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What would you pay for a book?

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Following up on some of the later posts about RPG prices in the SKR salary thread.

What is the most you would you honestly pay for:

a) a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
d) PDFs of each of the above

Note this isn’t what would you prefer the price was (free obvs!) but what would you honestly pay, assuming you wanted the product?

(If you’re not interested in that type of product assume you are for the purposes of the question)
 

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Following up on some of the later lists about RPG prices in the SKR salary thread.

What is the most you would you honestly pay for:

a) a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
d) PDFs of each of the above

Note this isn’t what would you prefer the price was (free obvs!) but what would you honestly pay, assuming you wanted the product?

(If you’re not interested in that type of product assume you are for the purposes of the question)
A $20
B$40
C $50 to $60
D I expect them with via either direct publiser code, drive-thru code, or Bits-n-Mortar program. If I buy separately, no desire for dead tree ...
DAPdf $5
DB PDF $10
DC PDF $15.
Add $5 to $10 for major IP licensed if I like the license and the system.
 

ardoughter

Hero
Supporter
a) i do not think I would buy a soft cover adventure at all. May be if it was 10€ then I would not be worried about the price as for pdf I would be hesitant about adventure I know nothing about but if I had a good trusted recommendation I could go as high as 20€

b) the most I would pay is 40€ probably but I would be highly influenced by the availability of a Fantasy grounds module for it. I would be far more likely to buy the FG mod, probably wait for a sale and very unlikely to buy in pdf.

c) Very unlikely to buy as a book or pdf. Exception would be a setting, max price 60€. Much more likely to buy as a FG mod or a pdf.
 

payn

Hero
a) a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
$20-40
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
$40-60
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
$50-75
d) PDFs of each of the above
$10-30

I'm at least at 75% digital PDF purchases these days. I like using a laptop at the table, obviously also for virtual. I can keep rule books, adventures, and combat trackers all in order and easy lookup during game sessions. The one thing that does get me to buy physical books is setting material and excellent artwork. Couple of my favorite books are the Inner Sea Guide for Golarion by Paizo and the Android setting book by FFG. I love Mongoose Traveller, but the art work leaves a lot to be desired. I usually stick to PDF for those materials.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
A) $20 - 25
B) $40 - 50
C) $50 - 60

PDFs of same, assuming I’m buying separately and not getting the PDF of the physical book free, about 25% off the physical MSRP would be pretty reasonable.
 

aco175

Legend
Some may depend on how easy it would be to bring into my game and how much of a preview I can get. I bought the Princes of the Apocalypse book for $40 after I played the free supplement. I did not buy some of the others, but were able to flip through the books and determine if it was for my game.

I do not mind softcover modules like in the old days, even if it was printed on cheaper paper like newsprint. For a 100 page softcover like LMoP, I would pay $20 for just the adventure, would rather pay just $15.

For a 300 page campaign, $40-50 is ok, but would tend to buy 3 smaller 100 page mini-campaigns over a large hardcover.

I would likely not buy a 650 page book, although I'm looking at the new Goodman Games double book for $100, but see another site for $70. Being half is not 5e and only reprints of earlier editions, it makes it less desirable.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I would pay $20 for just the adventure, would rather pay just $15.
I think it’s a given we’d all rather pay as little as possible. That’s why I asked what you would pay rather than what you would like to pay (because I’d like all my stuff to be free!) :)
 


Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm part of the problem for low RPG salaries. At a certain point I won't even look at the book to buy it. I think Ptolus fell into this, even though at the time it originally came out I was a large Monte Cook fan and active on his forums.

Also, shipping is part of the equation, but since I can often buy multiple things at once to reduce it I wouldn't consider full shipping price.

I'm mostly going to focus on the length, I don't buy adventures. Money in USD.

100 page softcover: I spent $10 for N.E.W. in digest format off Amazon (free shipping) without blinking an eye, so that's "volume priced to move" - too low except if you're trying to clear a backlog. $20-$30 depending on how much I want the content. Knock $10 off for PDF-only, or add $10 for bundled with PDF.

300 page hardcover: I regularly spend $30-$45 for these on Amazon, and while I only pick up the ones I want, it's not the top of my range. Say $60 as the top, $75 bundled with PDF. That said, I'd probably top off at around $30 for just the PDF and that would give serious second thoughts. Yes, I know that art, editing, layout - all these costs are the same. But there's something visceral about holding a book. BTW, I don't care too much about hardcover vs. softcover for this size. I have my Cortex Prime softcover which is around this size.

650 page hardcover. While this is twice the size of the 300 page, I wouldn't page twice as much. $75-80 bucks would be the most I'd spend, and if it's above $60 I'd really have to want the content.

Pelegrane Press has a sweet spot for me because they include the PDF and I often buy several things at once to reduce shipping. I don't mind buying directly, assuming it's not just "get the same as Amazon but pay more". In their case the value add is the PDFs, which for me makes adventure prep very easy since I can cut-n-paste. I've also bought their product directly from my FLGS and they've given me the PDF with their Bits-and-Mortar program.

Oh, for actual physical play I prefer books, if I'm running or playing online I prefer PDFs. So physically running I want both. That will impact where in the range I'm willing to spend. BUT - history has shown that while I'm willing to pay more for a bundle, I will not ever pay full price for the same content in two different formats - I'm willing to pay some more for convience and the costs that are different, but not double. I actually picked up a 10" Kindle Fire tablet on sale for $55 to dedicate to gaming for when I am physically gaming but have material on PDF, but still prefer actual books.

EDIT: I just thought of the biggest indicator in what I am willing to pay for a book - if I think I'll actually get to play it. If it's 5e (because I know a lot of 5e DMs), I'm willing to run it before having bought it, or if a friend is getting a game of it together then the prices above. If not, then way less simply because it's more curiosity than functionality. So for those I often go PDF for the cheaper, but since as mentioned I won't spend full price to repurchse content I already one, I likely will not upgrade to physical product at a later point if the price is near the top of my price points. I'd want to buy the PDF with the option to turn it into a physical bundle at a later point, but no one offers that.
 
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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
A) For me to purchase a physical softcover, it needs to be cheaper than buying the PDF and printing it myself - which also has the advantage of me only printing the pages I need. The last softcover I bought (in mid-September of this year) was 45-ish pages plus a tucked-in booklet of player visual aids, cost me $25 total, and came with the PDF.

B) $50 seems reasonable here, but also depends on whether or not the interior is in color. For example: The DCC core rulebook hardcover is over 500 pages, mostly black and white inside, and costs $40. That's a really great value, and a high bar for other publishers to meet. A lot depends on shipping costs and where I can buy the book, too. If I can buy the book at my FLGS (even if I need to place a special-order for it), I'm happier to pay more both to support the store and because I don't have to add shipping to the price.

C) See B, above. Also, a single book that includes all the rules I need to play the game is worth far more to me than needing to buy, say three books. The Pathfinder 2e core book has everything but monsters in it, for example, so if it costs me $60.00 that's OK, because that's cheaper than having to buy two books for $40 or $50 each.

D) I can't see paying more than $20 for a PDF. Ideally a PDF would be included with the purchase of a physical copy or at least heavily discounted, but on its own of course it has to cost something. But if I get a PDF with no links or bookmarks or navigation tools, especially if it is not searchable, I am highly unlikely to buy another. A PDF should cost something, and I'm happy to pay for it, but it should also be worth the cost.
 

Odysseus

Explorer
An element here is how confident I am about what is in the book and with the publisher. The more confident I am, usually based on previous books, the more I am willing to pay.
Assuming I'm pretty confident, in US dollars
A $5
B $20
C $30
D 5/15/30
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I think how much I'd pay is strongly dependent on the content. There are a great many things I just won't buy, period, and I may not take even if you offer it to me for free. There are other things that I will pay a premium for.

But generically, I expect and am willing to pay ...
a) $30
b) $30 to $60
c) Um... more? I don't run into examples of these that I want very often.
d) I don't generally buy pdfs unless they are super-cheap, as I don't use a laptop at the table.
 

schneeland

Adventurer
a) 15€ (maybe 20 if the design and illustrations are really unique)
b) 45€ (more if it's a particularly nice special edition)
c) 65€ (but really unlikely I would buy this)
d) about half, rounded up - so: 10€, 25€, 35€ (again, probably wouldn't buy the last one)

I have to add:
1) Irrespective of prices, I mostly buy digital these days (partly due to the ongoing shipping madness, but mostly because I don't really need physical books for RPGs anymore)
2) I generally prefer somewhat smaller books to really chunky ones (one of the things I like about D&D is the split between PHB, DMG and MM).
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
An element here is how confident I am about what is in the book and with the publisher. The more confident I am, usually based on previous books, the more I am willing to pay.
Assuming I'm pretty confident, in US dollars
A $5
B $20
C $30
D 5/15/30
Yikes! Somebody's going without supper to provide them at that price!
 
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TheSword

Legend
Following up on some of the later posts about RPG prices in the SKR salary thread.

What is the most you would you honestly pay for:

a) a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
£20 ($27)
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
£40 ($53)
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
£60 ($80)
d) PDFs of each of the above
PDF prices is a difficult question. A) £10 B) £15 C) £20

I think if you have PDFs available and you have put good production values into the books with full Colour art then you shouldn’t be scared to charge a reasonably substantial amount for the books.

Selling core books cheap is all well n good if you’re selling 10’s of thousands and they’re loss leaders to sell other supplements and products. If you’re producing these to stand alone then charge a fair but substantial amount. People who can’t afford the hard cover can always by a pdf.
 

TheSword

Legend
An element here is how confident I am about what is in the book and with the publisher. The more confident I am, usually based on previous books, the more I am willing to pay.
Assuming I'm pretty confident, in US dollars
A $5
B $20
C $30
D 5/15/30
You’d expect to pay the same for a hard copy as for a pdf? I am mightily confused 🤔
 

MGibster

Legend
What is the most you would you honestly pay for:

a) a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
d) PDFs of each of the above

At the risk of sounding like a special snowflake, I have difficulty answering this because I don't really think in terms of page count. When I purchased Alien in late 2019, page count was not a conscious factor though if it were the size of a pamphlet that would have been an issue. But in the spirit of the thread I'm going to do my best to answer.

a. $20-30
b. $50-70
c. $70-100
d. Half of what I might pay for a physical book.

For me, I really don't think of price until we get into the $60 or above range. Except for PDFs because I feel as though charging me anywhere near the full price of a physical book is a rip off.
 

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