Let's talk about printing & shipping RPG books


Ah thanks. If he means "2024 Core" (based on the assumed $60) then it makes sense.

Yeah, I think that they'll be $59.95, but I don't know it. I'm not 100% sure that it's actually been decided yet.

Keep in mind that this is the same company that raised the price on Magic on nearly every set that came out for three years, and they're trying to do the same thing - desperately raise the company's stock value, at the expense of their customer base.

One of the reasons that I'm so critical of the price hike is not that I think that it - by itself - is a terrible thing. Like many have said, holding the price steady for 10 years was a pleasant surprise. BUT... I'm worried that it means the end of the VERY SMART BUSINESS mentality that I believe is (among other factors) a bit part of 5e's success story. IF it turns out to just be a single necessary increase, it'll be fine. OTOH, if it's the start of some new initiative to turn "print" into "high-end luxury" items, well... that would be BAD. Time will tell.
All fair.

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Over on the OSR side, both Shadowdark and The Monster Overhaul are using that space for the charts that need to be consulted most often in both books, saving DMs unnecessary page-flipping.

Use every bit of useful space!
I recently took the plunge and bought the OSE boxed set along with Winter's Daughter and Halls of the Blood King. When I first opened up Halls of the Blood King and noticed the maps printed on the inside cover, I loved the idea and wondered why more publishers don't do that.


A distributor will often handle the next bit. They'll take around 50% of the cover price of the book. I don't know what arrangements WotC has, but I expect they're better than those that small publishers like us get. Still, it's a big chunk of the RRP. So for a $50 book, very very roughly, the distributor gets $25, you pay, say, $5 in production and shipping (likely much less if you're printing at the scale of WotC), leaving you with $20. Of course, those are not the only costs in making a book--that's just one cost out of many. A lot of stuff has to come out of that remaining $20!

One thing that I see missed that should still be the case for WotC that isn't for small press is eating returns.


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
While that's true, $50 each for the core books was pretty steep in 2014. I mean, compare them to the 4e books, that were $40 each in 2008, or $50 in today's money. A loss-leader to be sure, but then, so are the 5e books, just not as "generous" of a loss-leader. Until now, that is. Now the 5e books are priced the same as the 4e ones, in relative money. (Until they raise the price, which we all know is about to happen).
$40 in 2008 is $57.49 now.


My understanding is it's a force of the book trade but yeah, I dunno for certain beyond it was one of the last stakes in TSR.
It was a fairly unusual deal, at least at the rate TSR was pushing it: they avoided the costs of printing by borrowing the funds from the printer on condition of accepting returns.

WotC books show up in outlets like Half Price Books, set why aren't being returned.

The Grinning Frog

@Morrus, how much cost do ribbon bookmarks add? They're incredibly common in books published by smaller publishers -- and I always appreciate them -- and I'm genuinely confused why WotC doesn't include them. Are they a significant cost upgrade? And if so, what made you include them?

Secondarily, do you have any estimates on how much more expensive printed end pages are? I see a lot of non-WotC publishers either putting extra art there or useful tables, and it always strikes me as wasted space when publishers don't print something there, but I have no idea if it's a prohibitive cost.
I print in the UK using Mixam and if a book run is costing me say £2000 (125-150 books maybe), then the ribbons will likely add £125-£175 to that. That's an approximate but you can see it yourself on their online calculator.

It makes the ribbons a considerable expense when you print in small volumes. I tend to make it a stretch goal on my Kickstarters but I'm certainly not making any profit when from the ribbons and that enhanced tier. Mixam don't offer printed end pages so I can't comment on that.

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