Army Book Pricing

ValentinesAshes
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September 26th, 2013, 1:52 pm #1

The Island of Blood rulebook has always been good enough for me. The only difference between it and the biblical hardback version is a shedload of pictures and fluff, which I get enough of in my army books.

I'm not too bothered by the price of newly released army books as you're covering the cost of its development, but once something's been out for a while (thus likely paid for itself already) you'd expect its price to drop accordingly. Everything else depreciates in value, so why not Games Workshop stuff? It's perhaps a little naïve a viewpoint but there you go. My friends all wait a month (sometimes not even that...) and then download a PDF copy from the internet. They'd probably go out and buy one if the price came down a bit.

The thing that grinds my gears is how these army books are written to sell products rather than provide balanced rules. Heaven forbid that their models be sold for their quality, not when you can just write some crooked rules to make it a must-have in any army list. Damn that Skull Cannon of Khorne in all its stupid ugly awesomeness...
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SkavenDan
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September 26th, 2013, 3:23 pm #2

ValentinesAshes wrote:The thing that grinds my gears is how these army books are written to sell products rather than provide balanced rules. Heaven forbid that their models be sold for their quality, not when you can just write some crooked rules to make it a must-have in any army list. Damn that Skull Cannon of Khorne in all its stupid ugly awesomeness...
lol the number of Skull Cannons I have seen painted up as nurgle is just stupid errrrr I have a nurgle army whats that cannon then it's green that doesn't make it nurgle!
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snowblizz
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September 26th, 2013, 5:02 pm #3

ValentinesAshes wrote: Damn that Skull Cannon of Khorne in all its stupid ugly awesomeness...
The official designation of that model is a Skillcannon. Cause you know... it requires so much skill to use one.
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Sleboda
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September 26th, 2013, 7:08 pm #4

ValentinesAshes wrote:My friends all wait a month (sometimes not even that...) and then download a PDF copy from the internet. They'd probably go out and buy one if the price came down a bit.
Then your friends are feeloading crooks.

They want the item but have decided that it's too expensive. Rather than doing the moral and legal thing and simply not purchasing the item that they desire, they just steal it. Nice friends. Better hope they never take a shine to any of your possessions...

Look, I don't know you or your friends, but what "grinds my gears" (to use your phrase) is people thinking that (and supporting others who think that) it's ok to just take something you want if they, personally, feel the owner of the thing as asking too much for it.

Don't want to pay the price asked? Then don't buy it. End of story - not "don't buy it...just take it instead."
True scholars have more than just one book to study.
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Skavendrool
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September 27th, 2013, 1:15 am #5

>Don't want to pay the price asked? Then don't buy it. End of story - not "don't buy it...just take it instead."

I agree. But for me, $50 for an army book, where half the cost is for the glossy pictures that are intended to sell more product, AND it only includes the rules for a single one of the what, 12? factions? is excessive. So I haven't bought (nor illegally acquired!) the Empire book, and I doubt that I'll buy the Skaven one whenever it comes up for revision. I won't steal them, but I probably won't buy them either. Which means that my involvement in Warhammer winds down.
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ValentinesAshes
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September 27th, 2013, 9:19 am #6

Sleboda wrote:Better hope they never take a shine to any of your possessions...
That's a little unfair. Kind of reminds me of the "You wouldn't steal a..." advertisement that tried to float the idea that buying a knockoff DVD or illegally downloading a film was in the same league as stealing someone's car. I'm not condoning theft of any sort but not everything should warrant the removal of the perpetrator's hand.

In my friend's defence, they normally buy the books eventually so at most they're guilty of "illegal testing", which I think is fair given that Games Workshop aren't going to give a refund if they buy the book, take it home, play a few games, find that what they've just bought is a steaming pile of poo, and then return it. Sure, you can browse in-store, but how many people can claim to be able to grasp exactly how an army will play from a quick ten minute flick-through of an army book under the judging eyes of a Games Workshop employee...

Anyway, what I was trying to put across before the focus landed on the typical knee-jerk pirates-are-worse-than-Hitler rant, was that if the price were a little lower - say £20 instead of £30 - then you'd get more people buying and less people stealing... or "illegally testing".

Games Workshop pretty much have their customers by the short-and-curlies and they know it. No one wants to leave the hobby after investing so much time and money into it, so the new army book is pretty much a must-have. So what do Games Workshop do? They profiteer, charging a premium for something that they know their customers can't be without.

I reckon Games Workshop ought to do a trade-in discount, whereby you can opt to hand over your old army book for a discount of the new one. I mean, customer loyalty ought to be rewarded, and in discounting one product you ensure the continued custom - and therefore profit - from the customers (who have probably already contributed a hefty sum towards the success of Games Workshop already).
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Sleboda
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September 27th, 2013, 2:27 pm #7

ValentinesAshes wrote:]That's a little unfair. Kind of reminds me of the "You wouldn't steal a..." advertisement that tried to float the idea that buying a knockoff DVD or illegally downloading a film was in the same league as stealing someone's car. I'm not condoning theft of any sort but not everything should warrant the removal of the perpetrator's hand.
...what I was trying to put across before the focus landed on the typical knee-jerk pirates-are-worse-than-Hitler rant
=> I fully appreciate there are levels of moral decrepitude. I never implied hand removal or invoked Hitler. Bit of an overstatement by you, I'm afraid.

That said, there are several things you said I do agree with.

GW really should be putting out a free 'tester' of the rules in their books. I've been an advocate of this approach for ages now. Release the rules-only (no pictures, no stories, just rule after rule after rule) version of the books as free-to-download PDFs (and other formats) and stick new ones in White Dwarf as each army is released. Then sell me a book that has all the art, all the awesome stuff, and oh-by-the-way-free-copy-of-the-rules. The benefits would be two fold:
1) They could easily update the freebie version as balance issues were found.
2) People (like me) could stop bitching about having to pay $50 for rules that suck since the rules in the $50 Awesome Version of the book would be marketed as a free throw-in and that you are really paying for everything else in the book.

The other thing you touched on that I agree with is that GW should accept returns on their books if people find them to be error filled and unworkable. Just because it's a book doesn't mean it should get a free pass for containing actual, hones to goodness, real problems with being able to be used. If a rule as presented (and sold to you) is literally unplayable, and you have paid money for that rule, then surely you are entitled to a refund sine the product is, factually speaking, not able to perform the task it purports to execute.

wrote:I reckon Games Workshop ought to do a trade-in discount, whereby you can opt to hand over your old army book for a discount of the new one. I mean, customer loyalty ought to be rewarded, and in discounting one product you ensure the continued custom - and therefore profit - from the customers (who have probably already contributed a hefty sum towards the success of Games Workshop already).
=> This one is another I like but can't see them ever doing. Yeah, it would be swell if they gave you $10 off the purchase of the new army book if you trade in your old one. It would not cost them much, as I believe most people would keep their old one for nostalgia reasons, but it would make them look good. It's just too bad they don't have a Marketing Department that could show them how to make more money and have happier customers. Right now it's "make more money, and if customers are happy, that's a nice little perk."

EDIT: Just had this bit hit me
wrote: if the price were a little lower - say £20 instead of £30 - then you'd get more people buying and less people stealing... or "illegally testing".
=> Problem there is thresholds. What is "a little lower" enough? For you, it's a 33% discount. That's actually not even close to "a little" lower. GW probably knows (not "likes" or "accepts" or "condones") that some people steal their books instead of paying for them, but thinks that at a a high enough price, the lost sales are made up for compared to the substantially reduced profits from selling more at a lower price.

It actually doesn't matter if we are talking about theft or not, in the analysis it's just a question of "If we sell at X, how many copies will we move compared to if we sell at Y?" They have been doing this sort of analysis for decades now. I know. I sat in pricing meetings when I was in GW Trade Sales in the US. Our sales manager at the time could set prices and one more than one occasion he jacked up a US retail price on an item, much to our chagrin as the Sales Team (who bemoaned how much harder it would be to sell them at that price), with the justification that while we may sell fewer, each one will be much more profitable.

The other component, and I touched on it a bit, is that one man's "a bit" is not the same as another's. No price will ever be low enough to satisfy everyone until the thing is free, and even then you'll have people complaining that they have to put to much effort into the act of obtaining the free thing. It's a dangerous path to go down to lower a price in an effort to find the magical level that sells enough units to make up for lost profits. It's actually a smarter move to keep increasing prices, losing some customers along the way, and seeing if your profits increase at a rate that offsets lost volume.
True scholars have more than just one book to study.
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ValentinesAshes
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September 27th, 2013, 5:11 pm #8

I don't understand why your opening statement had to be so defensive, Sleboda. You're the one that insulted the company I keep, remember. The hardened criminals I call friends from whom I should lock my possessions away. A bit of an overstatement in itself, as well as downright offensive. I just hope that your high horse isn't marred by any of your own indiscretions - it simply wouldn't do for someone to cast stones if they're not themselves without sin. With that said, we might to well to agree to disagree and move on.

Anyway, back on (or, more accurately, off) topic, most online third-party Games Workshop stockists manage a 20% discount and still make a profit. My local gaming club offers 25% discount, and until recently Mythreal offered 30%. 33% really isn't that much coming from the source and it makes me wonder what sort of markup Games Workshop has on its products.

I do agree with your point about human nature and everyone always wanting something for nothing. It goes the other way too though, with companies becoming greedy because of the hold they have on their customer base.
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Nurglitch IX
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September 27th, 2013, 5:37 pm #9

ValentinesAshes wrote:Anyway, back on (or, more accurately, off) topic, most online third-party Games Workshop stockists manage a 20% discount and still make a profit. My local gaming club offers 25% discount, and until recently Mythreal offered 30%. 33% really isn't that much coming from the source and it makes me wonder what sort of markup Games Workshop has on its products.
You should see the problem you've created immediately, but I'll illustrate it for those who missed it.

GW stockiests provide both game bits, and play spaces. Your local club even more play space I'd wager. If GW undercuts their prices, people go to GW for models. Since the store is no longer getting any sales, they're soon close out their stock. The store might still let you play there, but they're not going to be happy about it, and they'll probably try to sell you on another game. Your club closes and it's just gone. 2 months later, when you can't find a place to play, you quit buying GW product all together.

The Full retail that GW charges on it's retail isn't there because they don't love us, it's there because undercutting their own supply partners results in DRASTIC decreases in sales. Yes, some after markets that don't have high overheads can afford to loose some profit to increase sales, but not all can, and it's the slice GW gets FROM THEM that determines how deep a cut can be made in final numbers.

I'd wager that if you divided "profit" by "sales" for 2014 you'd find we're under 2%.
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snowblizz
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September 27th, 2013, 6:26 pm #10

Or alternatively GW could get the heck out of competing with their own customers and just do what they claim to be doing. Making miniatures. Leave retailing to those who know it.

Problem is that my local store doesn't have any play spaces or anything. So whose hobby am I subsidizing and why?
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