What would you pay for a book?

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I find that I am much more willing to pay more money for a PDF or other digital asset on a Kickstarter than from DTRPG or a publishers web site. It makes sense from the prospective that I think I'm backing a work that might not otherwise get published. But increasingly that is not necessarily the case as established publishers are savvy enough to realize that they can likely make more money on the Kickstarter for PDFs than more traditional distribution models. If you are a cost-conscious customer, you are almost always going to save money by waiting until after the Kickstarter is done and the digital assets are eventually are available on-sale at DTRPG, the publishers website, in a humble bundle, etc.

Most of the added value for paying more for digital gaming assets via Kickstarter are psychological:

  • assuaging FOMO (or more charitably, reducing the risk that it won't be available after the Kickstarter, which is usually not the case for more established game creators)

  • having an opportunity to interact with the creators and the creation process (some creators are better at providing this than other - Kobold Press is really good at it and I really enjoy backing their products because of it, Matt Coleville is also very good at this)

  • Feeling good about supporting creators. Even the established publishers of TTRPGs that use Kickstarter are not big companies. Paying a bit more and paying before the final product is available to evaluate, on Kickstarter helps keep creators make a living and allows me to reduce their risk by taking on some risk of my own.
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Anything under 10 for a PDF is probably a signal that the publisher cares more about exposure than about actually making a ton of money. Obviously there will be exceptions (Phil Reed for example) where there might be an expectation of high sales.

Personally, if I set the price for the game I have in layout right kow at $10 I'm going to have to sell a lot of copies just to offset the cost of art.
 

Greg K

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?)
$0 I don't buy adventures
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
$35-$40 for a core book depending on the game
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
$0 I have no interest in a single book this size
d) PDFs of each of the above
$10-$12 if I really want it. Otherwise, at that price range, I would wait for it to go on sale, deal of the day, or bundle of holding. Pdfs are, generally, for me to preview and decide if I want to purchase the print version (and, if so, the pdf becomes a back up copy for the group during character gen).
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I find it very interesting the range of rationnel people have for PDF purchases. I hear @Greg K 's opinion a lot, which is PDFs as preview material. Personally, I buy them as main copies, which isn't uncommon and which I suspect ups my tolerance for cost (although not enormously). This somewhat scattered set of motivations might be one reason that prices vary so much, IDK.
 

Greg K

Legend
I find it very interesting the range of rationnel people have for PDF purchases. I hear @Greg K 's opinion a lot, which is PDFs as preview material. Personally, I buy them as main copies, which isn't uncommon and which I suspect ups my tolerance for cost (although not enormously). This somewhat scattered set of motivations might be one reason that prices vary so much, IDK.
I have difficulty reading large pdfs (actually any large amount of text) on a computer screen. It triggers migraines and visual issues quicker than hardcopies.
 


Since getting an ipad reading pdfs has become far more enjoyable. I also find pdfs useful for quickly making handouts: I can copy some text, or a table, or some art into a google doc and share it with the players or print it out.
 

aia_2

Custom title
Anything under 10 for a PDF is probably a signal that the publisher cares more about exposure than about actually making a ton of money. Obviously there will be exceptions (Phil Reed for example) where there might be an expectation of high sales.

Personally, if I set the price for the game I have in layout right kow at $10 I'm going to have to sell a lot of copies just to offset the cost of art.
I understand your point and agree with you... However now i have a "nasty" question...
Take my example: i have a rulebook of approx 220 pages, hardcover, digest-size. It is the playtest version so nearly no artworks in it. Instead of artwork i added many personal comments on the rules i draw for the game.
I am close to the end and, again, since it is a playtest, i decided not to go via KS but via Drivethru.
The book is edited in a very good way (apologies if i think to have done a very good job), therefore it is not a "poor quality" item.
To complete the picture, Drivethru is asking approx 10 bucks per printed copy as a cost per unit.
How much would you price both printed version and pdf?
You'd consider that being a playtest the target is not earning from the sales, it'd rather be to sell as much as possible to grand a large audience playing with it!
(Now you understand why the question is nasty...)
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Well, my first response there is that a hardback seems like a pricey ask when it's still playtest rules. Many public playtest docs I see are of the ashcan variety, so minimal art and most of the layout, but often just the core rules. This is usually a PDF. I don't remeber ever seeing a hardback playtest, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
 

aia_2

Custom title
Well, my first response there is that a hardback seems like a pricey ask when it's still playtest rules. Many public playtest docs I see are of the ashcan variety, so minimal art and most of the layout, but often just the core rules. This is usually a PDF. I don't remeber ever seeing a hardback playtest, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
I plan to sell it with a mark up of 5 bucks, so that the final price should be in the range of 15 usd... According to the post of the blog no one would buy it for it is considered "low quality"... As a matter of fact i don't think so but at the same time i don't want to rip money for a playtest book. I am now thinking what would be the best for me (ah, the overarching idea i have is that i don't look for money out of my work... I am looking to be read by the an audience as wide as possible!)
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I plan to sell it with a mark up of 5 bucks, so that the final price should be in the range of 15 usd... According to the post of the blog no one would buy it for it is considered "low quality"... As a matter of fact i don't think so but at the same time i don't want to rip money for a playtest book. I am now thinking what would be the best for me (ah, the overarching idea i have is that i don't look for money out of my work... I am looking to be read by the an audience as wide as possible!)
I'm not here to tell you what to do. :D If you think you can move units and get your game out there with a hard back playtest then you should do that. Just because I haven't seen it done doesn't mean much. I don't claim to be an expert on indie game marketing. There's nothing stopping you from having a PDF option as well.

I also wouldn't take the tiny slice of opinions from this thread too seriously, or at least don't read them as a straight index to how most people feel. While that might be true, it also might not.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I have difficulty reading large pdfs (actually any large amount of text) on a computer screen. It triggers migraines and visual issues quicker than hardcopies.
You may want to consider a 10" eink reader - they use a reflective rather than emissive rendering. Most people with migraines and/or eye strain from screen use but not physical books find eink to be book-like enough to avoid the issues. Most of the current large format note-taking eink devices also handle PDF and e-pub. Plus, unlike dead tree, one can zoom in and do automated search.

Still, I prefer a book simply because I cannot afford a 12" reader nor a 10" color one.

(I have a Boyue 10" grayscale that I use a lot. I have had several sony PRS series, and for novels in epub; the PRS 515, still available, is perfectly serviceable 6" button-driven reader. The 600 was much nicer, but not available anymore, and only a 7" with frontlight and touch.)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What is the most you would you honestly pay for:

a) a softcover adventure (say 100 pages?)
An adventure should never be 100 pages long, but I'd pay $15 for a good 1e-format* 24-to-32-page module.

* - i.e. hard-card detached cover with the maps printed on its inside.
b) a hardcover rulebook the size of the D&D core books (about 300 pages)
$60 - maybe $70 now, thanks inflation.
c) a hardcover rulebook the size of the Pathfinder core book (about 650 pages)
I wouldn't, as at over $100 such things are likely out of my price range. Money no object: $110.
d) PDFs of each of the above
For DM-side material, zero or very near zero; as I'm having to absorb all the time and production costs involved in printing and binding it. If it's not on paper, it's ultimately of no use to me as a DM.

For player-side material, 25%-50% of the printed-work cost provided the one copy could be distributed among my players or put online in a secure LAN or hidden website. Otherwise, outright zero as I'd potentially be absorbing the time and cost of producing multiple printed copies rather than just one.
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)
You're also asking about two different formats here, of which one is of use and the other is often not.
 

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