5 Monster Manual that was there one day.  A few people obviously had the same idea.

I will have to watch and see how the stock on the shelf varies between now and next July.