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Ranneko
Just out of curiousity, any chance we can find out how much the PDF will set us back?

I mean I know I will be getting it pretty much regardless, but it would still be handy info to have.
The Canterbury Tail
Since the book itself will be $34.99, I'm guessing the PDF will be around the $23-27 mark.
Jrayjoker
Swordfish Mustardball
Cheops
That's outrageous that they'd charge that much for a PDF.
blakkie
Because?
ShadowGhost
Here we go again with the "Why so fragging much for a PDF?" thread again.

The PDF is NOT simply take your pre-press file and hit a button to export a PDF.

Making the PDF is a shitload of work.

You need to make all the little bookmarks/hyperlinks by hand, in Acrobat (your best bet, not in inDesign itself). Then you need to hand test all those hundreds of hyperlinks, from the Table of Contents, through to the Index, to pages in the middle that have links to "See table on page 354."

Sell the PDF for too little, and all the stores that would normally by the hardcover book won't because they're being undercut. They don't buy the books.... Fanpro doesn't make much money.

The distributors of the PDF still need to make a profit margin. Adam needs to be paid for all the hard work he does creating the PDF, proof reading, double checking it. Fanpro needs to make money from the PDFs.

If you don't like the price of a PDF.... don't buy it.
tisoz
Looks like the pdf of new releases is running about 70-75% of the print price. So I'll guess $25.

Concerning the price, you are getting the same information, just another format that is cheaper to produce. The savings from the print version is probably in lieu of printing and transportation costs.
Eldritch
Not in the industry myself - but based on many comments from freelancers, writers, and artists - they don't get paid a whole lot. I'm guessing that the majority of the cost of a book is in the physical printing.

Yeah, setting up a pdf is time consuming, but what? 40 hours work? Even at $10/hour thats only $400 - a one time fee - not needed for each copy sold like a print copy would.


*Shrug* I guess I'm in the camp of "PDF's should be much cheaper", but what it really comes down to is demand and value. If you feel that the PDF is too expensive, then the only way you can 'voice' this is to not buy it - and encourage others to not buy it. Then hope they lower the price.

But based on the rabid appetites of the fans here at DS, I have a feeling that SR4 PDF will leap to the top of DTRPG's best selling list.
Velocity
QUOTE (Eldritch)
Yeah, setting up a pdf is time consuming, but what? 40 hours work? Even at $10/hour thats only $400 - a one time fee - not needed for each copy sold like a print copy would.

What I know about the gaming industry would fit in a gnat's ear, but I sincerely hope that whoever works on the PDF earns more than a lousy ten bucks an hour.
Gildashard
I've always though PDF books were priced high. Look at the break down.

You have two choices, eBook, or Book. Somwhere in that price is the cost of the intellectual property, in this case, Shadowrun itself. Marketing and advertising the product problably takes a cut as well. Proofreading & editing.This applies to both.

So what's left. Well a book has to be made from physical material, manufactured, printed, handled, & shipped. An eBook has to be PDFed with links, bookmarks and tested to see that they work. Both can be bought online, and onlines stores sometimes take a hit on books by giving free or reduced shipping to compete with brick and mortar stores.

Just don't see how a PDF is only little less costly than a REAL book when you factor in what it takes to make the book and get it to the store. I had an old RPG with the pages falling Hardbound one time. It was about the page count and size as Shadowrun. It costs $30 and that was 10 years ago. Granted, that was one book, not a production run, but still.

Now on to my next pet peeve. If I bought the book, why do I have to pay extra for the pdf? I already bought the intellectual property, I should only have to pay the pdf creation fee. Of course this applies to Cassette tapes and CDs as well, if I bought the tape, I should only have to pay an upgrade fee to get the higher quality CD. After all, I already owned the rights to the songs on the album.

Fuzzy line here, and with online music and books, something has to shake out in the end.
Eldritch
QUOTE (Velocity)
QUOTE (Eldritch @ Aug 25 2005, 02:28 PM)
Yeah, setting up a pdf is time consuming, but what? 40 hours work?  Even at $10/hour thats only $400 - a one time fee - not needed for each copy sold like a print copy would.

What I know about the gaming industry would fit in a gnat's ear, but I sincerely hope that whoever works on the PDF earns more than a lousy ten bucks an hour.

I tossed out round numbers for lazee sake. smile.gif

But the way everyone in the gaming indusrty talks....I'd be suprised if it were much more than that.

ShadowGhost
Buying the book is just that. Buying the book.

Just because I have a copy of Adobe CS for Mac doesn't mean I get a free one for the PC too. You have to buy both.

PDF is a separate, and different medium. You want both. Buy both. PDFs also have large advantages... being searchable, printable, etc.

If they make the PDF really cheap, then brick and mortar stores will not want to carry the hard copy books.... they're being undercut by the PDF.

This is the same reason why many books cost the same, whether you order directly from the publisher, or buy a copy in a brick and mortar store. That's why FanPro sold the books at GenCon for the same price as what you'd pay in store.

The PDFs are also updated, and get errata updates, corrections etc... for 'free'. You don't get that with the hard copy. Unless you want to pay less for the initial PDF, and pay for each update, errata fix. When I say for 'free', they're building the cost into the initial PDF you purchase.

You don't get a CD for half price just because you own the cassette. Point of fact, you may 'own' the cd or cassette.... but you do not own the songs on the. You just have a license to listen to them.
Bandwidthoracle
Since Fanpro is nice enough to give us the errata does that mean we'll be alloud to download a new copy every time the errata is updated (I thought there was a hard limit on how many downloads you got of the PDF)
Spookymonster
QUOTE (Gildashard)
Now on to my next pet peeve. If I bought the book, why do I have to pay extra for the pdf?

Can you click on a bookmark in your hardcopy and be taken immediately to that page and paragraph?

Can you cut and paste huge chunks of text from your hardcopy into a player handout sheet?

Can you do a complete text keyword search in less than 10 seconds with the hardcopy?

Can you make identical copies of your hardcover rulebook and store them in multiple locations, in case of damage or destruction, free of charge?

Can you get your hardcopy updated with errata instantaneously and free of charge?

QUOTE
I already bought the intellectual property, I should only have to pay the pdf creation fee. Of course this applies to Cassette tapes and CDs as well, if I bought the tape, I should only have to pay an upgrade fee to get the higher quality CD. After all, I already owned the rights to the songs on the album.

No, you didn't. You bought the physical media, and a license to listen to the recording, as impressed in that medium. You did not buy the IP, nor did you buy the right to a copy of that recording on another, possibly higher fidelity, medium. However, you do have the 'fair right' to make a copy of that recording, directly from that medium, for personal use and backups.
Knarfy
DOuble post, srry
Knarfy
Ill tell you why PDF's are as expensive as they are, because they will only actually sell a few compared to the number of books they will sell.

Why?

Piracy, thats why. They will sell a few, and then the file will be up for grabs. If they could guarantee that everyone who wanted one would actually pay for it, then I bet they would make it cheaper. But the less the think they'll sell, the higher they have to charge per unit to make up their baseline.

It kinda sucks, but, welcome to the information age sarcastic.gif
ShadowGhost
Providing people manage to remove the watermarks; your name you purchased the book under, from every single page of the PDF.....

Otherwise you're advertising that you're breaking all sorts of copyright violations.
Knarfy
I know they have anti-piracy measures, but even so, they will at least only sell one for most groups. Since if you give your friends a copy of your PDF, they arent gonnna rat you out.

But, irregardless, they will sell them for what they sell them smile.gif
blakkie
QUOTE (ShadowGhost @ Aug 25 2005, 01:17 PM)
Providing people manage to remove the watermarks; your name you purchased the book under, from every single page of the PDF.....

Otherwise you're advertising that you're breaking all sorts of copyright violations.

I was lead to believe that Battlecorps didn't even bother to watermark. But that aside, the cost of a book goes to many things beyond the physical piece of paper and the costs to put the ink to it. The PDF avoids those costs, although it does have some lesser distribution costs regarding maintaining the server and bandwidth.

EDIT: Also the book sold in paper form does not preclude illegal electronic redistribution. If you look hard enough you can find the SR3 books in a scanned graphic format. Obviously not as nice as searchable text, but usable.
Velocity
QUOTE (Knarfy)
Piracy, thats why. They will sell a few, and then the file will be up for grabs.

I wonder about that. I've browsed file-sharing networks looking for Shadowrun PDFs and none of the copies I've downloaded are the 'official' ones. They're not pretty (poor scans, lopsided pages, blurred text) and aren't searchable, nor hyperlinked.

(extinguish.gif Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot: I only download PDFs of books I already own. I own a scanner, but frankly I haven't the time to scan all of my books. I have no interest in cheating FASA/FanPro; they put out a good product and I'd like to keep them in business.)

In fact, I've never found the official PDFs online and I've been downloaded Shadowrun PDFs for months. So who's putting them "up for grabs"?
ShadowGhost
I got my PDFs from DriveThruRPG.... every single page has my full name, and order number on it.

Would make it very easy to track me down if they started showing up on the internet.
Sabosect
The official PDFs are for sale on a couple of the sites that sell Shadowrun books. Not anywhere near all of them.

As for who puts up the illegal copies: You need to research it yourself. But, while I don't do it, I find it ironic that a game in which canon characters have illegally distributed information is having problems with illegal distribution of information. Looks to me like some people play the game a little too much.

Personally, I don't know anyone who has done it. But it doesn't surprise me that it exists.
Knarfy
Hmm, perhaps I should backtrack a bit here. I am not an expert on PDF's or software piracy. I do not regularly hunt down PDF's and download them. (in fact, I have a habit of getting all my books in hardcopy)

It just seems to me, that it being in a digital media format, that the chances that it will be illegally distributed are high, and it is a possible reason for the seemingly high pricepoint.

My original post should have been more of the "this is what it might be" rather than the "this is what it is" tone. wink.gif
Velocity
Fairplay; maybe it is done. All I'm saying is that I've spent many hours looking through various file-sharing netwroks (both peer-to-peer and torrents) and I've never seen a single "official" PDF. I've downloaded dozens (literally) of books and not one of them was "official" (i.e. clean, searchable, indexed, etcetera).

I'm not arguing that it's not done, I'm just saying that I've never seen it.
Darkness
Just FYI
http://p205.ezboard.com/fedenstudiosdiscus...picID=363.topic
I came to this board through the DriveThruRpg Forum.
Spookymonster
QUOTE (Velocity)
(extinguish.gif Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot: I only download PDFs of books I already own.

Just an FYI: legally, the fact that you already own a copy is irrelevant. You are entitled to copy the physical book you purchased, not merely a copy of the intellectual property that book may have held. If you want to tear apart your book and scan it into a PDF, that's fine, but downloading a copy of a PDF of someone else's book isn't legally the same.
Spookymonster
QUOTE (Sabosect)
As for who puts up the illegal copies: You need to research it yourself.

With official PDF copies becoming more popular, I say it's only a matter of time before some kid passes out one too many copies of his legal PDF to his friends, only to have his 'friend' drop it on a P2P network without stripping the watermark first.

Technically, it's the legal owner (the one that's redistributing the PDF) that is guilty of piracy, not the dozen or so freeloaders that he gave the book to (and subsequently got him in trouble).
Velocity
QUOTE (Spookymonster)
QUOTE (Velocity @ Aug 25 2005, 03:28 PM)
(extinguish.gif Before anyone gets their knickers in a knot: I only download PDFs of books I already own.

Just an FYI: legally, the fact that you already own a copy is irrelevant. You are entitled to copy the physical book you purchased, not merely a copy of the intellectual property that book may have held. If you want to tear apart your book and scan it into a PDF, that's fine, but downloading a copy of a PDF of someone else's book isn't legally the same.

Oh yeah, I know. The legality of it is moot, I'm only concerned with the ethics.
Sabosect
Which is why I don't distribute it. Need to pick a spell from Magic in the Shadows and have to come to me? Don't be surprised if I'm watching over your shoulder while you scribble the spell on your character sheet from the copy I have on my computer.
ShadowGhost
QUOTE (Sabosect @ Aug 25 2005, 03:46 PM)
With official PDF copies becoming more popular, I say it's only a matter of time before some kid passes out one too many copies of his legal PDF to his friends, only to have his 'friend' drop it on a P2P network without stripping the watermark first.

Which is why I never let anyone borrow my PDFs.... if they want to use them, they're welcome to use my powerbook to look something up in the PDFs. But if they want a copy.... they can damn buy it themselves.
ShadowGhost
With the PDFs,I wonder if they can't put the watermark in white, on a white background, with spaces between all the letters (so a simple find/replace doesn't find them all), and variations of this so they can track people down?
morlock76
QUOTE (Spookymonster)
Can you make identical copies of your hardcover rulebook and store them in multiple locations, in case of damage or destruction, free of charge?

Well, depends on the counts / law situation I assume.

But if that is so, then the pdf got to have the price tag (range) it got now, as most ppl wont buy the book once they have the pdf.
Ill just go and get me a book printed and bound. Maybe shitty quality (or not) but if I suddenly find the colored pages in my hand instead of the book (like SR3) Ill just get a reprint.

The costs of that + pdf should still be way lower then having to buy a second book (unless you get that broken book fixed, without loss of quality).


The single reason for me to get the pdf is the avalability. No way Ill be having a book in my hand anytime this month unless its a printed pdf.
Darkness
QUOTE (ShadowGhost)
With the PDFs,I wonder if they can't put the watermark in white, on a white background, with spaces between all the letters (so a simple find/replace doesn't find them all), and variations of this so they can track people down?

That is actually more complicated than you might think. First of all, the process is automated. They have a normal PDF on their server. In the moment the PDF is prepared for download the system automatically adds the watermark to every page.
Nowadays, many books tend to have colored backgrounds (Just go to DriveThru and download the Free WitchCraft roleplaying system). And normaly the placement would have to be done by hand. if you do it the way you propose. And the watermark has to be placed on every Page of the book. Which would make watermarking the whole book a real PITA.
I don't know which programs these crackers use, but even with the normal Acrobat it is quite easy to find every strange object on a given page, even if it is well hidden.
ShadowGhost
I just did a quickie test.... you can produce a PDF with white text on a white background.... you don't see it.

You can also even put text behind a picture.... the text is still there.... you can't see it.

So they can add various codes to pages within the book, that are not visible, but still eminently trackable.

The don't have to do it to every page... just add white text boxes where they're all filled with randomly generated gibberish... except for one out of 25 pages that have a an encrypted code with the order number and person who ordered the book, that looks like the rest of the randomly generated gibberish.
Darkness
Which wouldn't stop crackers from simply removing every single one of these boxes, no?
Sabosect
Actually, it would if you combined it with the watermark (or some other security feature) and didn't tell them about it. Most would simply remove the watermark and move on. It wouldn't work forever, but close enough.
Darkness
True.
Babel
The gist of this argument to me boils down to this question. Do you see the PDF as a replacement for the book or just another way to access the same data?

Personally I own over half of all the shadowrun books ever printed, including novels and adventures. When I moved earlier this year I tracked down a local game store and told the owner to order one of every SR product released and I would buy it. So I'm going to buy the book anyway.

To me the PDF is just a more convenient way to get to the data I already have. Now days the majority of my shadowrun playing is online so I'm at my computer anyway. But how much is that convenience worth? It's not really worth more then about 10 bucks for me, realisticly. When we get into the $20+ range I start thinking of other things I could buy.

However I imagine the financial people at FanPro see the PDF in a vastly different light. To them it represents a possible loss of a book sale. It would be nice if they could include some sort of code in with the book where you could get the PDF at a vastly discounted price but then someone would just walk into the store, copy it down, and not buy the book.

I know recently BattleCorps offered a bundle for SoA. But that was still $15 for the pdf and I like my book money to go to my local game store.
Gildashard
Maybe you lose a book sale to a PDF sale, but you should make the same profit so nothing is lost. I just think the PDF costs them far less to produce then the hardcopy book so more profit is made on the PDF. Maybe they are factoring in lost sales due to pirated PDFs which I'm sure is more common than pirated hardcopy books.

That aside, I think that a discount is in order for those that buy both. I've bought the right to own a copy of the contents, I shouldn't have to pay for that right twice, just the formatting difference.

blakkie
QUOTE (Gildashard)
....I just think the PDF costs them far less to produce then the hardcopy book so more profit is made on the PDF.....

So what convinces you that printing and binding costs minus PDF costs doesn't represent 25% of the book's retail price? Anyone with hard industry knowledge of that?

Given that retail generally tacks a substatial mark-up since they need that money to operate, it wouldn't surprise me that the printing, binding, and shipping costs for a paper book sit in around 30ish% of the retail cost of the book.

P.S. Even if the margin was somewhat higher on PDF, at least they are giving a serious discount and passing on a good amount of the savings in cost.
Gildashard
Interesting site to calculate book cost. I came up with around $15 cost to make a Shadowrun size book at 5000 copies. Perhaps China is cheaper though this company may make them in China too.

http://www.instantpublisher.com/pricing.htm
Cain
Look, guys, if you own a hardcopy of a book, do you whine and complain because they won't give you a discount if you buy a second copy? Why should pdf's be any different? They're the same thing, just in a different format-- you still get two copies instead of one.
Gondor
They have the right to charge whatever they want for the PDF, and I can choose either to buy it or not. That being said, if it is normally 70-75% of the price of a soft cover book, it should be a little less, since the prduction cost of a hardcover is quite a bit more.
The Canterbury Tail
I feel you're always going to have piracy, legal PDFs or not. However the companies may as well try and make some money out of those of us who are honest. Lots of people buy both hardcopies and PDFs of books these days, so they are buying two copies. Getting a few hundred people to do that overcomes the cost of producing the PDF and should ultimately net the company more money. You can't stop piracy no matter what controls you put in place, all you can do is keep your honest fanbase happy enough to buy your products.

I personally don't think $25 for a SR4 rulebook is too bad, now $25 for a 128 supplement would be a totally different matter.
Ranneko
QUOTE (Gildashard)
That aside, I think that a discount is in order for those that buy both. I've bought the right to own a copy of the contents, I shouldn't have to pay for that right twice, just the formatting difference.

As has been stated elsewhere, that is really entirely up to them, you still have to pay twice to get 2 copied of a book, so that claim really has no basis.
Masterofthegame
Just a brief bit of information from one who has been in the industry, though has moved away a bit. Unless the calculations have changed (which in the case of some publishers it most definately has toward their end) the retailer makes half the suggested retail price, the distributor makes half that, and the publisher makes half that.

If you buy a book for $40, then the publisher generally makes about $10. How much the author makes of that is entirely based on the company and the author's ability to draw a fan base.

That said, I agree that some companies charge entirely too much for PDFs. Fantasy Flight, for instance, charges the same amount for PDFs as print.

I own quite a few PDFs, all of them obtained legally through purchase or as review/playtest copies, and I've never paid more than $20 or half the cost of print, whichever is lower. That's my choice of course, as it is the choice of companies to overcharge. Sooner or later it'll all come out in the wash.

Games work best when kept as a hobby not an investment, and even collectors like myself are becoming a bit leary of the price. I left the industry for much better paying prospects, but I keep up with all of my favorite systems, a bit easier now that I make enough to not have to rely on free copies smile.gif

Still, it's getting tiresome. Aside from the reviewers who get their copies for free, I heard a lot more complaints at GenCon about some books that push the price envelope than good things.

Take for instance the newest core book from the most popular company in the industry. A $40 book with a 282 page count, very little of which all players will use. Then, another company produces a core rulebook, all of which is necesary to their players for the same price with a 496 page count. Now, the larger company can produce books faster and cheaper, and has most authers on staff, while the second produced a quality book for the actual cost of its creation by people who are more like the game designers of old.

Both these books actually exist, but only one has been called the best book of the con, and only one will sell out to its fan base. The first company may be more popular and better backed, but the second is beloved by their supporters.

In the long run I'd rather be a part of the latter, as I see them becoming far more (not that I am mind you, but it certainly reminds me of what I once enjoyed so much). I'm a entrepenuer now, and to me it seems to me better to be part of a company on the rise, no matter how small, than one that constantly worries about falling.

Wow, that turned into quite the rant.

My point is, game companies aren't what they once were, and while all of us seek to make a profit, I think they've lost sight of the fans that make them that money. I can't remember where I heard it, but someone once said that the game designers have stopped thinking about themselves as GAME designers, and started thinking of themselves as authors. I like that, and I find it fitting.

The thing is, authors have publishers behind them, and literary agents, who know how to cultivate an audience. I'm afraid that these game companies don't. Even the big ones. They did once, because they wrote what they would be willing to buy. They had the control, and they did well. Then writers grew into companies, and everything changed.

Ok, still ranting, I better end this. The fact is, that no matter what the excuse it comes down to profit, like it should with most companies, but hobby companies do it differently. They work on things they love. Too bad the industry isn't run by hobby companies any more, it might thrive like it did 20 years ago.
Conskill
QUOTE (Masterofthegame)
My point is, game companies aren't what they once were, and while all of us seek to make a profit, I think they've lost sight of the fans that make them that money.

Customers make money. Fans make mail, conventions, and the occasional stalker. Beware the fan who does not think of himself as a customer.

On the main topic: personally, which version I buy (and I'm only going to buy one) depends on if I can get my broken printer fixed before the hardcopy has its general release. PDFs can do many wonderful things, but I have trouble snuggling up to my monitor in bed to read.
The Canterbury Tail
QUOTE (Conskill)
PDFs can do many wonderful things, but I have trouble snuggling up to my monitor in bed to read.

That is why I'm about to invest in a nice Tablet PC shortly.
Darkness
I'm actually going to buy both.
It' funny. Since i live in an european country, the PDF will cost me far less than the hardcover wink.gif.
I have calculated the PDF with $27, which is approximately 22. If i buy the hardcopy in my FLGS it will cost me 35, if i'm lucky, that ist. And that would be about $44, because of the shipping costs and whatnot. So i just saved myself $17(for which i can buy even more Sourcebooks smile.gif ).
But, as you can't whack a dumb player over the head with the PDF, i will buy the hardcover nonetheless.
Both versions have their value for me. The PDF is searchable, and i can copy portions out of it, so that i can make modifiertables for my players, while the book is far more readable.
chevalier_neon
But... you can whack a dumb player over the head with a laptop or a desktop...
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