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What would you pay for a book?

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I sell comics and RPGs for a living, so my opinion is based more on what I think my customers would pay rather than myself, so...

1) $20-25 USD
2) $40-50 USD
3) $60-80 USD
4) About 2/3 of the above.

While I personally sometimes buy PDFs, I don't sell them, so my opinion of them might not mean as much. (Also, I'm Canadian, but I put my prices up there in USD so it means more to you... though I guess I could have given it to you in pounds.)

As a note on #3... for us it pretty much NEEDS to come out to less than $100 CAD (about $79 USD right now, or no one is likely to buy it). It's a rule: "You break $100, you break the bank." (For this sort of product).
 

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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Think of it this way - he’s willing to pay for the content of the work.
I think a lot of people‘s approach to paying for PDFs would be very disheartening if I were a content producer. I mean here’s a format that they can produce where they can actually make decent money on it rather than have most of that potential sucked away by manufacture, distributors, and retailers (if they can sell directly enough)… and everyone wants a lowballed price.
You are not wrong, but let me state it another way.

There's a format that removes printing, shipping, distribution and final point-of-sale profit margins cuts from the cost, but doesn't deliver a physical product. The consumer wants some of that savings passed on to them.

Not saying how much they estimate the savings vs. the actual savings is right. Just the perception that printing and everything past that point is the majority of the cost. Someone who's actually done it can say if that is true or not.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
I can say here what I wrote on fb is that for A about $20, B&C less than $100, and for a pdf, usually around $20-30. I'm happy to get out of my local game store with spending less than $100, which isn't always easy.
 

MGibster

Legend
I think a lot of people‘s approach to paying for PDFs would be very disheartening if I were a content producer. I mean here’s a format that they can produce where they can actually make decent money on it rather than have most of that potential sucked away by manufacture, distributors, and retailers (if they can sell directly enough)… and everyone wants a lowballed price.
I don't typically concern myself with the welfare of the producer of what I'm purchasing. At least not at the point of sale. When I calculate the value of an item I want to purchase I typically look at it from my own utilitarian needs. In the abstract, yeah, I do want those who make the games I enjoy so much to be able to afford a decent standard of living. But that's not what I'm thinking about when I make that purchase.

My approach to PDFs is that I prefer physical books. So far as I'm concerned, the best thing PDFs offer over physical books is that they're cheaper. And 20% off the retail price of the book just doesn't cut it for me. As you said, they're not out distribution fees, printing, storage, and there's no risk of unsold inventory just sitting around. They can cut us a break of prices.
 

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)
Hardcover rulebook, around $50-75, depending on the size. I'm not currently interested in the adventure and I never want PDF's.
 

I don't typically concern myself with the welfare of the producer of what I'm purchasing. At least not at the point of sale. When I calculate the value of an item I want to purchase I typically look at it from my own utilitarian needs. In the abstract, yeah, I do want those who make the games I enjoy so much to be able to afford a decent standard of living. But that's not what I'm thinking about when I make that purchase.
My general metric is also self-centered... "How many player-hours of fun will this provide" and I figure that at $2 per hour. Prior to 5 years ago, In figured it at $1 per player-hour.... but I realized that the source of that (my 1987 rate of spending on favorite arcade games; I'd get 5 plays of Robotron for $1 (Tokens were 5 for a dollar) at my favorite arcade, and would generally have those 5 plays be most of an hour. Robotron was my best game in terms of fewest tokens per hour.) When I moved to oregon, I realized that I needed to up the value to match my stingy ebook buying. A newish novel costs me up to $10 - I seldom buy new in hardback, and mostly buy epub after the pocket paperback is out, and most of the epub prices are same as cheapest print format currently available... and books generally give me

I got my "breakeven" on Paleomythic from the read and reread alone...
On TOR 2E, I've gotten the player hours, but I had almost no fun...
 

Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
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)
a) I never buy real books, but if I did $10
b) I never buy real books, but if I did $30
b) I never buy real books, but if I did $30

d) my actual price I spend on PDFs? $20 max. I find MANY DriveThruRPG products are almost as good as Paizo/MCG/WotC but for 1/4 the price.

Again, I might be a strange one. I make most of my own stuff and use SRD websites a great deal. I do have the Core D&D / Cypher / PF2 PHBs, but when I needed more material for my players I made a few books for DriveThru (one is silver yay!).

As a side note, I find companies who put out books/sets over $125 a little offensive to my strange grognard sensibilities and I tend to not get anything from those companies anymore (like D&D and MCG) as a matter of principle.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
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)

a) $25 (US)
b) $40 (US)
c) $60 (US)
d) $10, $20, $30 respectively.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
a) I never buy real books, but if I did $10
b) I never buy real books, but if I did $30
b) I never buy real books, but if I did $30

d) my actual price I spend on PDFs? $20 max. I find MANY DriveThruRPG products are almost as good as Paizo/MCG/WotC but for 1/4 the price.
So, among those that do commision character art I've noticed that there's a big push not to undervalue yourself from the artist community. Artists new to commisioning sometimes way underprice themselves to get some customers, get some experience, and end up making a lot less than a livable salary. Spending 4 hours on a $10 work is not sustainable.

But an issue is that there's enough of these to recalibrate for some what they expect to pay. So what works out to be $10/hr for a bespoke piece - not an outrageous sum at all - gets seen as overinflated.

Virtual self-publishing and easy distribution lets anyone gets their ideas to market, and there's enough people out there that just by distribution some will be really good. But that doesn't mean that the prices reflect something that would sustain an industry. And without the industry, we don't have new editions. D&D easily could have had it's last published edition as AD&D 2nd from TSR, which also means no OGL and no Pathfinder-as-it-was.

This isn't saying you are doing anything wrong or to try to shame you. I'm pretty much assuming that you have bought core books, you just don't buy past that. I am just pointing out that there is value in supporting the industry, both large like WotC and Indie, to help our hobby as a whole move forward.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
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)
1) $40
2) $60
3) $90
4) $30
 

MGibster

Legend
My general metric is also self-centered... "How many player-hours of fun will this provide" and I figure that at $2 per hour. Prior to 5 years ago, In figured it at $1 per player-hour.... but I realized that the source of that (my 1987 rate of spending on favorite arcade games; I'd get 5 plays of Robotron for $1 (Tokens were 5 for a dollar) at my favorite arcade, and would generally have those 5 plays be most of an hour. Robotron was my best game in terms of fewest tokens per hour.)
My metric used to be how many hours of work it took to purchase something. In 1993 at $4.25 an hour, it look me a little over an hour to purchase a meal at McDonald's. So it took me almost 70 hours to purchase my SegaCD and about 7 hours to purchase a $30 book. Of course those numbers are a little bit off because after taxes and whatnot my take home pay wasn't the full $4.25. I should stress that I was in high school and didn't have to spend money on clothes, food, or rent.

These days my #1 consideration when it comes to purchasing a book is whether or not I think I'll use it. And even then, if I don't think I'll use it I won't buy it because I don't want it cluttering up my home not because I'll be out $60. But I acknowledge that I am not a part of the larger demographic that constitutes the customers of gaming companies.
 

MGibster

Legend
So, among those that do commision character art I've noticed that there's a big push not to undervalue yourself from the artist community. Artists new to commisioning sometimes way underprice themselves to get some customers, get some experience, and end up making a lot less than a livable salary. Spending 4 hours on a $10 work is not sustainable.
While a work of art might not be worth $200 to me, I've come to the conclusion that doesn't mean the asking price is unreasonable. I like to paint miniatures, and while I'm not skilled enough to make a living off of commissions or selling my own work, it might be fun to calculate what I would need to charge to make a a decent profit. Let's go over some of my expenses.

Models: $150. - These are GW Armiger Warglaives that come in a box of 2 for $75. (Even though you can have up to three warglaives in a unit the box only comes with 2.)

Paints: $7.00/$70.00 - I'm lowballing it here because I can't remember all the paints, primers, dry pigments, washes, etc., etc. I used for these models off the top of my head or exactly how much I spent on them. And while I might have spent $6.00 for a bottle of transparent yellow paint, I sure didn't use the whole pot for these three models so it might not be fair to count the whole amount. Still, if I were an artist, it's possible for me to use a color for a commissioned piece and not need that color again for years. I'd be eating the remaining cost for that fiscal year.

Basing Material: $5/$50 - Again, I think I'm lowballing myself because I can't remember exactly how much I spent on these. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but I've got snow and ice effects, barbed wire, oil barrels, concrete terrain paint, and some yellow for street markings.

Airbrush: $50 - My airbrush set up actually cost me $250 in 2000 but I don't think it's fair to include the whole cost in this calculation. However, while painting these particular miniatures, I broke the nozzle of my airbrush and had to replace it so I went ahead and replaced the needle as well which cost me a total of $50. If I were a professional painter, this would have set me back quite a bit because my airbrush was out of commission while I waited for a new nozzle to be delivered. (And I broke my replacement nozzle as well. I ordered two more replacements so I'd have a backup as well as a special tool making it easier to take the nozzle off and put it on without breaking it.)

Time: $150 - Since this is a hobby, I really don't keep track of the amount of time it takes me to paint my miniatures. But conservatively speaking, I think 15 hours is reasonable. The minimum wage in Arkansas is $10 an hour so that's $150 in labor.


Warglaives.JPG


I'm calculating what I've invested in this at the lowest price point which is $212 just for materials and $362 if you include my labor. But let's eliminate the cost of the airbrush so we get $162 for materials and if we add labor we get $312. If I were going to sell these three models in a lot I would probably start at $300. But I have no real business sense and if I were selling these it'd be with the intention of buying more models rather than paying my rent. if I were a professional, I'm sure I'd have a much more efficient setup and would be working on more than one project at a time. But labor is still going to be a significant factor in how much I'm going to charge for my work. I sure don't want to live on minimum wage.
 

jerryrice4949

Adventurer
For me it depends on quality of the book and how much the book interest me. So I cannot say $50 for a hardback. If it includes ribbon book marks and is something that draws my interest a lot I will pay more than say a book the looks of average print quality and I am somewhat interested in. I am willing to pay much less for print on demand because the colors look washed out to me. I had no problem paying $100 plus for Ptolus but the $50 I paid for Vast Kaviya I regret.
 

MGibster

Legend
I do feel bad for producers because even when people answer surveys honestly it doesn't mean they actually reflect their real world behavior. I may answer that I'm willing to spend $20 for a 100 page soft-cover adventure book, but maybe in practice I'll never buy that book or perhaps I'd be willing to spend $30. Market research can be difficult.
 

Li Shenron

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?)
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) 50€
c) 50€
d) 0€
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I don't typically concern myself with the welfare of the producer of what I'm purchasing.

In the past, yeah. But this year, that turned around for me. I had a stable work situation during what has been a trying time for many, so I decided to spread it around a bit more than usual.

And even then, if I don't think I'll use it I won't buy it because I don't want it cluttering up my home not because I'll be out $60. But I acknowledge that I am not a part of the larger demographic that constitutes the customers of gaming companies.

The demographic being, "Having been a gamer long enough to have built up clutter"? :p
 

MGibster

Legend
In the past, yeah. But this year, that turned around for me. I had a stable work situation during what has been a trying time for many, so I decided to spread it around a bit more than usual.
Well, I do want to be clear. I don't really consider the welfare of the producer at the time I'm making my purchase probably for the following reasons:
  1. I have no personal connection to the people producing what I'm purchasing.
  2. I base my purchases on what I think is best for me and I just assume whoever is selling me the product prices it according to what they think is best for them.
But I am concerned about the people who make the games I enjoy and I want them to be able to make a decent living and continue to make those good games. It's weird to me that even luminaries in the industry, including Mike Pondsmith, have to take a break from role playing games to work in other fields in order to make bank. I certainly don't mind paying a bit more if that means everyone gets to make a decent living. It just doesn't enter my frame of thought when I'm deciding whether or not to purchase Traveller or not.
 

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

a) $15-30
b) $35-50
c) $60-90
d) Depends on the PDF. Straight copies of the books with no features: ~50% of the above. Copies with features added (i.e. clickable Table of Contents, etc.) ~75% of the above. Fully re-edited for digital use: ~100% of the above.
 

GreyLord

Hero
The problem is the exchange rate in my case. If I could pay US prices in Canada I would be very happy.
Haven't looked at the prices in Canadian Dollars...did a quick research on exchange rates and prices currently listed on Amazon (seems only second hand sellers on Amazon.ca).

Amazon sellers have it at around 50-55 CAD.

The current exchange rate says it would go for 63.13 in USD.

What are you paying for the books in Canada?
 

Hussar

Legend
There is another category @Morrus that I think you left off - Virtual Tabletop ready book.

I've bought several 5e books. More than I bought for 4e and getting pretty close to more than I bought for 3e. I'm not a huge buyer, by any stretch, but, I am buying semi-steadily. Only trick is, I haven't actually bought an RPG book since the Core 3 were released. Everything I've bought has been integrated with Fantasy Grounds.

Now, for that sort of thing, I have zero issue paying at least cover price. Presuming that the material has been properly inputted into Fantasy Grounds (and, by and large, it is), I'm very willing to pay for that. So, new release hardcover is what, about 50 bucks (give or take?)? Yeah, I have zero problem with that. For the time saving and the huge amount of time I'm going to use something like, say, Candlekeep Mysteries? Cheap by the dozen really.

Frankly, I can't find a cheaper hobby. Five people, playing 3 hours per week, probably about 45 weeks/year and it costs me maybe 50 bucks? It's a freaking steal and I wouldn't be terribly bothered if they upped the price.
 

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