2010-09-22 : 3 updates

1) I got to play The Drifter's Escape with Ben, Emily and Eppy. It was good. It was utterly tragic for some people who weren't the drifter, and mixed for the drifter.

I don't get to play games enough with any of those three, even though two of them live pretty near me.

2) I didn't get to finish, or even really get a good start on, my GameChef game. I'm disappointed because it was going to be cool, but time and circumstances didn't work out.

I'm looking forward to finding out the finalists! I hope to play at least one of them, to do my part to pick the winner.

3) I'm thinking hard about PDF sales. I'm providing PDFs to retailers, now, to include with book purchases in their stores.

I'm also considering revising my PDF pricing policies. Fellow publishers, how much do you charge for your PDFs vs for your books, and why?

1. On 2010-09-22, Joel said:

From the TwitSpace:

First ashcan: $5 book, $2 PDF. I was trying to just generate enough money to print the thing for Gamestorm 09. Worked, barely.

2nd ashcan went all the way to final product without being sold as PDF. Book is now $10, and PDF will be free with purchase.

haven't actually thought of selling the PDF separately for this one. $3 maybe? Releasing basic info in Creative Commons wiki.

Follow-up from that: I personally am not jazzed about buying PDFs. I like having them to look over and get a feel for a product but I can't read them straight through like a book in that form and I certainly can't use them for play. So if I'm using them I print them which means I want a cheap and/or short PDF to print from, because the REAL cost is PDF + printing costs.

So far I haven't even sold a PRINT book that was over $10, so my bar for PDF sales is appropriately low. For my new book, I worked hard to make the homemade product itself a thing of beauty and artistry, so I'm not certain I even want to release a PDF at all. I've published under Creative Commons Attribution-share alike license, so I'll just put the basic game information up on a wiki soon and let the "product" stand as the homemade, hand-sewn, matte-framed cover illustration work of art that it is.

If I'm selling a PDF it probably means that it's a game in development OR a supplemental service to what I consider the "real" product, and therefore quite cheap. $5 and below.



2. On 2010-09-23, Martin Ralya said:

Engine Publishing follows the Evil Hat model: 50% of the MSRP of the print version. This has worked well with our first product, Eureka, which is selling well at $34.95 print and at $16.95 PDF.

I'm not sure how it plays into the whole model, but we also offer the PDF for free with the print version.

In setting the price for Eureka, we tried to take into account whether we were trying to drive one type of sale over another, and eventually decided that 50% wasn't favoring print over PDF or vice versa. Go lower, and we favor PDF sales; go higher, and we favor bundle sales.

My overriding reason is one that Fred has outlined: My consumer "lizard brain" feels about right at 50%, and wonders about PDF pricing that varies from that mark—like the asinine practice of print and PDF prices being equal, which just baffles me.


3. On 2010-09-23, Graham said:

Play Unsafe: $8 (vs $15). Because it seems to sell well at that price; because it's under that psychological barrier of $10.

A Taste For Murder: $10 (vs $20). Because I think it's worth that.

Cthulhu scenarios: $5 (PDF only). Because budget pricing! It's exciting. Much less profit, many more people buying. Because what's $5? Not much. And when you get something good for $5, which someone's taken care over? Well, you have to buy that, surely?

More things! I think you can price PDFs according to any of the following: the maximum most people will buy it for (quite a sensible option, actually); to maximise your profits, according to your best guess; what you think it's worth (as in, I'm fucked if I'm giving this away for less than $10); and this other thing I've forgotten because it's three in the morning.


4. On 2010-09-23, anon. said:

The TABAW PDF is $7, as compared to $12 for the book. Generally, I think around 50% of a book's price is reasonable for a PDF, but in this instance I felt like the PDF was worth a bit more than $6, since I deliberately lowballed the price on the book.


5. On 2010-09-23, Vincent said:


I've decided to try a thing out (as you can probably see on the front page).


6. On 2010-09-27, Eppy said:

I just wanted to chime and agree with not getting to play enough with said folks.


7. On 2010-09-28, Aaron Lehmann said:

I've never published, only purchased, but from that standpoint I would NEVER buy a PDF unless the price of the PDF could come out of the cost of the dead-tree if I decided to buy it.

PDFs are worthless to me in the long-term, but I'm willing to pay a percentage of the real cost as "earnest money."


8. On 2010-10-12, John said:

As a consumer I avoid PDFs whenever possible. Your experiment lead to my first PDF purchase. I think about PDFs as a cheap way to research a game that I might want to buy "for real."


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