Want To Earn $50 Scanning Classic D&D Books?
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  • Want To Earn $50 Scanning Classic D&D Books?


    The article title sounds like a spam email, but it's a real thing. DTRPG, which runs D&D Classics (now folded into the DM's Guild online store) is looking for help building its digital library of old D&D modules. To that end, the company is offering a $50 fee to anyone who scans a classic title they own. It needs to be high quality and meet some specifications, of course. There's a list of few hundred titles they're currently looking for.



    Here's the list/spreadsheet of titles they are seeking; it will be updated with titles they've received scans for ("Pending") and those which have been accepted ("Submitted"). There are tabs for OD&D, 1E, 2E, Dragonlance Fifth Age, 3E, and 3.5. If you have one of these titles and want to send in a scan you need to fill out this form.

    The $50 is added as credit to your DTRPG account, and you can cash it out via PayPal or you can spend it in store.

    More info? Click here.

    The main problem is that the prescribed scanning process involves you destroying your book (and that doesn't even guarantee they'll accept it). DTRPG asks you to cut off the spine and use a sheet-fed scanner. Given the classic status of older titles, the book itself may be worth more than $50 to you. That said, a lot of them can be found on eBay for reasonable prices, so it may be worth it. I, personally, am incapable of destroying, selling, or losing a book, but that's just me.
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. Kramodlog's Avatar
      Kramodlog -
      ... So what has been stopping the catalogue to incease is available scans?

      That is a surprise, to say the least.
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      The "50 or so titles" is just for 3.5.

      The spread sheet has tabs, so 1E has about 75 titles. The weird thing is that I am sure some of these are already scanned. Maybe they want better copies?
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by TerraDave View Post
      The "50 or so titles" is just for 3.5.

      The spread sheet has tabs, so 1E has about 75 titles. The weird thing is that I am sure some of these are already scanned. Maybe they want better copies?
      I didn't notice the tabs. Thanks!
    1. TerraDave's Avatar
      TerraDave -
      Ah, the announcement notes 600 or so titles to go.

      Though again, I think they have some of them.
    1. jerryrice4949's Avatar
      jerryrice4949 -
      Looks like scans for print on demand the way the files need to be set up.
    1. prosfilaes's Avatar
      prosfilaes -
      That's weird. Given the books that can be bought for less than $50, why don't they have someone doing this? They could get better scans more reliably by doing it in-house. Is it just saving money by being able to reject bad scans?
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      My guess is time, a parallel effort by lots of gamers will get it done sooner.
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Makes sense. WotC likely only has one copy in their library, and is unwilling to destroy it.

      Some of the older folios shouldn't be too hard. Take a tin snipper to the staples, scan, and then re-staple. And a lot of copies still remain of many of the other 3e ones, so people might have doubles or know of cheap copies.

      The 2nd Edition ones will be trickier...
    1. Sword of Spirit's Avatar
      Sword of Spirit -
      If getting better scans means those scans will then be available to those of us who already purchased that title...*thumbs up*
    1. Torg Smith -
      I have to say, I am glad they are doing this. I was getting worried when Mike Mearls was making reference to if they have a digital version of some book on Twitter.

      The down side to this is there is no mention of the older editions of Gamma World and Top Secret. I was eager for those to show up on DriveThruRPG.
    1. HonorBoundSamurai632's Avatar
      HonorBoundSamurai632 -
      And of course, I have tons on that list (mostly from the 1st and 2nd edition list, even some from the 3.5 list too) ..... but don't own a printer.
    1. chibi graz'zt's Avatar
      chibi graz'zt -
      This has the potential for real awesome.
    1. SerHogan's Avatar
      SerHogan -
      I could make some serious platinum if my old modules didn't have notes and highlights scribbled all over them...
    1. Jhaelen -
      Well, I have all of the Fantastic Locations supplements and wouldn't mind separating the pages of the booklet. But I have no idea how to scan the poster maps without cutting them into pieces, which I definitely won't do.

      Edit: Oh, there's several tabs! I've been wondering already why they weren't looking for older supplements... I have all of the 2e Dark Sun and most of the Planescape stuff, hmm...
    1. Delazar -
      I've got a complete collection of several 2e campaign settings (Planescape, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, Birthright, Spelljammer, Mystara, Dark Sun, Al-Qadim), but what if I scan it, and they say "sorry, in the meanwhile we already got that" or "sorry, not good enough..."

      I need some more insurances that I'm not going to destroy my books for nothing.
    1. Nine Hands's Avatar
      Nine Hands -
      Quote Originally Posted by prosfilaes View Post
      That's weird. Given the books that can be bought for less than $50, why don't they have someone doing this? They could get better scans more reliably by doing it in-house. Is it just saving money by being able to reject bad scans?
      Well, it only costs them $25 or so since its store credit. Plus they don't have to pay someone to do it and, as someone mentioned, it is a parallel effort.
    1. Benji's Avatar
      Benji -
      Yeah, I have like a ton of these books but unless they're actually falling apart, then I'm not shredding them. No wonder they don't have the 30th ed celebration, who's gonna kill that?
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by prosfilaes View Post
      That's weird. Given the books that can be bought for less than $50, why don't they have someone doing this? They could get better scans more reliably by doing it in-house. Is it just saving money by being able to reject bad scans?
      As mentioned, since it's credit, they only need to give out 60% to the author and keep 40%.
      And even if they could purchase a book for $25 they'd still need someone to scan, and that's pricey and time consuming. Likely more than a couple hours.

      Also, it assumes they have an "in house". I'm nit sure but I'd expect DriveThru to be a virtual company without a physical location. Since publishers tend to supply the PDFs, they might not even have a scanner. There's no need.
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      Quote Originally Posted by Benji View Post
      No wonder they don't have the 30th ed celebration, who's gonna kill that?
      Yep, no way I'm taking that apart!

      I'm slightly bemused that they're looking for scans of the 2nd Edition "Core Rules" CD-ROMs.

      And I'm also slightly shocked that WotC don't have digital files for most of the 3e/3.5e stuff from which they could generate PDF versions.
    1. Xavian Starsider's Avatar
      Xavian Starsider -
      Have they tried pirate bay? Haha
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