What would you pay for a book?

Yora

Legend
It really depends on the book, and how mucb money I can afford to spend at any given point. I might be willing to pay 50€ for a book if it's something that I really want to run, and that is full with content that is useful. But if that has to come out of of my monthly food budget, I won't at that point.
 

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aia_2

Custom title
Mine are:

A. 25€
B. 35€
C. 45€
D. I do not buy pdf (they have no value for my standards)

I would also like to add two points:
1. I am aware of the differences between literature and RPG but it would be interesting running the same survey for books and see why RPGs are always more expensive than other books (as a rule of thumb higher by 50% than an equivalent book)
2. There is a new factor to count in the case of RPGs: the collectible item... We are also facing trends for prices by far higher than the ones here due to "alternative covers", limited and numbered editions, KS exclusive items, leather cover and/or deluxe editions...
 

Lazvon

Explorer
a) $10-20 USD for a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
b) $40 for a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
c) $80 for a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
d) $5, $30, $50 - PDFs of each of the above (or 50% less for locked in single “bookshelf” or “online” or “VTT” versions - prefer portability that I “own” and can take with me).
 

Lord Mhoram

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)
Late to the table:
a) $20 maximum, normally like my adventures in PDF.
b) $40-$50. Depending on game, system, company and writers. I would likely pay a little more for a Monte Cook Games book than I would another company, because I've always got my money's worth from every book I've got from them, for example.
c)$50-$75. Normally on the lower end of the curve, But a special rulebook for a system I love I'd go the higher amounts.
d) in order $10, $20, $25 to $30.
 

I saw an interesting analysis of rpg pricing recently on this blog:

 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Hmm. I buy almost exclusively PDFs for shipping reasons. I balk a little at PDF prices over $25 unless its something I'm really excited about. If its less than 100 pages probably less than that.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I saw an interesting analysis of rpg pricing recently on this blog:

That's a great article. Cannibal Halfling comes through as usual.
 

Jahydin

Adventurer
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
Assuming good quality books with great art:
a) $50
b) $100
c) $200
d)1/4 of physical price.
 



Lazvon

Explorer
Man, you're very generous! (Otherwise you are a collector... And this is not a positive thing! :-D )

I would pay whatever for a great book (or a unique one) that I really wanted. But on the day to day, the prices I posted are what seems the max reasonable. Not exactly a collector, just someone who is at a very different point in life than I was 40-years ago when I started role playing.

I’ve paid around $1100 (well… £600 or something IIRC) several years back, over the phone, to a charity auction in Cambridge, for a one of a kind signed HARP SF final draft manuscript. I would have went to $2000 for that particular item. Actual retail HARP SF though… probably $50 is my max.
 

Jahydin

Adventurer
Man, you're very generous! (Otherwise you are a collector... And this is not a positive thing! :-D )
I am a collector! Nothing makes me happier than my giant wall of RPGs I've been collecting since I was a kid.

Also like supporting smaller companies, especially those that go the extra mile and put out high quality products. At that level, it really is buying works of art!

I'm also missing the quality of books we had around 20 years ago. I'd be more than willing to pay double current market price for the same level of art and writing we got in those 3rd edition D&D and World of Darkness books!
 

aia_2

Custom title
I am a collector! Nothing makes me happier than my giant wall of RPGs I've been collecting since I was a kid.

Also like supporting smaller companies, especially those that go the extra mile and put out high quality products. At that level, it really is buying works of art!

I'm also missing the quality of books we had around 20 years ago. I'd be more than willing to pay double current market price for the same level of art and writing we got in those 3rd edition D&D and World of Darkness books!
Eheheh... Got it!
I am a collector as well and i fully understand you!
And in any case i will let you know when i will publish my game then!
 

aia_2

Custom title
I saw an interesting analysis of rpg pricing recently on this blog:


Sorry, maybe i am getting old: i read that post twice... I still don't get the main messages... Are we paying without any reason PDFs? Are physical book over or underpriced?
The writing seems interesting but i am striving to understand the overall message...
 

Sorry, maybe i am getting old: i read that post twice... I still don't get the main messages... Are we paying without any reason PDFs? Are physical book over or underpriced?
The writing seems interesting but i am striving to understand the overall message...
What I took as the argument is that it doesn't really make sense to call an indie game "overpriced" in an objective sense (especially a pdf). It might be overpriced for any individual, but it's not overpriced in the way that you could say electricity or even a car is overpriced (might be getting it wrong; I'm not an economist by any means). The argument is that most of the costs of producing an rpg are not in the physical-ness of it, and that the discrepancy between the physical copy and the pdf thus refers less to cost of production and more to consumer expectations. And those consumer expectations are basically idiosyncratic to rpgs, such at a $30 pdf will strike people as too expensive, but lowering the price to $2 actually wouldn't make it sell better, because people would assume it was not worth reading/playing at that price. For indie designers selling pdfs, the main distinction is between free or not-free; pricing your game at $5 vs $20 won't make a huge difference in how many times it is downloaded.

I think what this post is indirectly responding to is someone on twitter calling a $25 pdf overpriced, which then generated some discussion for a day.
 

aia_2

Custom title
What I took as the argument is that it doesn't really make sense to call an indie game "overpriced" in an objective sense (especially a pdf). It might be overpriced for any individual, but it's not overpriced in the way that you could say electricity or even a car is overpriced (might be getting it wrong; I'm not an economist by any means). The argument is that most of the costs of producing an rpg are not in the physical-ness of it, and that the discrepancy between the physical copy and the pdf thus refers less to cost of production and more to consumer expectations. And those consumer expectations are basically idiosyncratic to rpgs, such at a $30 pdf will strike people as too expensive, but lowering the price to $2 actually wouldn't make it sell better, because people would assume it was not worth reading/playing at that price. For indie designers selling pdfs, the main distinction is between free or not-free; pricing your game at $5 vs $20 won't make a huge difference in how many times it is downloaded.

I think what this post is indirectly responding to is someone on twitter calling a $25 pdf overpriced, which then generated some discussion for a day.
Yes ok, but that post is so confusing as it throws in too many concepts without a clear reason (or this is my perception to my eyes!)...
Two comments based on the fact that after the first reading i was more or less thinking the same thoughts as you... But the more i thought to that post, the more i was pushedto read it again and found that i came with a second view after the second reading: the post tells us about production costs and comes with the conclusion that a pdf has no costs... This is not completely correct: a pdf has no direct/variable costs (costs referred to produce that single good) but it has a quite considerable amount of costs for the concept development! Have a look at here:


Therefore half of the concepts over there are built on an incorrect assumption...

Then a second thought: there is a rule of demand/supply (no need to explain it i suppose) and apparently the rpg players are one of those few cases where this rule doesn't work... You sell an rpg at 10 bucks and no one will buy it... You sell the same rpg at 30 bucks and the sales will increase... Are we so irrational (not to say stupid)?!?

Maybe a second survey on some specific cases like the last one should be launched: i really hope that the author of that blog is wrong for that part at least...
 

Yes ok, but that post is so confusing as it throws in too many concepts without a clear reason (or this is my perception to my eyes!)...
Two comments based on the fact that after the first reading i was more or less thinking the same thoughts as you... But the more i thought to that post, the more i was pushedto read it again and found that i came with a second view after the second reading: the post tells us about production costs and comes with the conclusion that a pdf has no costs... This is not completely correct: a pdf has no direct/variable costs (costs referred to produce that single good) but it has a quite considerable amount of costs for the concept development! Have a look at here:

That's what the article says--a pdf has no marginal cost:

For a PDF, though, PDF copy #1 and PDF copy #10,000 cost the same amount to produce: nothing. Regardless of how much money and value (in the form of time) has been invested into a game, each incremental PDF costs nothing. This is also why businesses like DriveThruRPG structure their distribution pricing as a royalty percentage: Changing that marginal cost from zero would severely inhibit most designers from being able to move forward with selling their work. Since the marginal cost of a game is zero, the amount sold has no bearing on pricing.

Then a second thought: there is a rule of demand/supply (no need to explain it i suppose) and apparently the rpg players are one of those few cases where this rule doesn't work... You sell an rpg at 10 bucks and no one will buy it... You sell the same rpg at 30 bucks and the sales will increase... Are we so irrational (not to say stupid)?!?

Yeah, this appears to be a weird psychological thing where for certain goods charging more leads to more sales. The cannibal halfling post suggests that this has a limit, where $15-$20 signals "this is a good game worth purchasing," $2 might signal "not worth my time" and $30 signals "overpriced." And I bet you can find games that took the same time to develop at all three price points!

Chances are, if your game is priced at $10 and you increase it to $20, sales will go up. Now, if this were consistent across all price points, then it would indicate that games are ‘Veblen Goods’, namely that they behave in a manner opposite what the supply and demand implies (the most prevalent type of rule in economics is one which proves basic economics wrong in certain circumstances). They are not; if you were to continue raising the price, then sales would go down in the manner we’d expect. But, there is a price point which, for certain length games, is more effective than lower price points.

 

aramis erak

Legend
That's what the article says--a pdf has no marginal cost:
And it's in error about that. There's the hosting server, storage space on same, and connection costs of the point of sale. Given that storage is dropping to about $0.05 per GiB, the storage is a small bit (the computers to connect them to are a bit more of an expense), the computer is a bit of an up-front expense, and the internet access and power are the primary expenses. The costs are, in bulk, far less than dead tree, but they're not zero.
And that's if all the art, writing, and production assets are royalty-free, which isn't always the case... Especially in licensed games... so royalties per copy can increase the marginal cost of PDF just as much as they do dead tree.
 

Lazvon

Explorer
I would think the gross margin $s earned should be the same for all formats except perhaps signed/numbered editions… and maybe low print run editions.

So, let’s say you are indie and the “margin” is what you essentially are paying yourself, and you decide you want to make $5 per copy sold.

(I have no idea if these costs are close, making it all up.)

Print Copy direct costs are:
Printing: $15
Distribution: $5

Electronic Copy direct costs are:
Distribution: $0.10 (actually can get way cheaper more you sell)

Fixed costs no matter the number/type you sell, but based say 10,000 copies sold:
Layout editing: $0.10 (or $1000 total)
Art acquisition: $0.50 (or $5000 total; assuming no print/digital or “qty” cost diff)

I am sure there is lots more I am missing.

But in the end, assuming $5 from each copy sought to pay yourself (or invest in next, whatever)…

Print: $25.60 each
PDF: $5.70 each

(In my view for single VTT purchase: $2.50, and you give that discount because you are locking your customers in on platforms that might go belly up someday.)

Special editions: whatever you think people will pay.

All that said, reason I am willing to pay half what the standard edition book cost is for a PDF, because they are a lot less hassle for the publisher. No Printers or Distribution to arrange and deal with, etc. again, if you aren’t paying someone for all that work, it is “just your time” … your $5 net margin is shrinking fast, so happy to just pay half for the PDF.
 

aia_2

Custom title
A detail which should change any concept on the costs: we are now talking about "marginal" (or variable costs)... What is missing is the hard core part of the costs: the fixed one!
They are not negligible and any analyisi should take them into account... Here an useful insight mainly by Morrus about them:
 

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