UndergroundWoW have checked in with Nielsen to get the actual number of copies of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King sold in the US. At 20k copies sold it’s not looking good, and their contacts in the publishing trade reckon it’s bound for the remainder bins.
The book had been pimped by Blizzard as making the New York Times Bestsellers list, and it’s worth remembering that the bestsellers lists are compiled weekly, and are all about which books sell most in a single week. So a book with a strong audience who will all buy it as soon as it’s available could make a good showing, for one week at least. Especially in the hardcover fiction section.
Why did it tank? UndergroundWow thinks it was overpriced, badly laid out, and printed on poor quality paper (this is an issue if it’s an expensive book). It’s also not inevitable that all game books will be bad — some of the Warhammer ones are great — but that’s the way to bet.
In this case, Blizzard actually published an excerpt so you can decide for yourself:
Jaina Proudmoore hummed a little as she strode through the gardens of Dalaran. She’d been here for eight years now, and the city never lost its sense of wonder. Everything here emanated magic, and to her it was almost like a scent, a fragrance of everything in bloom, and she inhaled it with a smile.
Yes, I wouldn’t pay $25 for that either. I’ll be amazed if the winning entries to Blizzard’s short story contest don’t crush that one.