There's A New Online Gaming Store In Town

Billing itself as the home of open gaming, particularly D&D 5th Edition OGL products, a new online store has just opened up. It has been planned by a consortium of top OGL-supporting companies, including Kobold Press, Frog God Games, Troll Lord Games, Green Ronin, Rite Publishing, Super Genius Games, Expeditious Retreat Games, Hero Games, and more. Already it stocks 5E products from these companies, both in electronic and print form. The store is called Tabletop Library. They have announced themselves with a press release which you can see below.



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The new store's main competition is, of course, the monolithic OBS (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, and now DMs Guild, etc.) and, to a lesser extent, Paizo.com, Warehouse 23 (over at Steve Jackson Games) and smaller outfits like d20pfsrd.com's web store. There have been other stores in the past - YourGamesNow closed a couple of years ago (a casino now appears to have the domain) and the EN World GameStore was bought by OBS about 10 years ago. It's a tough market. In terms of sales, I'd estimate that 95% of my own (EN Publishing's) direct PDF sales are at DTRPG, and about 5% at Paizo (not counting Patreon, Kickstarter, and so on, which are an entirely different story). I have tried products on YGN and d20pfsrd's store, but never sold a single item on either of them, which speaks to how tough a nut to crack that segment of the industry is.

The fees at the new store are pretty low. For PDFs, it only takes 25% of a seller's revenues, which is 5%-10% lower than the competition (and 25% lower than DMsG which takes 50%).

PRESS RELEASE

Kobold Press, Frog God Games, Troll Lord Games, Green Ronin, Rite Publishing, Super Genius Games, Expeditious Retreat Games, Hero Games, Rogue Comet, Metallic Dice Games, Pacesetter Games and Simulations, Eldritch Enterprises; Far Future Enterprises and TableTopLibrary.com

March 10, 2016

Kobold Press, Frog God Games, Troll Lord Games, Green Ronin, Hero Games, Rogue Comet; Pacesetter Games and Simulations, Eldritch Enterprises; Far Future Enterprises and TableTopLibrary.com are jointly announcing that, effective immediately, our companies will all be offering our Fifth Edition products through a new RPG download store called TableTopLibrary, as a one-stop shop for OGL Fifth Edition products. TableTopLibrary, website https://tabletoplibrary.com/ is a newly-formed online store for RPG books and pdfs designed to offer both electronic versions and hard copy versions of books produced by your favorite publishers. TabletopLibrary will also offer a full slate of products and resources for other role-playing games, including Pathfinder and OSR-games. All of us will continue our own websites and stores, but TableTopLibrary offers a place to draw all these products together in one place for convenience.

At this time, by coming together as a consortium, we can offer the high-quality products we pride ourselves on; provide a one-stop shopping spot with outstanding customer service; and allow a better experience for publishers, and more importantly, for customers . Centralized electronic book fulfillment, kickstarter fulfillment, and single-location warehousing will improve our delivery speed, accuracy, and customer service in the RPG download market.

Our reasons for setting up a consortium at this time include (1) each partner retains ownership and editorial control over the individual campaign worlds and other “intellectual property” that our fans have known and loved for years; (2) our desire to offer physically higher-quality printing, paper quality, and binding than print on demand outlets offer; and (3) the desire to continue drawing upon and increasing the vast resources of Open Game Content as opposed to other alternatives.

TableTopLibrary is committed to offering a deep and broad-based marketplace of Fifth Edition products, superior to any other online store, as well as many other game system products. We are joined in a partnership of many large publishers in this project, and expect many more to join us as time goes on. TableTopLibrary will be issuing its own press release soon, describing the advantages and the procedures involved in joining.

You can continue buying products directly from each of us, as always. But if you want to browse the whole library of Fifth Edition and other products produced under the Open Game License over the years, we’re letting you know that there’s a new online game store in town.

Check out TableTopLibrary at TableTopLibrary.com - The Leading Source for RPGs and watch us grow! We think you’ll be impressed.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

TerraDave

5ever
To clarify this means 1) All those companies, which include some of the best ones out there, will be doing 5E OGL 2) You can find it all in one place 3) this is about quality print as well as pdf products (so it is not just about an alternative to other pdf sellers).

Again, awesome.
 

Gnarl45

Villager
The deal for publishers is fantastic but the giant list of keywords to refine your search under the page title is just horrible...

I would never buy a product without a preview either.

Good luck guys! I hope this works.
 
Bigger cut for participating companies? Seems so.
"Higher payout: we pay 75% for online sales of pdfs, and 65% for sales of books that are fulfilled through our warehouse in Washington State. These are the highest payout rates available in the RPG industry. Benefit to Joining Early: Publishers who join within the next 8 months or so will have the 75% online payout into the future. For those who join after this period, rates and terms may be revised from what they are now, although we plan on always having a higher payout than the major competition."

Cheaper prices for customers? Probably not. I am guessing it will price parity to other sites, at least for now.

Yet another place I have to manage my library? Seems so. I think I have 3-4 locations now I have "libraries" of these “Anchor Tenants”.

Better curation/review system? Seems no, unless I missed it.

Better site to navigate thru and higher performance? Hard to tell. It does look and feel like a generic wordpress site with a shopify shopping cart.

Bottom line it feels like this is a new place for creators want bigger cuts of their IP/creations and a company wanting to compete against existing channels. Maybe customers will see some tangential benefits, but not many direct benefits for supporting this endeavour. Or at least it should be spelled out better.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
I wonder if this spawned out of the need to create an alternative following the "Incident" several months back surrounding an offensive product.

I guess DriveThruRPG's fees are too high for the above mentioned companies.
DriveThru does take 30-35% of sales. Which is not insignificant. With this, publishers are making 5-10% more.
Which would make sense is the company was small and wasn't making much money, and had to pay for web hosting and the like. But even a moderate selling PDF likely offsets their costs.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I wounder if this spawned out of the need to create an alternative following the "Incident" several months back surrounding am offensive product.
I wouldn't have thought so. I imagine that folks just feel that competition is good, and benefits the consumers in the long run. Of course, that needs the competition to be meaningful (DTRPG doesn't have any meaningful competition).
 

Gnarl45

Villager
DriveThru does take 40% of sales. Which is not insignificant. With this, publishers are making 15% more.
Which would make sense is the company was small and wasn't making much money, and had to pay for web hosting and the like. But even a moderate selling PDF likely offsets their costs.
They only take 30% of my money (exclusive). That's weird, maybe they lowered their cut.
 

Qwillion

Villager
There was an error in the press release its Rogue Genius Games (not Super Genius Games),

Speaking only as the head of Rite Publishing
On my part it had nothing to do with the incident, it had everything to do with simply wanting options. I also want previews and improvements to the site, but that takes time.
 

jreyst

Villager
Hey everyone! John Reyst here. I also run the d20pfsrd.com store (aka http://www.opengamingstore.com) and I'm one of the partners behind this new option. I'll leave the big questions to my partners to respond to but regarding any technical concerns or comments I can attempt to address those.
[MENTION=6787695]Gnarl45[/MENTION]: "The deal for publishers is fantastic but the giant list of keywords to refine your search under the page title is just horrible...
I would never buy a product without a preview either."

I'll be making an effort to manage the keywords (tags) carefully to prevent 9,000,000 of them taking over the page. I'm looking into other presentation options as I type this response. Regarding previews, that's coming in phase 2 of the roll-out. We'll have a feature similar to OBS where you can flip through pages of the products but that wasn't ready in time for the announcement.
[MENTION=6778175]Jefferson Jim[/MENTION]: "Yet another place I have to manage my library? Seems so. I think I have 3-4 locations now I have "libraries" of these “Anchor Tenants”.

We have a rather inventive idea regarding this so keep your eyes open. We're adding developers to the team to build out a powerful tool that you may find a life saver regarding multiple libraries.

"Better curation/review system? Seems no, unless I missed it."

It's there now. I forgot to turn it on!
 

Gnarl45

Villager
I'll be making an effort to manage the keywords (tags) carefully to prevent 9,000,000 of them taking over the page. I'm looking into other presentation options as I type this response. Regarding previews, that's coming in phase 2 of the roll-out. We'll have a feature similar to OBS where you can flip through pages of the products but that wasn't ready in time for the announcement.
I really meant it as a constructive criticism! I really hope this works. It's a bit annoying how your products are barely noticeable in DriveThruRPG because of the non-D&D games.

What language are you guys programming in?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
That's a weird arrangement. So you run two competing PDF stores, [MENTION=2612]jreyst[/MENTION]? What would you say makes the difference between them? As you know, I tried selling on your other store a few years back, but got zero sales in several months, which didn't compensate for the (then) exclusivity loss of 5% from DTRPG, so I pulled the products. I'm not exclusive with DTRPG any more, so that's not really a factor now, but will this new store be able to compete better than the previous one?
 

jayoungr

Explorer
The "Incident"?!?! Ooooooo, do tell! You got me all curious!
Just Google ... and I'm sorry about the title ... Gbheanzrag bs Encvfgf.* You'll find lots of discussion about the controversy dating from around last August/September.

*EDIT: I Rot13'd the title in case it's considered offensive or someone doesn't want to know. To see the actual title, cut and paste it at www.decode.org.
 
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Jester David

Adventurer
The "Incident"?!?! Ooooooo, do tell! You got me all curious!
Okay, I'll try to do this without naming names or getting to specific/critical (i.e. favouring any sides of the discussion).

A Pathfinder-compatible product by a small publisher was released on DriveThru which was, well, abhorrent (it dealt with sexual assault).
This product was reported but DriveThru did not respond. After a day or two, one of the people who noticed (who worked for Paizo) took to Twitter decrying the product and asking why DriveThru had not responded. DriveThru replied that they were looking into the product.
Meanwhile, the CEO of One Book Shelf/DriveThru took to Twitter and began a discussion with the Paizo employee who reported the PDF. His statements could have been read as either a defence of why the product was not pulled or an attempt at a conversation on why white lists and firm rules don't work. This prompted more outrage out of fears DriveThru was condoning the product. A few publishers pulled their PDFs and swore not to deal with OBS.
Aggravating the situation was the fact this all occurring over a weekend and during a convention.

Eventually, the product was pulled. DriveThru issued a statement that when the product had been reported, they reached out to the publisher to give them the opportunity to remove the product (which is apparently their procedure) but the publisher had been on holiday and took time to reply.

It was ugly, to say the least.

In the wake, DriveThru instituted a new policy on offensive material, institute a formal review process, and planned to introduce easier methods to report offensive material and filter content.
It was rather a perfect storm. A poor taste product that triggered strong emotional reactions that was noticed by people who commanded a lot of respect and have a large e-following, exposing a flaw in DriveThru's review policy at a time when their staff was out of the office and the product's publisher was away.
The lack of alternatives to OBS came up regularly, the visibility of self-run stores versus DriveThru, the difficulty of setting up a publisher account on Paizo compared to the ease of OBS. It certainly made some micro-publishers like me realize how much of a monopoly OBS has over the gaming PDF industry.

And that's all I really want to say on "the Incident".
 

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