Saturday, August 22, 2009

Question For You Guys Concerning Print vs PDF Release

Does it make a difference to you that I release the PDFs a week after the print version goes on sale?

I'm sure it miffs the PDF buyers a small bit, but does it make a difference to you print buyers?

I do it because I want first-day print buyers to have a chance to have their purchase in their hands no later than the first PDF buyers. Since it's all mail-order right now, that means there's going to be a lag between purchase and arrival.

(I don't do the "pdf with print purchase" because I don't want to undercut distributors by offering a perk for ordering direct, and it's hard enough trying to get people to carry it without trying to require them to pass along order information for PDF delivery as well.)

If people do care, then I'll continue to do it this way. If it really doesn't make a difference, then no reason to stagger the releases.

So let me know. :)


  1. As someone who held out to get print DFD over PDF I don't care because waiting for paper was important (and I suspect I'll buy the PDF eventually anyway).

    That said, it's a nice touch to those of use who pay the extra for print. I suspect it might move one or two sales from PDF to print. Also, I'm sure it makes nice with Noble Knight Games.

    Based on all of that I'd say keep doing it.

  2. I would say it is very considerate of you to do it staggered as you are. I appreciate the consideration (as I am a print buyer myself...I stare at computers enough as it is!).

    Of course, I still haven't bought anything of yours yet, Raggi, but pay day's a-coming!

  3. I buy print copies of your cheaper items, pdf's of your more expensive stuff. Since I get paid fortnightly, the lag between print and pdf doesn't bother me.

  4. Let me put it from the other side... as a PDF buyer, it seems pretty reasonable to stagger the PDFs later than print. I have too much paper and too many books to store now, even after ten years of winnowing down a collection of books and RPGs that was so impractical to move or even track, so I actually like being able to pick and choose what I have in paper.

    All that said, I think that shipping print copies first is smart, so that early purchasers don't end up feeling short-changed and having to wait longer for the print version. I'm down with that.

  5. Sorry, I still don't understand why publishers release PDF's of items they are trying to sell in retail.

    PDF sales detract from all potential sales as one guy buys it on PDF and then the whole group gets it.

    RPG publisher's have created this f'd up distribution model that undercuts their ability to get placement at retail while simeltaneously under cutting their potential sales at the same time. Again one guy buys a PDF and either gives it to his buddies or posts it and it gets downloaded by thousands. One PDF leads to substantial financial damage to any publisher trying to make money and sustain their business on a new release.

    But Pathfinder you cry? Swords & Wizardry you point out! RUBBISH!! How many hundreds? Thousands? of sales will they not make now because the down load is free? Sure you may think it actually made them more sales, but could not a free sample chapter have done the same instead of giving away the whole book?

    Sorry you can't argue it any other do I know? Because the biggest publishers globally do not follow this model. Show me which major publisher is selling PDF's of their books along side or shortly after each novel release. Yup, that's what I thought.

  6. I tend to prefer simultaneous release. That way I can buy whatever version I want when the product goes on sale.

  7. Pretty soon RPGnow will offer options for offering PDFs with print sales, with the possibility of offering discounts on PDFs (even free) when someone buys the print version.

    But to answer your question, I'm not sure in terms of sales whether it matters one way or another. Sometimes people buy a cheaper PDF who wouldn't likely pay more for the print version, while others prefer the print version exclusively. In the end I think the simplest answer is do whatever is most convenient for you as a publisher.

  8. Jeff Rients said...
    I tend to prefer simultaneous release.

    Oh, too. But about the pdfs, I'll pick up free ones, but I won't buy one. I just see them as adds for the real thing.

  9. Fenway5;

    You make quite bold claims regarding the sale of PDFs and the sale of printed products. Would you like to provide some citations or further proof for it?

    Why would PDFs reduce sales? There are people who release books as free PDFs and sell them for considerable profit. Coelho is a famous example. With free PDF increasing sales, how would one with cost reduce them?

    Downloaded PDF is not a lost sale. It is advertising.

  10. @Fenway5

    While certainly passionate, I don't think your opinion reflects the reality of the market.

    I have a regular amount I spend on rpg products. I probably buy around 20 pdfs to every one print product, largely because it's cheaper for me to print a pdf than pay international postage and currency exchange on a print product.

    I don't share the pdfs I purchase with anyone else. I will also check out a free product and if I like it, then purchase a copy (either print or upgraded pdf version) purely to support the OSR. From reading what publishers have said, I don't think I am an isolated case as a customer.

    My rpg spending would be slashed to almost zero if companies didn't sell pdfs.

  11. I don't care much either way but I am much more of a fan of actually having a hard copy. I suppose what ever is most economically viable for you.

  12. The anti-pdf rant is just that, a rant. I make 90% of my RPG purchases in PDF format... I simply don't have room for more gaming books and the vast majority of the PDFs are extremely readable on my Kindle DX.

    Hmmm, I guess publishers don't release the latest fiction and bestsellers in e-book format. Or textbooks. Or cookbooks. Or magazines. Or newspapers. Or...

    Back to the main topic. I like to get my PDFs when I want them. Waiting a few extra days for the PDF sucks, but is nothing new. Won't change my buying habits one bit ;)