Games Workshop's pre-orders went up yesterday evening and I am trying to resist re-starting my Skaven army in the face of those Stormfiend Rat Ogres. The character classes are cool too.
However, its the paperback version of Warhammer Armies: Tomb Kings that interests me the most. Unlike the other recent softcovers (the End Times and Shield Of Baal campaign books) there's no real reason to do this: the Tomb King book has been out for several years, there's no shortage or potential shortage to address.
Let's read some tea leaves...
The first and most obvious thing to notice is that this book is, of course, cheaper than the hardcover. The hardcover is £30, this is £22.50, a decent discount but not so large that it would necessarily lead someone waiting for the softcover if the Tomb Kings book were new. Its also a more generous discount than on the softcover End Times books.
Personally, I like the idea of having a hardcover come out first and a softcover later and I'm not against it being applied to Army Books. Just speaking for myself I think I'll keep to the hardcovers, as I say the discount isn't a dealbreaking amount for me and the hardcovers are just more durable. My Vampire Counts book for instance has spent years being flicked through, kept open with a weight and thrown down any old where during games and its pretty much good as new. My softcover Bretonnia book, meanwhile, I've had to replace twice when the shitty glue binding disintegrated under the stress of similar treatment.
It might be a small discount but given the particular item we're talking about it lowers the price of entry into the hobby on one of a new gamer's first purchases. Now, I accept the high price of this hobby as a luxury product provided by a medium size company but I can't say a lower price of entry wouldn't help. I'm not one of those gamers who bitch how “98% of gamers want cheaper models” because I think that claim (that is a direct quote that goes around) is 2% lower than it should be: all gamers want cheaper models but there are economic realities that prevent this from happening, not least of which the fact the models sell well enough at their current price points to be profitable.
I might get a paperback of the Daemons Of Chaos book, though, or for other books where I want the background but not to play the army and put the book under all those stresses that keep causing my Bretonnia books to discorporate. So that's extra sales, at least potentially, made by offering customer choice.
Do I feel cheated, though, about having spent more money than I seem to have needed to on the hardcover? No, because I wanted the book and as I've demonstrated even if a softcover had been available then I'd have preferred the more durable hardcover. In fairness I also handed that money over four years ago so I more than understand if someone got the book last week they'd be more justified in being pissed off.