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So many new D&D books are coming in 2024, no printing company can handle them all

Revised editions of the core rulebook will not be released all at the same time

Vecna reading a death spell from a floating tome. Image: Irina Nordsol Kuzmina/Wizards of the Coast

Earlier this month, Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast revealed its roadmap for 2024. It plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the seminal tabletop role-playing game with a revision of all three of the best-selling 5th edition core rulebooks — the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual. Trouble is, the publishing giant can’t seem to find a printing partner to make them all in a timely fashion.

“We haven’t actually talked publicly about the release schedule yet,” said rules architect Jeremy Crawford earlier this month during a press briefing in Seattle. “We’re having conversations about what that will be, leaning toward a staggered release. Because [...] there are a number of challenges in releasing all three of those at the same time, and they don’t all have to do with just staffing or time.”

The 5th edition Player’s Handbook in particular is a hot commodity in the publishing world. It has ranked among the top 100 best-selling books of any kind on Amazon since 2016 — two years after it was first released. Given the ever larger footprint that D&D has in popular culture, it’s destined to sell quickly again in its glossy new revised 2024 edition. That sales velocity, apparently, is giving Wizards’ traditional printing partners pause.

“Our print runs are pretty darn big,” Crawford said, “and printers are telling us you can’t give us these three books at the same time.”

“The print runs we’re talking about are massive,” added rules architect Chris Perkins. “That’s been not only true of the core books, but also Tasha’s Cauldron [of Everything]. It’s what we call a high-end problem.”

Crawford said that his team isn’t all that worried about the staggered rollout of the revised core rulebooks. The originals were released the same way. But also, the existing 2014 editions still on player’s shelves (and in stock at your local game shop and bookseller of choice) will continue to be compatible with the game.

“We want them to be close enough [together on the release calendar],” Crawford said. “But we also recognize this is not a new edition [of the game]. So people can continue playing with the books that they have, while waiting for each release to come out. It shouldn’t interfere too seriously.”

Wizards has also been making a big push into the digital space. Parent company Hasbro acquired D&D Beyond just one year ago, and several of its biggest releases of 2022 have included digital pre-release copies for those who pre-order. Will the same be true for these revised 5th edition books?

“[It’s] too soon for us to talk about that,” Perkins said. “I don’t think anybody has that answer.”

“Chris and I have the delight of our job [being] almost entirely focused on the content generation,” Crawford said.

You can read more about what to expect in these newly revised core rulebooks in our feature story.

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