We continue our retrospective look at the hits, surprises and the odd miss from our 2014 series books today - following on from this blog which looked at the first half of our series. This post looks at Elite, Men-at-Arms, New Vanguard, Raid, Warrior and Weapon titles.

 

Elite

Top of the pile: Not a bad way to mark your double century - topping the 2014 scoring charts was none other than ELI 200 World War II Glider Assault Tactics, marking the second consecutive year that a Tactics title has finished as the most popular book in the Elite series.
The surprise package: Usually this would have gone to ELI 199 World War I Battlefield Artillery Tactics which has sold phenomenally well and is already up towards the top of the sales charts in the Elite series, despite having only been on sale for a little over 7 months. But, this title did really well in a book vote a couple of years ago (one of the reasons we commissioned it) so it doesn't come as that much of a surprise that it has sold phenomenally well so far. So instead we are going to go for ELI 198 US World II Parachute Infantry Regiments - which sold strongly around the world, and has even ended up competing with the two Tactics books for bestseller status.
Not quite there yet: As I mentioned in my previous blog, ancient titles tend to sell very strongly, so we are still rooting for ELI 201 The Carthaginians 6th-2nd Century BC which hasn't gone out in quite the numbers we had hoped for. The numbers so far aren't bad, but a year in we were hoping for it to be a bit further ahead...

 

Men-at-Arms

Top of the pile: MAA 493 Hitler's Blitzkrieg Enemies 1940: Denmark, Norway, Netherlands and Belgium came out top dog in the MAA scrap, easily raking in more sales than any of the other MAA titles that were published in 2014. Rather unsurprisingly (given that rather long subtitle) sales were particularly good in Western Europe and Scandinavia for this title.
The surprise package: Another title suggested by you through the book suggestions and book vote has really taken our breath away, and came close to challenging for top spot in the year. MAA 497 Armies of the Russo-Polish War 1919-21 was one of our top selling titles in the run-up to Christmas and has continued selling strongly this year - so well done and thank you to everyone who suggested it, supported it and bought it!
Not quite there yet: I would have liked to see MAA 492 Modern African Wars (4) The Congo finish a bit higher up the list, but it has had a solid enough first year. The title we did have higher hopes for however was MAA 496 The Prussian Army of the Lower Rhine 1815, which we thought would benefit from the sterling groundwork laid by the Waterloo Campaign title. But with the anniversary just around the corner there is still time!

 

New Vanguard

Top of the pile: Another really strong year for New Vanguard saw the top spot nabbed by NVG 209 French Tanks of World War II (1) Infantry and Battle Tanks - which stormed to the top of the list early on and stayed there throughout the year. In fact, it was an allround strong performance from French Tanks, with NVG 213 French Tanks of World War II (2) Cavalry Tanks and AFVs also having a strong year, only narrowly being beaten out of the top three.
The surprise package: In a year where tanks seemed to dominate the sales charts, it was great to see that naval subjects can still take our breath away from time to time - and that was the case when Mark Stille and Paul Wright teamed up again for NVG 214 US Heavy Cruisers 1943–75 Wartime and Post-war Classes. The best-selling NVG title in the US in 2014 and backed up with some decent UK sales it ended up splitting the two French Tank titles in terms of sales.
Not quite there yet: NVG 207 Medium Mark A Whippet exploded out of the traps like its namesake, but faded quite badly round the final corner as the top echelon of NVGs left her in their dust. Very quiet sales in the US were not compensated for by the solid UK sales, leaving one of our favourite titles of the year limping through the final stretch of 2014.

 

Osprey Wargames

Top of the pile: Take a bow OWG 8 Lion Rampant - Medieval Wargaming Rules which led from the front in 2014. Tremendously well received across the gaming world it was the standout success for the OWG line.
The surprise package: Our first set of naval-inspired rules in the OWG series, we didn't really know what to expect from OWG 7 On the Seven Seas: Wargames Rules for the Age of Piracy and Adventure c. 1500-1730 but we didn't need to worry as the book turned out to be one of the sleeper hits for us. And looking at the early response to OWG 9 Fighting Sail it would appear that the future is bright for naval topics in the OWG series.
Not quite there yet: Perhaps it was a little too far out of our usual comfort zone, but the gloriously, crazily fun OWG 6 A Fistful of King-Fu - Hong Kong Movie Wargame Rules came up a little short in 2014.

 

Raid

Top of the pile: It was clearly worth the wait - it may have been delayed by nearly a year but Raid 45 Killing Bin Laden - Operation Neptune Spear 2011 rather unsurprisingly topped the charts with ease for the Raid series in 2014, a performance that in fact launched it up into the top ten series books in terms of sales performance for the entire year.
The surprise package: Despite coming out towards the end of the year, Raid 47 Behind Soviet Lines - Hitler's Brandenburgers capture the Maikop Oilfields 1942 ended up coming second in the sales rankings for Raid in 2014. It also I think wins the race for the longest title of the year surely?
Not quite there yet: With the robust performance of World War II titles in 2014 (and for that matter in 2013) one title did slip under the radar a bit - Raid 44 Carlson's Marine Raiders - Makin Island 1942 didn't quite match the sales standards set by Raid 47 and Raid 43 Kill Rommel! It actually sold pretty well in the US, but was very quiet on this side of the pond.

 

Warrior

Top of the pile: Was it ever in doubt? Could there really be any other winner? Romans continue to dominate the Warrior series with the 2014 race being won by WAR 170 Roman Guardsman 62 BC-AD 324. That is after WAR 166 Roman Legionary AD 69-161 topped the Warrior sales chart in 2013 and WAR 162 Roman Republican Legionary was just pipped into second place by WAR 163 Spartan Warrior in 2012. And with WAR 175 Roman Legionary AD 284-337 already leading the way in 2015 the question is, who or what can stop the Roman behemoth?
The surprise package: With only four books to choose from in 2014 it is pretty tough to choose a surprise package - but we reckon WAR 171 Soviet Partisan 1941-44 just about shades it.
Not quite there yet: Again, with only 4 books out in the Warrior series in 2014 it is pretty harsh  to rate one as not having quite made it to our expectations - but we started this so we are going to finish. And after a quick conflab we can confirm that WAR 173 Mamluk 'Askari 1250-1517 has lagged behind a bit to date.

 

Weapon

Top of the pile: It might have come out comparatively late in the year, but that hasn't stopped WPN 36 Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck by none other than Osprey legend Gordon L Rottman blew away the competition (groan) topping the sales charts for the series in 2014 by quite a significant margin.
The surprise package: WPN 34 The Lewis Gun was the surprise package in 2014 - the Weapon sales charts do tend to be dominated by primarily WW2 weapons, so it is fantastic to see a weapon with an earlier vintage breaking through. Though that said, two of the bestselling titles in the series are The Longbow and Samurai Swords!
Not quite there yet: The most subdued year (so far) in the Weapon series is currently held by WPN 35 The MP5 Submachine Gun, which had a quiet summer and although it picked up towards the end of the year didn't quite get to where we thought it would.


Post Comments

ASM posted on 22 Jun 2015 18:44:41
I am certainly surprised that MP5 (WPN) hasn't become a huge hit yet! It was and is a great book on a fascinating subject that, I thought, would be popular with a broad audience.
KenA posted on 22 Jun 2015 11:21:50
An interesting blog Mike. I’m a bit like Painty in that the subject and the author are both major determinants in my book purchasing.

I’m not surprised that MAA 497: Armies of the Russo-Polish War 1919-21 has done well as there are many Osprey members and customers who wanted, and still want, a Campaign title on this war and purchased this MAA title as a “make do” in the meantime. I was one of them. Bring on a Campaign title Warsaw 1920.

The New Vanguards, I thought, were disappointing in one respect but not really surprising. It was the same old story again with WWII titles again leading the sales. I found Ryan Noppen’s NVG 208: US Navy Dreadnoughts 1914-45 quite interesting but its August release date probably doomed it from hitting the high spots as far as sales are concerned. A bit sad about the Mark A Whippet as it deserves better.

When I look back on Osprey’s publications in 2014 and compare them with those published and to be published in 2015, I find that there are more titles that I am purchasing this year. Does that mean Osprey is doing something right?
Paintybeard posted on 22 Jun 2015 09:39:34
Once again, thanks for this thread Mike, it does offer some interesting insights.

Very pleased by most of the "sleeper hits". I am frequently influenced in which Osprey books I buy by who the author is as much as the subject. I definitely bought "Lewis Gun" on the strength of how good "Bren Gun" had been, and Mr Grant didn't disappoint me. "Mauser Rifles" was equally good and I'm looking forward to whatever he publishes next.

Take the hint from how well the MAA on the Russo-Polish war did and do us a campaign book on the Battle of Warsaw. If Mr Buttar could be persuaded to author it I'm sure it would be a winner.

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