ICv2 reported today that for the second day in a row, the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook ranked #1 in Amazon's Books Best Sellers list. As of today, the Handbook slipped to second place. It also topped Amazon's Science Fiction & Fantasy Books category, slipping to sixth place today. Several factors likely contributed to the book's dominance, including the release of the free version of the rules in PDF form, the celebration of Dungeons & Dragons' 40th anniversary this year, and the record number of attendees at Gen Con.
While Wizards of the Coast has yet to officially release an Open Game License for Dungeons & Dragons, it skipped the middleman and released a Basic version of the game to the Internet for free. This has whetted the appetites of gamers on the fence about playing the game, allowing them to "try before you buy" without the significant barrier to entry of buying three expensive hardcover books.
Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary this year was also a contributing factor for the sales surge. My review of the Player's Handbook summed up the sentiment from a lot of gamers at Gen Con -- it's different, but in a good way:
And yet my keenly honed 3.5 D&D senses twitch every time there's a rule that doesn't explain itself. This new system relies heavily on the ability saving throws and advantage/disadvantage, a combination that can cover just about every situation. For those of us accustomed to enjoying the dance of checking which rule will give you enough bonuses to succeed, this edition will likely throw you off-balance -- D&D is no longer exclusively the domain of the tactical. I think that's a good thing.
According to ICv2, the Player's Handbook sold quite well at Gen Con:
Sales on the new edition are “scary good” across channels, according to a WotC executive, and the excitement surrounding it gave the entire RPG category a boost at the show.
You can purchase the Player's Handbook at Amazon.com.