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Thanos007
Iíve always been gun shy about buying PDFs. So to make an informed decision about whether to start picking up PDFs as opposed to actual books I come to you.

1) Can I have multiple copies? Like one for my PC and one for my lap top?
2) If I can have only one without paying for extra copies and my hard drive crashes can I get another copy without paying for it? How would that work?
3) All I see are PDFs. If I have an e-book reader do they have e-book versions? If not what is (in your opinion) the best (cheap/free) conversion tool?
4) Are the PDFs printer friendly?
5) What are the proís and conís of getting PDFs?
Raiden
[ CENSORED BY MODERATORS ]
Raiden
PS, you didnt hear this from me, *fades into the shadows*
Bigity
I don't think that kind of post is kosher around here.
Bigity
QUOTE (Thanos007 @ Aug 15 2012, 08:55 AM) *
Iíve always been gun shy about buying PDFs. So to make an informed decision about whether to start picking up PDFs as opposed to actual books I come to you.

1) Can I have multiple copies? Like one for my PC and one for my lap top?
2) If I can have only one without paying for extra copies and my hard drive crashes can I get another copy without paying for it? How would that work?
3) All I see are PDFs. If I have an e-book reader do they have e-book versions? If not what is (in your opinion) the best (cheap/free) conversion tool?
4) Are the PDFs printer friendly?
5) What are the proís and conís of getting PDFs?


1) Yes, as long as YOU have the copies. You aren't supposed to pass them around like a hardcopy book. Not sure how companies really can enforce you giving a copy to your gamers at your 'table'.

2) You get a set number of downloads from the site. I think DriveThruRPG lets you download a title like 5 times? So don't lose all your copies more than 4 times biggrin.gif

3) As far as I know, no e-reader formats exist. I'm not aware of any actually working converter, but I have not really looked outside of a few Googles when I first got my Kindle. With my iPad2, I just use GoodReader or iAnnotate and stick with the PDF formats.

4) Depends on the publisher who created them.

5) Handy, portable, hard to get stolen or lost.
They aren't hardcopy, harder to pass around the game table on game nights. Don't have that used game book smell
Speed Wraith
Mostly, what Bigity said.

You could pirate the books, but I prefer to be at least mostly legit with these things. The gaming community isn't some all-powerful juggernaut like the RIAA, so you don't really feel very Robin Hood-y when you do it to them.

Often .pdfs are marked with a watermark of the buyer's name/account ID, but they don't put much more copy protection than that. I keep copies of my ebooks on my laptop, a hard drive I use to back up all my critical files, and even a RW DVD. Which isn't much different from what I have going on with my music files actually.

I don't know much about e-readers since I find the format literally impossible to use (I'm really not a Luddite, but I can't read those things without a lot of struggle). I do know they work with iPads, as that's what my best friend uses.

The biggest pro for these books, other than the obvious ease of transporting just your laptop or iPad around with all your books, is that updates are free.

The biggest con, and this is a personal hang-up, is that they're more difficult to flip through.
_Pax._
QUOTE (Thanos007 @ Aug 15 2012, 09:55 AM) *
I’ve always been gun shy about buying PDFs. So to make an informed decision about whether to start picking up PDFs as opposed to actual books I come to you.

1) Can I have multiple copies? Like one for my PC and one for my lap top?
2) If I can have only one without paying for extra copies and my hard drive crashes can I get another copy without paying for it? How would that work?
3) All I see are PDFs. If I have an e-book reader do they have e-book versions? If not what is (in your opinion) the best (cheap/free) conversion tool?
4) Are the PDFs printer friendly?
5) What are the pro’s and con’s of getting PDFs?


(1) I bought each PDF once. I have one copy on my desktop, one copy burned to DVD (as a backup), one copy on my NookColor tablet, and one copy on my Laptop (that I use for GMing). Note, I only downloaded each PDF once ... then simply shuttled them around via USB memory stick.

(2) you can have more than one copy, but even then - if you buy directly from Catalyst, via the BattleShop ... they've been very nice about letting me re-download files when asked (my HDD crashed, and I couldn't find my backup disk).

(3) No, they don't have specific eBook versions. If your eReader can handle color PDFs, and does scrolling/zooming well, then it can do the game PDFs in useable fashion. However, I will say that it's not as convenient or as comfortable using my NookColor's 7.5" screen. To read the text, I have to zoom way in, and only wind up seeing ~25% of each page at once.

(4) As far as I can tell, yes. I had three of them print-and-bound by Kinko's a few years back, and all the pages came out fine .... in B&W, 'cause I didn't want to pay for full-color printing throughout.

(5)
--> PRO: I don't know about buying them from DriveThru, but all the ones I've bought through Battleshop? Whenever they update the book, I get a re-download link for it. Which means I don't have to worry so much about discrepancies between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd printing creeping in: I always have the latest version.
--> PRO: Control+F SEARCHABLE game books? How in the heck did I survive before that??
--> PRO: Instead of a ninety-pound milk-crate full of Shadowrun books, if I want to go to a convention to play some Missions goodness, I can instead bring my seven-pounds (including mouse, power cord, etc) laptop. Or, my maybe-twelve-ounce NookColor. Since I'm forty-one now, and not fourteen? This one's a BIG plus!! smile.gif Heck, now I can carry both, and use the Nook to "lend" books at the table - and still be carrying over eighty pounds less! smile.gif
--> CON: I still miss the olfactory and tactile pleasures of cracking open brand-new Dead Tree Edition copies.
Thanos007
I find the lack of flippability an issue as well. Maybe using search is the answer?

you said updates are free? What kind of updates are we talking about?
Kagetenshi
To expand on what Bigity said:

QUOTE (Thanos007 @ Aug 15 2012, 10:55 AM) *
1) Can I have multiple copies? Like one for my PC and one for my lap top?

You can (from a technical standpoint) have as many copies as you want on as many devices as you want; there's no DRM on them. They are watermarked (from DriveThru at least, IIRC other sources exist that don't watermark) and encrypted. The watermark is just a little bit of text with your account name and the order number on the bottom left of each page; to give you an idea of how unobtrusive this generally is, I was about to say that it's only on the first page until I went and checked. The encryption prevents editing the PDFs, but in addition to this not really being something you'd usually want to do it also relies on the client to respect the encryption, so if you really, really need to correct the misinformation about diesel engines in Rigger 3, you can.

QUOTE
2) If I can have only one without paying for extra copies and my hard drive crashes can I get another copy without paying for it? How would that work?

Redownload policies are entirely up to the vendor. IIRC DriveThru's policy is 5 downloads, reset whenever the PDF is updated, but I think there was a note somewhere about being able to contact them to obtain more downloads if you need to. Besides, you should be backing up your files anyway (presumably there's something of value on your computer that you didn't get from somewhere else).

QUOTE
3) All I see are PDFs. If I have an e-book reader do they have e-book versions? If not what is (in your opinion) the best (cheap/free) conversion tool?

I'm under the impression that PDF support is ubiquitous or near-ubiquitous in e-book readers. Check the features list, manual, or help for your reader to confirm.

QUOTE
4) Are the PDFs printer friendly?

It also depends on what you mean by "friendly". They're formatted and ornamented (as far as I can tell) precisely the same way as the print editions, so to print you'd need to be prepared to use a bunch of extra ink on fancy page headers; woe betide anyone who prints out a copy of the SR4 core book on a home printer, especially if they don't force grayscale.

QUOTE
5) What are the proís and conís of getting PDFs?

Cons: no physical book, not all books available as PDF.
Pros: no physical book, text-searchable, more available (can have them on stuff you're carrying anywayógone are the days when I used to pack up two to three big tote bags full of kilos and kilos of books).

~J
Thanos007
Old book smell is the best.
Raiden
QUOTE (Raiden @ Aug 15 2012, 11:07 AM) *
[ CENSORED BY MODERATORS ]


Oh, I bought the corebook hardcover, If you pressed for money there is this way, its no worse then getting someone in a group to let you borrow there books honestly.
also i got lucky and got a free Runners companion from a friend:3
Raiden
also, another con that an old GM said about PDFs was. "I cant smack the rule bending power-gamers, or the rule lawyers with PDF files"
_Pax._
QUOTE (Thanos007 @ Aug 15 2012, 11:02 AM) *
you said updates are free? What kind of updates are we talking about?

One example ... Runners' Companion, alternate character creation: "Karma Gen". Originally, it was printed with an x3 price for improving attributes. That was an error, it should have been an x5 price.

My PDF copy of Runner's Companion says "x5", because Battleshop gave me a new download link. Now, as it so happens, I have a copy of the pre-update version as well. Here's a side-by-side comparison of the KarmaGen table, from page 41 of that book:

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c313/GMP...Ccomparison.jpg

[ Spoiler ]


It's a small thing, but ... I don't have to remember myself, that X or Y little detail on page Z of such-and-such a book has changed. Nor do I have to constantly refer to Errata files (which, given Catalysts' pathological aversion to publishing Errata at all, is a doubly-good thing).
_Pax._
QUOTE (Raiden @ Aug 15 2012, 11:12 AM) *
also, another con that an old GM said about PDFs was. "I cant smack the rule bending power-gamers, or the rule lawyers with PDF files"

LOL. That's what my "cane" is for. ^_^
KCKitsune
QUOTE (Raiden @ Aug 15 2012, 11:12 AM) *
also, another con that an old GM said about PDFs was. "I cant smack the rule bending power-gamers, or the rule lawyers with PDF files"

Punishing Power gamers in 3 Easy Steps:
1) Get a Games Workshop metal space marine dreadnought,
2) Put said mini into a sock
3) Whack power gamer until he (or she) learns their lesson!

Pro: cheaper than a SR 4A edition book
Con: getting blood stains out of the sock... eek.gif

Anyways, back to the topic at hand: PDFs are much nicer because you can search them, and they don't fall apart. You can also print up only what you need... like the character sheet.
Bigity
That is a very expensive way to punish power gamers.

I find a short length of garden hose is a inexpensive, yet durable tool. You can leave the cap on for additional punishment if necessary.
Raiden
QUOTE (KCKitsune @ Aug 15 2012, 12:26 PM) *
Punishing Power gamers in 3 Easy Steps:
1) Get a Games Workshop metal space marine dreadnought,
2) Put said mini into a sock
3) Whack power gamer until he (or she) learns their lesson!

Pro: cheaper than a SR 4A edition book
Con: getting blood stains out of the sock... eek.gif

Anyways, back to the topic at hand: PDFs are much nicer because you can search them, and they don't fall apart. You can also print up only what you need... like the character sheet.


5 stars for you, I literally laughed out loud when i read the first step lol
Speed Wraith
QUOTE (Thanos007 @ Aug 15 2012, 12:02 PM) *
I find the lack of flippability an issue as well. Maybe using search is the answer?

you said updates are free? What kind of updates are we talking about?


Search helps, but when you know a hard copy book well, it is often easier and faster to simply pick up the book and flip to the section you need. Plus you don't end up with partial-word results or being sent to the index or worse, fiction, three times in a row.

Adventures can be a notorious pain in the behind that way also. Yes, Adobe will let you split the screen and have two sections up at once, but that doesn't really help if the stats start on one page and conclude on another, or if the stats you're looking for are scattered among multiple pages. The easy answer for adventures/modules is to copy from the .pdf to a Word/Google Docs/Open Office document.
Kagetenshi
QUOTE (Speed Wraith @ Aug 15 2012, 01:25 PM) *
Search helps, but when you know a hard copy book well, it is often easier and faster to simply pick up the book and flip to the section you need.

Certainly. It should be noted, though, that the real strength of searchability comes when you've built up a PDF library and can search across multiple books, which both relieves you of the burden of needing to remember or guess which book something is in and helps ensure that you aren't missing some special case or rule hidden away somewhere.

I spent years building an encyclopedic knowledge of the SR3 rules, and that still comes in very handy, but searchable PDFs and a few months of work (since you still need to know what the right search terms will be) can probably get you well over halfway there.

~J
Sengir
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 15 2012, 05:03 PM) *
The encryption prevents editing the PDFs, but in addition to this not really being something you'd usually want to do it also relies on the client to respect the encryption, so if you really, really need to correct the misinformation about diesel engines in Rigger 3, you can.

Or change the bookmarks, merge the tables from various books into one document, create a text-only version that does not kill your phone battery as fast...

qpdf thankfully takes care of this minor inconvenience wink.gif


My personal routine is to buy English PDFs, and the major books again in German as hardcopy. Then again, I've also got a printout of the UEFI spec (>2000 pages) and similarly-sized documents at work.
Sid Nitzerglobin
My biggest issue w/ the .pdfs is how expensive it is to print the large color ones (unless you've got no charge access to a color laserjet).

If you're bringing a laptop to the game table anyway it might not be as big of an issue. Even then it is nice to have a physical copy sometimes, IMO, but I guess I'm old school like that.
darthmord
My problem with the PDFs is more with the readers. I've yet to find fast reader software that doesn't make going through the PDF a slog.
KnightAries
QUOTE (darthmord @ Aug 16 2012, 06:01 PM) *
My problem with the PDFs is more with the readers. I've yet to find fast reader software that doesn't make going through the PDF a slog.


Though I'll get disagreement on this I've actually found the best pdf reader on android is adobe. I use it on my phone with very few problems.
_Pax._
The Nook is Android based ... but I found Adobe to be sub-par for Catalyst's especially-poorly-optimised PDFs. I found a free alternative, "ezPDF" I think it's called, which does a much better job.
KnightAries
QUOTE (_Pax._ @ Aug 16 2012, 07:27 PM) *
The Nook is Android based ... but I found Adobe to be sub-par for Catalyst's especially-poorly-optimised PDFs. I found a free alternative, "ezPDF" I think it's called, which does a much better job.


I'm always willing to test/try new things...
I'll give my humble opinion in a bit.

EDIT: Aahhh... Explains why it might be better. Payed for app. I just use the free one for my PDF Reader.
CloisterCobra
QUOTE (Raiden @ Aug 16 2012, 04:09 AM) *
Oh, I bought the corebook hardcover, If you pressed for money there is this way, its no worse then getting someone in a group to let you borrow there books honestly.
also i got lucky and got a free Runners companion from a friend:3


As someone who has contracted for a PDF work in the recent past, I find this a bit worrying, it sounds like what you are saying is that you think these PDFs are valuable enough to read, to use, and to share, but not valuable enough to pay for.

Given that I hope to write more for Catalyst, I hope that this opinion is not the majority.

Cheers
CC
_Pax._
QUOTE (CloisterCobra @ Aug 17 2012, 01:24 AM) *
I hope that this opinion is not the majority.

As do I.

...

I used to run PbP games of D&D 3.5 on RPOL.net ... and more than once, I summarily kicked people out of the game for thinking I wasn't being serious when I stated in no uncertain terms "I do not tolerate piracy here." (including one yutz who tried to hand me no less than fifteen pirated books, yeesh!)

I've known some RPG product writers on a first-name basis - especially from the old FASA days. Maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the Playtesters listed in Earthdawn's first-edition core book, are people I've played with, and even GMed for. Ergo, piracy of RPG materials hits "close to home" for me.
Sengir
QUOTE (CloisterCobra @ Aug 17 2012, 05:24 AM) *
Given that I hope to write more for Catalyst, I hope that this opinion is not the majority.

I guess it's somewhat obvious that "cloning" something and distributing worldwide is slightly different from lending a physical object inside a group of friends wink.gif
KarmaInferno
Physical books are okay legally to lend or sell because they don't leave a copy behind after the transfer.

Technically, you CAN legally transfer a PDF or other electronic product to another individual, you just have to delete all copies you possess as part of that transfer.




-k
VykosDarkSoul
So a quick question,

I just got an Ipad and not really all that familiar with it, what is a good PDF reader to view my SR books, and how do i get them on it, using itunes?
Bigity
QUOTE (VykosDarkSoul @ Aug 17 2012, 10:11 AM) *
So a quick question,

I just got an Ipad and not really all that familiar with it, what is a good PDF reader to view my SR books, and how do i get them on it, using itunes?


I like both iAnnotate and GoodRead for iPad

You get them by launching the App Store app and searching.
VykosDarkSoul
QUOTE (Bigity @ Aug 17 2012, 11:26 AM) *
I like both iAnnotate and GoodRead for iPad

You get them by launching the App Store app and searching.


Great, I'll check them out, and as far as getting the PDF's on to it, just somehow through iTunes?

sorry for the questions, but I am a PC person, and this damn tablet doesnt have a zip drive! lol
bannockburn
I use GoodReader and think that the investment was well worth it. You can either transfer files to the iPad via iTunes and the Filesharing feature (under apps, click on your reader, add file) or you can open an in-app wi-fi transfer to upload via web interface. GoodReader has a help file on how that works smile.gif
VykosDarkSoul
awesome, thanks all!
Bigity
For both, you can use DropBox, drag and drop through iTunes, SkyDrive, etc etc. I think you can even set up wireless sync with some free products.

SkyDrive and Dropbox both are easy to use and setup for both apps.

I think I like GoodReader more for reading, but when I have to annotate a PDF (for work) I prefer the other, so that might be the same case if I ever get crazy enough to annotate my game PDFs with errata or notes.
Sid Nitzerglobin
QUOTE (CloisterCobra @ Aug 17 2012, 01:24 AM) *
As someone who has contracted for a PDF work in the recent past, I find this a bit worrying, it sounds like what you are saying is that you think these PDFs are valuable enough to read, to use, and to share, but not valuable enough to pay for.

Given that I hope to write more for Catalyst, I hope that this opinion is not the majority.

Cheers
CC


I definitely buy everything I use in either physical or .pdf format at least once.

Letting someone reference a pdf at the table seems like legit sharing to me, but letting them copy it w/o them owning it themselves in one format or another would feel like piracy to me.

I'm not too sure where I stand ethically on whether I should have to purchase the pdf separately for a product I already purchased first hand in physical form, and will admit to creating and using some un-watermarked digital versions of books that I already own a hardcopy of. I also print copies of pdf publications that I have purchased (but that's pretty much exclusively because they don't offer them for sale in physical format). That used to be legal fair use, not sure where the law comes down on these today though.

I have purchased the pdf version of a couple of the better SR physical books I bought through my local shop just because I felt like boosting the sales numbers/supporting the game, but I'm not sure that I necessarily feel obligated to do so. Am I an evil person because of this?
Grinder
QUOTE (Raiden @ Aug 15 2012, 05:07 PM) *
[ CENSORED BY MODERATORS ].



QUOTE (Bigity @ Aug 15 2012, 05:34 PM) *
I don't think that kind of post is kosher around here.


Exactly:


QUOTE
Dumpshock Forums TOS

5. No posts that contain pirated materials, requests for pirated materials, or advocacy of pirating are permitted.
Redjack
I followed up by removing the details from this thread regarding piracy of Shadowrun PDF files.
Dumpshock fully supports 'fair use' and, as Grinder noted, is no part, nor party, to piracy.

We can't force you to buy them, but we do have a zero tolerance policy and highly recommend you to purchase them.
_Pax._
**applause**
Kagetenshi
Censoring posts so readily? Man, moderating standards have gone downhill.

~J
Tymeaus Jalynsfein
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 18 2012, 08:46 AM) *
Censoring posts so readily? Man, moderating standards have gone downhill.

~J


I disagree... He was advocating illegal activities and the moderators nipped it in the bud. Seems pretty fair to me. smile.gif
Kagetenshi
To warn him? Absolutely. A temporary ban would be harsh but reasonable. Censoring is clearly unwarranted—the post contained no particularly valuable information for engaging in such activities or content otherwise requiring concealment.

(They also didn't "nip it in the bud" in any sense—the censoring occurred a full two days after the initial post, and although I haven't done a thorough reread of the thread it looked to me like there was no particular outpouring of support or encouragement for copyright violation welling up. That bud was dead before they got here.)

~J
_Pax._
QUOTE (Kagetenshi @ Aug 18 2012, 12:30 PM) *
Censoring is clearly unwarranted

Completely totally, and vehemently disagree. The two-day delay is probably because noone bothered to report the offending post any sooner - and not every thread is read by one or more moderators.

The contents of that post are in violation of the rules. Therefor, in the unlikely event I were a moderator on these forums (ha!) ...? Censoring the offending post is the first step I would have taken.

And remember: this is a private forum. Noone - not you, not me, not anyone except the administrator(s) - has any "Free Speech" rights here. We all participate (or not) on sufferance of the administration team.

Finally ... what part of "zero tolerance" are you not getting? A zero tolerance policy clearly (to me) indicates that a violation doesn't just get a "tsk, tsk, don't do that again" response from those charged with enforcing the rules and policies.
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