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Author Topic: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons  (Read 11055 times)

PulpHerb

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #195 on: October 01, 2022, 01:21:18 AM »
Agreed. PDFs cost next to nothing for a company (since most publishers these days print straight from a pdf file anyway), so offering a digital purchase concurrently with a physical copy is only going to broaden the appeal. Some companies (like Pinnacle) give out a free pdf copy if you buy the physical one. Any purely digital-purchases are likely from those who wouldn't have bought the product otherwise, so that's just extra money in the pocket.

I won't pay more than 40%-50% retail of the corresponding book for a pdf. I know how the distribution system works. They're probably getting at most 50% and more likely less from the distributor for a physical book. If I pay the same for a pdf as the distributor does for the physical book I'm subsidizing the physical book on a cost accounting basis by covering more of the common costs.

Realistically the pdf could probably be reasonably priced at 30%.

A handful of companies are smart enough to index and bookmark a pdf or creating a print-friendly version so I'm not just buying the file they sent to the printers. Do that and I'll consider 50-60% more reasonable because of added value.

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The problem occurs when a company over-estimates the demand for the product, and/or conflates general demand with a demand for a physical product. If 500 people pledge to buy your book, so you print 500 copies, but half of the pledges buy the digital version only, well that's a very costly mistake. One that could have been avoided if you gathered better info on what your customers wanted. In any case, you're immediate instinct as a business owner is to try to recoup your losses before the end of the quarter. This actually seems to be a similar issue that Conner from Coyote & Crow ran into; he apparently didn't evaluate his costs properly, and then had to beg the backers for more money (breaking a promise he made to them and igniting some jokes about being an Indian Giver). I guess the take-away is don't punish the customers for your own poor management.

Going back for cash on a KS just to cover change in shipping costs became untenable a decade ago (before that while we were sorting all this out it could fly). Setting your targets for offset printing needs to be done intelligently. Get a quote on the various print run sizes and make sure the funding point will cover every backer buying one book even if they don't (it's simple division FFS: minimal print run cost divided by size is the floor for physical book level...round up to the next $5 or $10 and set from there what you want for labor and profit).

I know a lot of people don't like POD, but Kevin Crawford at Sine Nomine Games has done quite well with backers getting a DTRPG discount code to get the POD version at cost. If you're not Wizards, Paizo, or a handful of others you don't have the cash flow to order print runs and warehouse them (even if you farm out distribution, you're paying that distributor rent for warehouse space somewhere in all your costs).  Then, when you've established yourself, do offsets for later projects where you know probably number or even an offset of a prior POD books (which KC did with Stars Without Number's most recent edition.

Effete

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #196 on: October 01, 2022, 04:44:03 AM »
I won't pay more than 40%-50% retail of the corresponding book for a pdf.
...Realistically the pdf could probably be reasonably priced at 30%.

50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

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Setting your targets for offset printing needs to be done intelligently. Get a quote on the various print run sizes and make sure the funding point will cover every backer buying one book even if they don't (it's simple division FFS: minimal print run cost divided by size is the floor for physical book level...round up to the next $5 or $10 and set from there what you want for labor and profit).

I don't even have a degree in business, finance, or anything, and this just sounds like common sense to me. One of my side-hustles is flipping houses. It's absolutely crucial to have a cost analysis in place before anything else, primarily because the market typically has a soft cap in certain neighborhoods, but also because shit happens and you always want to give yourself a cushion.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2022, 04:45:43 AM by Effete »

Ghostmaker

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #197 on: October 01, 2022, 09:29:49 AM »
Lemme put it this way.

I'd sooner give money to Paizo than WotC right now.


PulpHerb

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #198 on: October 01, 2022, 11:34:59 AM »
I don't even have a degree in business, finance, or anything, and this just sounds like common sense to me. One of my side-hustles is flipping houses. It's absolutely crucial to have a cost analysis in place before anything else, primarily because the market typically has a soft cap in certain neighborhoods, but also because shit happens and you always want to give yourself a cushion.

Yep...while technically I currently work in banking, it is as a computer programmer for interest rate modeling and asset pricing. My business experience amounts to having run a Dominos as a GM for about a year and studying retail to "run a game store as a retirement business" until I did the math and decided probably not. That is where my knowledge of the three-tier system and what the gaming company gets of retail price came from.

Yet the average KS in RPGs often seems to be run by someone unwilling to read "Small Businesses for Dummies" or "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans".

PulpHerb

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #199 on: October 01, 2022, 11:37:49 AM »
50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

PDFs of long ago amortized projects are the biggest example of the friction between copyright laws designed for a world of handset type and physical media versus the digital world.

Not sure how that will shake out, but no later than 2050 copyright will undergo a revolution as large as when it moved from a royal monopoly on physical printing to an attempt to assure original creators could profit.

Abraxus

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #200 on: October 01, 2022, 11:57:51 AM »
The biggest con in rpgs when it comes to PDFs is when a publisher tries to pass the print price as the same as PDF price. Then try to be disingenuous and use the fans buying the print book as a reason for the markup.

How about no. If someone wants to buy print they are acknowledging and accepting to buy a more expensive version and responsibility. I’m not going to spend 50$  for PDF because gamer xyz wants print. Or my personal favourite bullshit is using “ we need to pay bills”. Beyond the artist, and writer and the guy who pushed the mouse button to  rate the PDF what other costs.


BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #201 on: October 01, 2022, 12:27:35 PM »
50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

PDFs of long ago amortized projects are the biggest example of the friction between copyright laws designed for a world of handset type and physical media versus the digital world.

Not sure how that will shake out, but no later than 2050 copyright will undergo a revolution as large as when it moved from a royal monopoly on physical printing to an attempt to assure original creators could profit.
Proposals for copyright reform are being submitted as we speak. Not because politicians understand that overly long copyright is inherently bad, but because people are angry at Disney and J.K. Rowling for having political opinions counter to their own and want to get petty revenge by taking away their copyright. (Nevermind that Disney and Rowling would still have trademarks.)

I’m against overly long copyright because it actively harms preservation efforts. So many works could be lost forever due to orphaned copyright preventing preservation.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #202 on: October 01, 2022, 01:06:20 PM »
snip

I know a lot of people don't like POD, but Kevin Crawford at Sine Nomine Games has done quite well with backers getting a DTRPG discount code to get the POD version at cost. If you're not Wizards, Paizo, or a handful of others you don't have the cash flow to order print runs and warehouse them (even if you farm out distribution, you're paying that distributor rent for warehouse space somewhere in all your costs).  Then, when you've established yourself, do offsets for later projects where you know probably number or even an offset of a prior POD books (which KC did with Stars Without Number's most recent edition.

I agree with your pricing concerns, I would go even farther down because you pay once to have the PDF made, after that everything else is profit. More so if it was a crowdfunded project, in those cases the art, formating, etc has been paid already.

A lower price reduces the incentive to sail the high seas to find the PDF.

But what I find more interesting is the tidbit about sine nomine giving discounts for the POD at cost, I might go that route when/if I publish my first game/gaming product.

Less hasle for me, less risk of some price going up and making me unable to fulfill.

That and having the fully indexed (not sure if hyperlinked haven't tried to do that yet) PDF without art ready to deliver to backers the moment they back the project.

This would mean every backer gets a 100% printer friendly (no art) PDF plus whatever they backed: No art PDF + Finished PDF or POD.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

GeekyBugle

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #203 on: October 01, 2022, 01:09:49 PM »
50% of a retail hard copy is reasonable for a fully indexed /hyperlinked pdf, preferrably with proper layers that can be switched off for a clean printer-friendly version. I agree, I would probably not pay any more than that. If the pdf has flattened layers, no index or linking, etc., a flat 10 dollars is all it's really worth, regardless of the price of the hard copy. If it's a cheap, low-rez scan, like Wizards does with a lot of the old D&D modules, it's arguably worth even less.

PDFs of long ago amortized projects are the biggest example of the friction between copyright laws designed for a world of handset type and physical media versus the digital world.

Not sure how that will shake out, but no later than 2050 copyright will undergo a revolution as large as when it moved from a royal monopoly on physical printing to an attempt to assure original creators could profit.
Proposals for copyright reform are being submitted as we speak. Not because politicians understand that overly long copyright is inherently bad, but because people are angry at Disney and J.K. Rowling for having political opinions counter to their own and want to get petty revenge by taking away their copyright. (Nevermind that Disney and Rowling would still have trademarks.)

I’m against overly long copyright because it actively harms preservation efforts. So many works could be lost forever due to orphaned copyright preventing preservation.

Life of the author where it's not a corporation seems reasonable to me for copyright, but trademark needs an overhaul to put it inline with copyright:

Say Mickey Mouse enters the public domain, you still can't do shit with it because the trademark persists, so you can call it the same but not make it look the same, or worst you can't use parts of it because of trademark like with ERB.

Orphaned copyright products should enter the public domain immediatly.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #204 on: October 01, 2022, 04:42:06 PM »
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

FingerRod

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #205 on: October 01, 2022, 05:21:22 PM »
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.


But back on topic, it will be interesting when the feedback from the playtest starts coming in if they ‘do more’ around Race. The lower case j journalist is probably not going to be the only person to drag Wizards through the mud on this.

Omega

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #206 on: October 02, 2022, 08:12:15 AM »
I'd suggest you look up the meaning of the word "drivel."

Thats ok. I just need to look up you to get that definition today.

You work for WOTC? Because you sure spent alot of time saying very little.

Bravo.

Keep struggling.

But you know. You are right. Its not drivel.

Its lies and misinformation and smokescreens. The usual usual from you lot.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2022, 08:15:10 AM by Omega »

PulpHerb

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #207 on: October 02, 2022, 11:12:15 AM »
snip

I know a lot of people don't like POD, but Kevin Crawford at Sine Nomine Games has done quite well with backers getting a DTRPG discount code to get the POD version at cost. If you're not Wizards, Paizo, or a handful of others you don't have the cash flow to order print runs and warehouse them (even if you farm out distribution, you're paying that distributor rent for warehouse space somewhere in all your costs).  Then, when you've established yourself, do offsets for later projects where you know probably number or even an offset of a prior POD books (which KC did with Stars Without Number's most recent edition.

I agree with your pricing concerns, I would go even farther down because you pay once to have the PDF made, after that everything else is profit. More so if it was a crowdfunded project, in those cases the art, formating, etc has been paid already.


It hasn't been paid until you've moved enough units to cover fixed costs. If your pricing is such that the physical offset print run is designed to cover fixed costs then, yes, PDF is nearly pure profit (there may be a handful of variable costs depending on your delivery method, although arguably most of those would be in business overhead).

However, if the pdf is not an afterthought and pricing is designed to cover the fixed costs after a specific number of units, pdf or print, are moved then, no, pdfs, at least early pdfs aren't pure profit.

Similarly, once fixed costs are covered print books are the same as pdfs in terms of all income over variable costs is profit (at least in a cost accounting sense...for both, company overhead comes out of that gross profit).

What intelligent PDF costing, such that your income from DTRPG/Geekstore (I think that's the name of the new one)/Warehouse 23 after their cut is identical to your income from a distributor for physical books minus the per book variable costs, is increase sales on both by lowering the cost on both.

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A lower price reduces the incentive to sail the high seas to find the PDF.

But what I find more interesting is the tidbit about sine nomine giving discounts for the POD at cost, I might go that route when/if I publish my first game/gaming product.

Less hasle for me, less risk of some price going up and making me unable to fulfill.

That and having the fully indexed (not sure if hyperlinked haven't tried to do that yet) PDF without art ready to deliver to backers the moment they back the project.

This would mean every backer gets a 100% printer friendly (no art) PDF plus whatever they backed: No art PDF + Finished PDF or POD.

No disagreement. There are precisely two RPG people, Kevin and Greyhawk Grognard, who have to demonstrate to me why not to buy into the their KS instead of just pledging follow pretty much that system: text done with a first draft art free available as soon as the KS closes (not when they back...there's a minor freeloader risk there and the 14-30 day it entails doesn't seem to cost a lot of backers) with the added benefit of providing crowd-sourced additional copy edit and access to at cost POD.

Oddly, the guys with well thought out business plans also seem to produce a higher average quality of product...funny that.

PulpHerb

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #208 on: October 02, 2022, 11:14:24 AM »
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

21 years, nine months, inheritable.

or

18 years, nine months, inheritable.

Are logical periods for copyright. They would allow the work to provide for progeny of a male artist to be supported to age of majority by the work even if he drops dead immediately after conception.

PulpHerb

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Re: Another hit piece against Dungeons & Dragons
« Reply #209 on: October 02, 2022, 11:18:39 AM »
I don’t believe copyright should last for the life of the author. There’s no economic incentive for copyright to last longer than 20 years or so.

If I write a book when I am 25, by the time I turn 46 I should stop receiving any financial gain from that book? We’ll have to disagree.

The idea behind that argument, at least in the US, comes to the Constitutional authorization:

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To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
.

The argument is if you are incentivized to rely on a single work for your lifetime then the most successful are encouraged to be the least productive. If your novel at 25 pays the bills at 60, why would you write another novel?

There are a lot of weaknesses in that idea, including a misunderstanding of how most working authors, the infamous midlist, survive, especially in the new age of indie books. Watching the original "20 Books to 50K" video is a good explanation for anyone curious.