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I would like to know where I can find a list, or anything really, that indicates which printing of the PHB/DMG is the latest.

To make this extremely clear, I am not asking how to identify which print I have (looking at the printer's key), I am searching for any official sources that state i.e "The last printing of the PHB/DMG is the 14th version" or whatever.

Keep in mind the Errata for both the PHB and the DMG no longer contain the "All the updates here appear in the Xth printing of the book" like in the 2018 errata.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already and see the help center or ask us here in the comments (use @ to ping someone) if you need more guidance. Good Luck and Happy Gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Aug 31, 2022 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ In case others aren't sure which version of the PHB they have: How do I know which printing of the PHB I have? That doesn't answer which version is the latest, though, so this question isn't a dupe. \$\endgroup\$
    – Red Orca
    Aug 31, 2022 at 13:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ To clarify, are you only looking for a statement from WoTC (like your example from the errata) or did you want any 'official' source - and if so, how do you define official. Also, what are you needing this for to solve. Potentially there is another Q&A that can more directly help if you can help us understand what your need is. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:55

2 Answers 2

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The information you want is not available, but using the ISBN and printer's key and search WorldCat you can (potentially) get a good approximation, or contact Wizard's of the Coast directly and ask

There are two routes to the information you seek:

  1. Hope the records are in a publicly searchable database
  2. Ask the publisher

The publicly searchable database route

The ISBN is the International Standard Book Number that publishers use to identify a unique book.

A separate ISBN is assigned to each edition and variation (except reprintings) of a publication. For example, an ebook, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover edition of the same book will each have a different ISBN assigned to it.[15]: 12  The ISBN is thirteen digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and ten digits long if assigned before 2007.c An International Standard Book Number consists of four parts (if it is a 10-digit ISBN) or five parts (for a 13-digit ISBN).

So on the basis of this, the D&D 5e books will have a 13 digit ISBN (since they were all initially published after 2007).

The ISBN is broken up into 5 distinct sections:

  • GS1 prefix (3 digits, currently either 978 or 979)
  • registration group (0 & 1 for English language books - 1 digit, can be up to 5 digits for other registration groups)
  • registrant [aka publisher] (2 - 7 digits)
  • Publication Element (1-6 digits depending on the registrant length)
  • check digit (1 digit)

The PHB ISBN is: 978-0-7869-6560-1

You can search for publishers on the Global Register of Publishers provided by the International ISBN Agency (the global body responsible for administering ISBNs).

If we do that for Wizards of the Coast we find that they have four ISBN Prefixes assigned to them:

  • 978-0-7430
  • 978-0-7869
  • 978-1-57530
  • 978-1-880992

So they have two in each English language registration group, with the PHB printing I have being published in the 7869 one.

Books also have a number of printings available, represented by a string of numbers separated by spaced (1-10) known as the Printer's key printed on the copyright page (and occasionally the title page). For each printing of the book (after the first) the relevant number of the previous printing is removed from the string.

For my book, this printer's key is

9 8 7

This indicates that my book is the 7th printing of this book.

It also includes the text

(This printing includes corrections.)

indicating that the text has been corrected since the first printing.

The WorldCat website is the world's largest library catalog of books, that allows you to search by ISBN.

So, if we do that for the Player's Handbook for 5th edition (using the ISBN listed above) we get 8 results (though the filters list 18 separate entries, with 17 of those being English, so there is some amalgamation happening in the WorldCat results).

In these results there are three separate "Print Book" years:

  • 2021 (in Dutch)
  • 2018 (in English)
  • 2014 (in English)

So, at the very least there have been two sets of print years of the English edition of the Player's Handbook, 2014 & 2018, with the 2014 year having at least 7 print runs (based on my book and when I bought it).

If we take the filter information presented into account, this suggests that there have been (potentially) 17 English language printings of the PHB.

Unfortunately, beyond this, there is no canonical source of information as book publishers are not required to record anywhere when they do a new print run of a given book.

Neither Amazon (the largest seller of books in the world), nor Google Books (the largest repository of online book information in the world) have this information available.

Ask the publisher

The only entity in the world that may have print run records is the publisher, in this case Wizards of the Coast. So the second route is to ask them and hope they say "here you go".

Note: I say may because some companies may not care about print run records and just delete them after the fiscal year they were used for is complete.

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    \$\begingroup\$ How does this jive with WoTC's direct statement in the 2018 errata that there have been 12 printings. This was why I deleted my answer because the info doesn't match and OP seems to be asking for WoTC sourcing (but maybe I read that too literally - I asked in comments to clarify.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch re-prints of exactly the same text before another print run is complete or shortly thereafter might not get an updated number in the printer key - they extend the original contract, but the printing house (wotc) might consider it a separate printing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Aug 31, 2022 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch it doesn't conflict with it (in that WorldCat's filters list 17 possible English language entries for this ISBN at the current time). But absent a publication from WotC stating this, we just don't know. Also as Trish mentions, there may be conflicts between what the printing company views as a separate run, and what WoTC views as a separate run. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Aug 31, 2022 at 15:02
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I assume you're looking to make sure you have the most recent rules version. Not every print run contains different rules. In fact, as far as I know there are only three versions of the 5e PHB out there: The original printing, the errata version, and the 2018 update.

On the Copyright page, near the bottom, you should see a listing for "First Printing" and a date.

If that says "First Printing: October 2018" then you should have the most recent rules, regardless of which print run it's from. As far as I'm aware, there have been no PHB updates since 2018.

If the first printing is shown as 2014, then you have either the original run or the errata version. I don't know which printing includes the errata, but if it's the errata version, there should be some text in that area that says "This printing includes corrections to the first printing."

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    \$\begingroup\$ OP is specific in that this isn't what they're looking. They are looking for an official statement, like in the errata from WoTC, about the printings of the PHB/DMG. My own research is showing 3 printings, but the errata says 12. /shrug. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the answer I'm giving is the best answer that can be had. They no longer list which errata are in which version because the 2018 version contains all the errata and updates, and at the time of writing, all new printings of the PHB are identical to the 2018 version. PHB 2018 has not been errata'd at this point and remains the latest version of the rules. They don't announce when a new print run is made because it's just not relevant. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2022 at 14:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I get the answer you're giving is the best you think can be had, but it isn't what OP is asking for and I'm not sure a 'frame challenge' is appropriate for OP - but maybe they'll clarify and I can undelete my answer that I realized wasn't appropriate either. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:18

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