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.

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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.
 

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Dire Bare

Legend
WotC's actually been at this business of "digitfying" their classic titles for a long time now. They started the process in house, then subcontracted out to a "former-WotC-employee-small-gaming-company", and now it's in the hands of One Bookshelf.

Making a digital record of all past products is not an easy undertaking, it's time intensive (which is also cost intensive), and quality originals are not always easy to come by. And there are a LOT of products in WotC's back catalog, and that's if we only count D&D! Plus the motivation on WotC's part has waxed and waned over the years.

But that's basically what they are finishing up right now, is creating digital copies of past products. Looks like the D&D back catalog will be mostly taken care of . . . . but it's still a question if the same effort will be made for less popular games like Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Boot Hill, and all of the other RPG properties WotC has the rights to.

You do hit on a good point, WotC doesn't have full publication rights to some of the oldest products . . . mostly individual articles from the oldest issues of Dragon Magazine. The effort to track down the rights holders, convince them to part with their rights (or license them) is likely higher than WotC or One Bookshelf is willing to undertake. So don't expect every single issue of Dragon to make it's way to the DM's Guild, sadly.
 

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Cergorach

The Laughing One
Didn't the folks that did this (with a D&D license) before DTRPG existed do this better? They used the images, but text was laid out anew, ect.
 

delericho

Legend
Didn't the folks that did this (with a D&D license) before DTRPG existed do this better? They used the images, but text was laid out anew, ect.

The scans I have from back then (which are few) are very much a mixed bag - some are pretty high quality, but most of them are pretty poor. I think (and hope) that the goal here is to end up with a single set of scans that can be considered definitive going forward.
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
The scans I have from back then (which are few) are very much a mixed bag - some are pretty high quality, but most of them are pretty poor. I think (and hope) that the goal here is to end up with a single set of scans that can be considered definitive going forward.

Erm, are we talking about the same thing? I'm talking about those scans from 15-20 years ago, I believe from just before 3E. Jim Butler, later from Bastion Press did that.

This stuff:
http://www.candlekeep.com/bookshelf/downloads.htm

$2.95/pdf (even boxed sets and 16 page adventures). There were some scans that weren't perfect, but the overall experience is far, far superior to the stuff DTRPG scans.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Erm, are we talking about the same thing? I'm talking about those scans from 15-20 years ago, I believe from just before 3E. Jim Butler, later from Bastion Press did that.

This stuff:
http://www.candlekeep.com/bookshelf/downloads.htm

$2.95/pdf (even boxed sets and 16 page adventures). There were some scans that weren't perfect, but the overall experience is far, far superior to the stuff DTRPG scans.

Yes, you are talking about the same thing (I'm pretty sure, anyways). Jim Butler's Bastion Press is the company I alluded to in my post above (but couldn't remember Jim or the company's name). I ended up with a lot of those old "ESD" files, both through purchase, and because I donated a box of product to the endeavor. And the quality was decidedly mixed, ranging from high-quality scans to very low quality scans with pages missing (often extras like tokens and maps missing too). Fairly sure they were ALL straight scans, no OCR or text conversion.

There are some pirated scans out there with OCR'd text conversion (er, ah, so I hear . . .), but none of the official scans, to my knowledge.

EDIT: Some of the One Bookshelf scans are the exact same files from the Bastion Press era, although not all of them, interestingly. And, IMO, the quality of the One Bookshelf scans varies as well. However, it does seem that One Bookshelf does put forth effort to improve ebook quality over time, so that's nice!
 
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tgmoore

Explorer
I have several of the board games/expansions from the early 1990s listed in unpunched condition. However scanning them will be a much greater chore than a 24 page adventure. So we have the old dilemma of flat rate work where the low hanging fruit of more common and easier to scan books (staple bound) will be done first.
 


delericho

Legend
Erm, are we talking about the same thing? I'm talking about those scans from 15-20 years ago, I believe from just before 3E. Jim Butler, later from Bastion Press did that.

Possibly not - I purchased a set of the 1st Ed hardbacks (plus a few other things) from Paizo's webstore just before WotC pulled PDF sales. None of which are on the list on the site you linked.
 


edmud

First Post
I think I have all of these titles other than perhaps the Dragonlance stuff in mint or near mind condition as well as other complete TSR game lines. This feels like the kind of project that should be crowdsourced given the TSR/WotC community and number of collectors out there. But I for one am not feeling it for some reason.

Maybe I will think up some sort of crowdfunded campaign to sell / donate my collection to One Bookshelf for the benefit of the project?

In any event, I think the first place to start for One Bookshelf would be to publish a complete list of TSR / WotC products and the digital copy status for each one.
 

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