I Love D&D Next, But ...

D&D Next is, to me, the one edition to rule them all. So far, it blows its predecessors out of the water, and has an uncanny knack for agreeing with me and coming up with things that I wish I had thought of.

Unfortunately, it really isn't practical for me to play it unless it is available in PDF format, or something very similar. I hate lugging around books. I hate using books. They have no search feature. I bring my Andriod tablet, and sometimes also my laptop, to tabletop RPG sessions. Both are loaded with PDFs, and they are all I need.

To be honest, because I love the game so much, I would probably buy physical copies of the books if there were no PDFs. The frequency of which I would play it - and the level to which I would recommend it to people - is a different matter.

Blood & Treasure is looking VERY nice. I don't like it as much as I like D&D Next, but its available in PDF format, and at a reasonable price. If there is some sort of buggy subscription-based digital content that runs on Silverlight, or no digital content at all, I might just go play Blood & Treasure.

Please Wizards: I really want to like and play D&D Next. I implore you not to screw up the digital content like you did with D&D Insider. That was quite pathetic. Keep up the good work, and sell PDFs!
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I agree having D&D books as PDF is very handy and hope too that DDN will be available in digital format.

During Gen Con's Keynote Address WoTC announced that they will sell PDF of all editions once again in 2013.  I don't know if they will continue to do so when DDN roll out, but going back to this business model is a good thing in my opinion and may very well continue when the next iteration of D&D will go live. Let's wait and see!

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I just want to add that if your product is good enough, it will still make money, even if it is available free.

For example, the entirety of Pathfinder is available for free online--on Pathfinder's main site.  And people still absolutely buy those books.  People like to support things they love.  Look at all the success various bands have had with "name your own price" CDs.  Humble Bundles make plenty of money from people volunteering to pay for something that is offered free.  

People want to give money to Wizards of the Coast, but when they stopped selling .pdfs, it made it really hard for many, many people to do so.  Now, I like actual physical books, but I'm a bit of an anachronist on that front.  My future grandkids might not even really know what a book is.  PDFs are essentially a requirement for modern publishing.
I also hope that D&DN has some kind of OGL, to make things easy on third party publishers. Imagine the wonderful writers at Paizo making D&D Next adventures!

*gazes upwards dreamily* 
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I just want to add that if your product is good enough, it will still make money, even if it is available free.

For example, the entirety of Pathfinder is available for free online--on Pathfinder's main site.  And people still absolutely buy those books.  People like to support things they love.  Look at all the success various bands have had with "name your own price" CDs.  Humble Bundles make plenty of money from people volunteering to pay for something that is offered free.  

People want to give money to Wizards of the Coast, but when they stopped selling .pdfs, it made it really hard for many, many people to do so.  Now, I like actual physical books, but I'm a bit of an anachronist on that front.  My future grandkids might not even really know what a book is.  PDFs are essentially a requirement for modern publishing.


Here here. I could rely on d20PFsrd.com or the PRD but I bought the Core Rulebook and the PDF.

WotC has anbounced past support,and regardless of how uncertain of what the fans want the company is they'd be stupid not to bring back PDFs.The catch is, will they bring them back at a reasonable price (like Paizo and related companies) or will they continue to insist on charging full retail book price and acting surprised by low sales and piracy. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

I also hope that D&DN has some kind of OGL, to make things easy on third party publishers. Imagine the wonderful writers at Paizo making D&D Next adventures!

*gazes upwards dreamily* 


An OGL with some sort of review of quality. I love some of the things that came out with OGL but there were a lot of stupid sensless junk as well.
I would think something like, when they were good guys, Nintendo did with having the gold seal on their games. These games were reviewed and meet a certain quality. Thats also something that WotC needs to consider as well Quality>Quantity. Don't just throw splatbooks at us, give us good material and you will get our money.

Also, I'm loving what I'm seeing in D&DNext. So right there with you Josha. 
I also hope that D&DN has some kind of OGL, to make things easy on third party publishers. Imagine the wonderful writers at Paizo making D&D Next adventures!

*gazes upwards dreamily* 



Don't hold your breath. After what Paizo did to 4e they will never give their intellectual property out like that again. 

You might be hard pressed to see anything similar to the gsl they have for 4e. It's just not in the stars.
I mean, I buy the books and then get the PDF's (one way or another...) I figure as long as I paid for them I deserve them in whatever copy I desire.

I just prefer that someone else put the effort into making them digital copies and adding shortcuts.
I just want to add that if your product is good enough, it will still make money, even if it is available free.

For example, the entirety of Pathfinder is available for free online--on Pathfinder's main site.  And people still absolutely buy those books.  People like to support things they love.  Look at all the success various bands have had with "name your own price" CDs.  Humble Bundles make plenty of money from people volunteering to pay for something that is offered free.  

People want to give money to Wizards of the Coast, but when they stopped selling .pdfs, it made it really hard for many, many people to do so.  Now, I like actual physical books, but I'm a bit of an anachronist on that front.  My future grandkids might not even really know what a book is.  PDFs are essentially a requirement for modern publishing.


Here here. I could rely on d20PFsrd.com or the PRD but I bought the Core Rulebook and the PDF.

WotC has anbounced past support,and regardless of how uncertain of what the fans want the company is they'd be stupid not to bring back PDFs.The catch is, will they bring them back at a reasonable price (like Paizo and related companies) or will they continue to insist on charging full retail book price and acting surprised by low sales and piracy. 



Yeah that would be the best way to do it. They could set the price of the PDF to be equal to the profit they make off of the books, and it won't matter if one outsells the other they will still get the same amount of money either way...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I just want to add that if your product is good enough, it will still make money, even if it is available free.

For example, the entirety of Pathfinder is available for free online--on Pathfinder's main site.  And people still absolutely buy those books.  People like to support things they love.  Look at all the success various bands have had with "name your own price" CDs.  Humble Bundles make plenty of money from people volunteering to pay for something that is offered free.  

People want to give money to Wizards of the Coast, but when they stopped selling .pdfs, it made it really hard for many, many people to do so.  Now, I like actual physical books, but I'm a bit of an anachronist on that front.  My future grandkids might not even really know what a book is.  PDFs are essentially a requirement for modern publishing.


Here here. I could rely on d20PFsrd.com or the PRD but I bought the Core Rulebook and the PDF.

WotC has anbounced past support,and regardless of how uncertain of what the fans want the company is they'd be stupid not to bring back PDFs.The catch is, will they bring them back at a reasonable price (like Paizo and related companies) or will they continue to insist on charging full retail book price and acting surprised by low sales and piracy. 



Yeah that would be the best way to do it. They could set the price of the PDF to be equal to the profit they make off of the books, and it won't matter if one outsells the other they will still get the same amount of money either way...


I really like how Paizo handles things. The core hardcover books go for$10 or so, 1/4 of the price of the books, but the PDFs of adventures and other books are closer to 3/4 as you only need one of those. They acknowledge the price books should be for reluctant buyers wanting to testEthel game or people looking for a second e-copy.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

I just want to add that if your product is good enough, it will still make money, even if it is available free.

For example, the entirety of Pathfinder is available for free online--on Pathfinder's main site.  And people still absolutely buy those books.  People like to support things they love.  Look at all the success various bands have had with "name your own price" CDs.  Humble Bundles make plenty of money from people volunteering to pay for something that is offered free.  

People want to give money to Wizards of the Coast, but when they stopped selling .pdfs, it made it really hard for many, many people to do so.  Now, I like actual physical books, but I'm a bit of an anachronist on that front.  My future grandkids might not even really know what a book is.  PDFs are essentially a requirement for modern publishing.



I wouldn't look at it as they're 'supporting' anything. Some people prefer books to .pdfs, so that's what they buy. I know I do. I have some .pdfs, but I never use them. I find it much easier (and faster) to look things up in a book. I don't mind carrying a few books to a game session. It's not really a big deal and books certainly look nicer and are easier to read than staring at yet another computer/tablet/PDA/iphone/TV screen. Not to mention, people pay more attention to the game when they don't have some kind of electronic device in hand to distract them...
"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."

Yeah that would be the best way to do it. They could set the price of the PDF to be equal to the profit they make off of the books, and it won't matter if one outsells the other they will still get the same amount of money either way...



As much as I am cheap and like cheap pdfs - this is a fallacy.

The cost of printing a book is a tiny fraction of the total cost to produce the book.


If they set the price of the pdf equal to the the profit of the book and sold mostly pdfs - they would find that there are not only no profits - but that they are also not covering the costs of making the book.

Most of those costs go into the production of the matierials - art, writing, layout, etc.  Not the physical printing.


PDFs should be cheaper - but not as cheap as many believe.

On the other hand - they should not (as they did when they sold them before) cost more than the print copy.   The last time they entered the pdf market, they insisted on selling pdfs at the same price as the official 'cover price' of the book - despite the fact that most people bought their hard copy from places like Amazon that routinely discounted their price.  This meant that you actually had to pay more for the pdf than you did for the hardcopy.


Carl             
I posted a suggestion for print on demand, so they do not need to commit to production runs on lower demand books if they switch to .pdf and DDI, and they can keep up with errata easier.  Yes it means no more hardbounds and using the essentials paperbacks, but it also means customized campaign rule books using DDI to select your rule modules.  Not doing grid combat ... leave those pages out of your books.   For the higher demand books like the core trio charge more by making them hardbound collectors editions (like the AD&D reprints), and waste lots of page on the art giving a reason to pay for them compared to the digital and paperbacks.

4e is badly messed up in DDI.   Character Builder, Monster Builder and Compendium not in sync with each other and missing info from print.  Just bought Mordenkainen's Magnificient Emporium because every one loves a wish book to flip thru, yet most of it is not in the DDI equipment store.  I figured out a workaround, export the character with a similar thing, then edit the link/item ids in the XML file to what the link id is in the Compendium search, then Character Builder adds it to the character sheet on import.  So Character Builder can see what is in Compendium but someone has to add a reference to it in the store!  Badly designed that is not just doing searches on the Compendium using item type tags.

They indeed need to learn from their former publisher and current competitor.  They plan on a virtual table that is linked to their digital products catalog with higher zoom resolutions that could be printed.   Imagine where we would be if Paizo was still their publisher?   Having an OGL for 5e would require WOTC to up their game and make sure their content is better than the indies, and they could afford to do it if they are out of the publishing biz and just in the content biz.


I hate to say it this way, but....

There's going to be PDF versions regardless.  If I can buy them from Wizards, all the better.  If not, I'll buy the books, leave them at home, and bring the inevitable PDF version to games, anyway.

Assuming of course, I jump on this 5e bandwagon once it's an actual thing, anyway.
There's going to be PDF versions regardless.  If I can buy them from Wizards, all the better.  If not, I'll buy the books, leave them at home, and bring the inevitable PDF version to games, anyway


And if you search enough you can find some with redlined errata which is much better than the compiled errata WOTC does, and makes it a more valuable product that people would pay IF it was official.  If they sold PDFs you would know you are always getting the latest errata and could even do it showing the redlines so you can see what changed, very useful!  And if they sold print on demand you know your cheap to buy flip book is also current and is not hard on the wallet to buy the updated versions.   I refuse to buy the core three of 4e simply because it is not current due to long errata, a complete revamp of monsters in MM1 and MM2 never updated to standard, and the PHB1 was redone as the Class Compedium articles with even more errata.    I decide to buy a book based on how long the current errata is, I am a customer who would buy books, buy .pdfs, and subscribe to DDI, they are missing out on capturing many other trifecta customers like me.



Please Wizards: I really want to like and play D&D Next. I implore you not to screw up the digital content like you did with D&D Insider. That was quite pathetic. Keep up the good work, and sell PDFs!



I'm not 100% certain that PDFs are the right way to go. From WOtC's point of view, that is.
I'm pretty certain that the staff who make D&D know or at least strongly suspect the truth. Their products for 4e have been (and probably still are) heavily torrented with the aid of search engines like Isohunt, etc.
As a DM I bought all the core books that I felt I needed (DMG, Players Handbook, MM) but after my first campaign something happened. When I started up the second one I wasn't too keen on investing in PHB II and Martial Power and so on. For several reasons I felt they were redundant in regard to creating a more enjoyable game. But my players wanted to try out the new classes and powers, so I said to them: fine, buy them yourself if you want to try the new stuff.
The players quickly figured out that they could DL the books, and even the pirated books were unimportant at the table since all the powers were included in the Character Builder (which could also be downloaded and updated via piracy).
This crime as it were is a huge problem for a product like D&D. You could get the 4e books gratis, virtually risk free, in a more convenient format - and much, much faster than going to the game store. Before torrenting I speculate that 4e would have sold at least twice as much.

If you release your game in PDF format the pirates don't even have to scan the books. The shoddy scans of the 4e books that were unavailable in PDF could actually serve as an incitament to buy the real books, but if you can download a pretty looking PDF complete with bookmarks, etc... Well, figure it out ;)
Perhaps you could have some kind of online Wiki with a dedicated browser that you have to be online (for a fee, like a MORP) to browse... But the books will be scanned and pirated.
Releasing PDFs is like leaving your front door ajar with a sign outside reading "Please rob me! Property wants to be free!"

Theese are of course things that anyone with half a brain who hasn't been living in a cave for the last 10 years will have figured out. I just thought I'd say it out loud...
  
  

I understand not selling PDFs because of piracy, but honestly, it doesn't work. With a simple Google search, I can find PDFs of every Fourth Edition book in existence. The same applies to every other popular RPG, whether they sell PDFs or not. Not making PDFs doesn't curb piracy, it just prevents people who would normally pay for PDFs from doing so. 
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Not selling the books out of fear of piracy only means that the books get pirated anyway (as we all know) - and the people who would prefer to pay you for those books on pdf no longer have that option.

Also, anecdotally - Will Wheaton once discussed on his blog that, in response to requests, he put one of his books  (whose print sales had leveled off and started to drop) up for sale as a non-DRM pdf for $5.00.  And what he observed was not that the pdf hurt the print sales - but rather, shortly after doing this the print sales for the book started to go back up.  The release of the cheap pdf resulted in increased sales of the print copy.

Granted that was just one case and for a non-game book.  But the point is that the books are going to be pirated whether they they sell the pdf or not.  So why not provide a way for those who want pdfs to get them without being forced to pirate them.

(Perhaps they shoud go with an ebook format rather than pdf?)

Of course- the real obstacle to selling both hardcopy ("deadtree") and digital ("deadpixie") copies is DDI.  I haven't bought a 4E book in a couple of years because the information is all right there.  Even in cases where I have pdfs, I rarely use the pdfs - I tend to use DDI (unless I am without the internet)   I wonder how much they would have to charge for DDI if it came with a subscription for all rule books (but not, for example, setting books).  



Carl
In many parts of the world, piracy is the only way to get those things, because they are so hard to almost impossible to get there.

I will give Steam's example, saying that steam shouldn't be avaible on Russia because of the huge proliferation of piracy on Russia...Russia is the 2nd biggest market for Steam now...

There are 3 factors that lead to Piracy i have seen:

-Culture:  The classic people that think "why should i pay for something i can get for free", if they don't get it for free, they won't buy it anyway 95% of the time
-Price: If the price of the product is so high to it's demography, it's while often force the people to go for other ways to get it, often leading to piracy (or pre-owned products too, or waiting for sales).  This is also a factor for prices on diferent countries, if you put the same price from USA and try to sell it like that on third world country....wish happend more often than you think, it will most likely lead to piracy.  Example: Origin have an edge on Mexico over Steam, Steam's prices are valued on dollar, so if you buy a game on steam, the bank will be the one converting the pesos to dollar (wish is often higher than average conversion and the price will go up and down depending on the value of the peso/dollar at the moment), and the games are sold as USA's price.  Origin sell the game on pesos (so no currency conversion fee), and the prices are adjusted to the mexican market (they range from being 2/3 of USA's price in comparison to less than 1/2 of it's USA's price)
-Avaibility: When something is not avaible legally on a region, there are only 2 ways to get it....imports, wish can be very hard to do....and very expensive, prices will skyrocket in some parts and it's very unreliable... And piracy....so, when you are forced to search all over the internet for a online store that import books, and that import rpg books, pay 90 bucks for that 20 bucks book...wait 2 weeks for it to be delievered....if you are lucky... and paying 15 bucks for the delivery...Yes, i don't aprove Piracy, but i can't blame alot of people around the world for pirating D&D books.  I have it easy compared to most people of my country...and i can get D&D books....by crossing the border and driving 3 hours to a city that have a store that handle D&D books...and drive 3 hours back to my home...
(Perhaps they shoud go with an ebook format rather than pdf?)
Of course- the real obstacle to selling both hardcopy ("deadtree") and digital ("deadpixie") copies is DDI.
Carl


As long as the fluff is only in the books, even DDI subscribers may have a reason to buy them, just as they buy Forgotten Realms novels.   A database does not excite the imagination like a book does. The one sure thing is if you do not offer the multiple formats, then your market is only those who will buy the one format you sell rather than pirate it.   If you sell the DDI, the .pdf, the .ebook, the paperback, and the hardbound collectable keeping them in sync and up to date - there is a market for each of those formats and you may sell multiple formats to one person, so you are less worried about the pirate. Do you think apple worries about game and music pirates, when they basically reinvented the way media is distributed in a way that people will pay for?
I have been slowly converting all of my D&D material to pdf. With literally hundreds of books spanning 30+ years, it's been a LONG process...but well worth it. I love the ease of use of pdfs. I love being able to bring my tablet or laptop with me to games instead of lugging around a backpack full of books. Sure, I love dead-tree books (especially the older D&D material from the 80s), but it's hardly convenient unless you plan on playing every game in your own house so you're close to all of them. If WotC releases their material in pdf, I will happily pay for it as opposed to the tedious page-by-page scanning of eleventy-hundred books...as long as the cost is acceptable for a digital product. If the digital products are even as high as 50% of dead-tree cost, then it ceases to be worth it (for me, that is).
I have been slowly converting all of my D&D material to pdf. With literally hundreds of books spanning 30+ years, it's been a LONG process...but well worth it. I love the ease of use of pdfs. I love being able to bring my tablet or laptop with me to games instead of lugging around a backpack full of books. Sure, I love dead-tree books (especially the older D&D material from the 80s), but it's hardly convenient unless you plan on playing every game in your own house so you're close to all of them. If WotC releases their material in pdf, I will happily pay for it as opposed to the tedious page-by-page scanning of eleventy-hundred books...as long as the cost is acceptable for a digital product. If the digital products are even as high as 50% of dead-tree cost, then it ceases to be worth it (for me, that is).

Are you using a hand-held scanner?
Are you using a hand-scanner?



For hardcover books (and other books that can't be taken apart without basically destroying them), yes. For the older books and modules of OD&D - BECMI - 1E that are stapled, I can use a bed-scanner and then re-staple them. I mean, I could take the glued hardcover ones apart, bed-scan them, then have them professionally restored, but dang...it's been expensive enough just acquiring most of those books. That, and I would have no idea how to restore them myself. With my luck, they would be permanently screwed up.
As much as I am cheap and like cheap pdfs - this is a fallacy.

The cost of printing a book is a tiny fraction of the total cost to produce the book.


If they set the price of the pdf equal to the the profit of the book and sold mostly pdfs - they would find that there are not only no profits - but that they are also not covering the costs of making the book.

Most of those costs go into the production of the matierials - art, writing, layout, etc.  Not the physical printing.


PDFs should be cheaper - but not as cheap as many believe.

On the other hand - they should not (as they did when they sold them before) cost more than the print copy.   The last time they entered the pdf market, they insisted on selling pdfs at the same price as the official 'cover price' of the book - despite the fact that most people bought their hard copy from places like Amazon that routinely discounted their price.  This meant that you actually had to pay more for the pdf than you did for the hardcopy.


There's also the matter that bookstores don't like being undercut by digital sales.  This is the reason why DC keeps their digital comics at full price for a month before dropping them a dollar: stores don't want to sell something at $2.99 when someone can just go online and get that item immediately for $1.99.  Sure, the physical book may have some collectible value later on, but very few people are going to worry about that.  Most just want the story now, and they don't care to keep boxes full of comics around the house.

I imagine it's the same with D&D.  I think the best way to do it is to offer digital version free with purchase of the books, like Marvel does with some of their comic books.  That way, stores get their purchases, Wizards can sell PDFs directly if they want at a bit lower than cover price, and the people who buy the books also get a cheap PDF at no extra cost.  It's an incentive to buy the physical book, while also letting those who don't want the "dead tree" version for whatever reason get a break on their digital purchase.

I have been slowly converting all of my D&D material to pdf. With literally hundreds of books spanning 30+ years, it's been a LONG process...but well worth it. I love the ease of use of pdfs. I love being able to bring my tablet or laptop with me to games instead of lugging around a backpack full of books. Sure, I love dead-tree books (especially the older D&D material from the 80s), but it's hardly convenient unless you plan on playing every game in your own house so you're close to all of them. If WotC releases their material in pdf, I will happily pay for it as opposed to the tedious page-by-page scanning of eleventy-hundred books...as long as the cost is acceptable for a digital product. If the digital products are even as high as 50% of dead-tree cost, then it ceases to be worth it (for me, that is).



Lucky for you - it sounds like they intend to bring back a lot of there old items as pdfs. 

I'm wondering if they will have the rights to republish the Dungeon Magazines.  I was one of those who bought the Dragon Magazine CDs when they were briefly available (before they pulled them off the market because they discovered they didn't have electronic publshing rights for the art and comics).   

Carl

I really don’t want PDFs under any circumstances I would like to see all the rule books availed on kindle and in hard cover. Could we just once get some character creation, monster tracking, software with compleat data sets and no subscription. I will pay for the data sets I want. I will pay for a monthly subscrption for new modules like a magazine subscription for an entire campaign written by a good author.


I really don’t want PDFs under any circumstances I would like to see all the rule books availed on kindle and in hard cover. Could we just once get some character creation, monster tracking, software with compleat data sets and no subscription. I will pay for the data sets I want. I will pay for a monthly subscrption for new modules like a magazine subscription for an entire campaign written by a good author.



Um ... what?

I think you said you wanted Kindle D&D books, some non-subscription software, and a magazine? Please clarify. 
My Twitter
Not selling the books out of fear of piracy only means that the books get pirated anyway (as we all know) - and the people who would prefer to pay you for those books on pdf no longer have that option.

Also, anecdotally - Will Wheaton once discussed on his blog that, in response to requests, he put one of his books  (whose print sales had leveled off and started to drop) up for sale as a non-DRM pdf for $5.00.  And what he observed was not that the pdf hurt the print sales - but rather, shortly after doing this the print sales for the book started to go back up.  The release of the cheap pdf resulted in increased sales of the print copy.

Granted that was just one case and for a non-game book.  But the point is that the books are going to be pirated whether they they sell the pdf or not.  So why not provide a way for those who want pdfs to get them without being forced to pirate them.

(Perhaps they shoud go with an ebook format rather than pdf?)

Of course- the real obstacle to selling both hardcopy ("deadtree") and digital ("deadpixie") copies is DDI.  I haven't bought a 4E book in a couple of years because the information is all right there.  Even in cases where I have pdfs, I rarely use the pdfs - I tend to use DDI (unless I am without the internet)   I wonder how much they would have to charge for DDI if it came with a subscription for all rule books (but not, for example, setting books).  



Carl



We relied heavily on DDI as well in our last campaign (although I've never been a member). They probably made some money from DDI, but it must have hurt book sales. At most you would perhaps require one copy of a book for an entire coven of 10-15 gamers, if that much even. All you need is a general idea of the theme of a class, for example.

The evidence of a connection between Will Wheaton's book sales and his PDF realease is just that - anecdotal. Unless he performed some kind of market research, that is?

Speaking about anecdotal stuff - I listened to several podcasts from members of the staff from White Wolf, in which they heavily blamed pirated PDFs for a drop in sales of their new World of Darkness products. I believe that there were several other factors that contributed to this. But I don't believe that releasing the PDF files helped any.
Sadly I am unable to find the podcasts in question at this time.
I disagree that pirated e-books are only downloaded by people who "wouldn't buy the books anyway". What I've seen is more like this: back when we used to play Vampire we had a lot of semi-casual players who ended up buying the core rulebook, or their respective clanbooks, and other products. Mainly just because they thought they were fun to read, I think. But when we played D&D 4e that same "type" of player pirated the books instead.
I bought the 4e books mainly for idealistic reasons. I wanted to support my local game store, the hobby of pen-and-paper RPGs, and I also didn't want to feel cheap.
This may sound cynical. But back before the net and piracy I think a lot of sub par RPG products sold copies just because there was no way of taking a careful look at them before a purchase. I have several old TSR products that I regard as being more or less unplayable or useless. They were in shrinkwrap and you couldn't even read the blurb without being accosted by a sales clerk who would of course try to make everything sound like the best thing since sliced bread. In contrast  I would never buy a Pathfinder sourcebook today, because I've seen PDFs of them and I know that 75% of them are (IMO) just redundant fluff/filler and "moody" flavor text that is very impressive... To a twelve year old.     But selling games is a business (obviously) and not all your products are going to be great...
If you release your sourcebooks in PDF format and expect people to pay for them, the next day there will probably be hundreds of people seeding them on the trackers and thousands more downloading them. If you have to scan a book it is my strong belief that the spread of the inevitable pirate scan will be delayed considerably, and that it will spread more slowly.
 If you can have a crisp minty PDF with bookmarks for free I believe the chance is lesser that you will actually buy a PDF, much less a paper book.  At least if you have some crappy scanned version of a product and it is good, perhaps you will buy the book. That is my thesis, at least. I don't know if piracy is as widespread in the US as it is in Sweden, but here it is that thing that "everyone" does even if they don't advertise it, and its also heavily ingrained in geek circles - i.e. the customer base of D&D. 
The reason I'm so verbose about this is that I really like Next, and I've also worked in the field of creative writing. I know how hard it is to make a living from it, and I think releasing Next as PDF would be a mistake. Which they are going to make, it seems.

I really don’t want PDFs under any circumstances I would like to see all the rule books availed on kindle and in hard cover. Could we just once get some character creation, monster tracking, software with compleat data sets and no subscription. I will pay for the data sets I want. I will pay for a monthly subscrption for new modules like a magazine subscription for an entire campaign written by a good author.



Um ... what?

I think you said you wanted Kindle D&D books, some non-subscription software, and a magazine? Please clarify. 



I gather that:

1) He does not want pdfs.
2) He wants Kindle availability instead (for whatever reason)
3) He wants all of the DDI material without a subscription to DDI
4) He wants a magazine written by a good author that details an entire campaign    

If this is the case:

1) Pdf is a wonderful market, easily available, easily readable, and so on. To offer digital products but NOT offer them as pdfs would be a bit silly.
2) There is plenty of free software out there that converts pdfs to the KF8 Kindle format. To limit their digital offerings only in the KF8 format would, much like number 1, be a bit silly.
3) I wouldn't mind something similar to the 2E Core Rules software (and the update) that has all of the "Complete" books on it, the "Player's Options" rules on it, a character creator, monster maker, campaign mapping software, and more for 5E. I seriously doubt this will happen, but one can hope, right? I still use that 2E software for my weekly games.  
4) If they're going to do magazines, I much prefer Dragon to continue to cater to player's options and Dungeon to cater to DM's with new adventures, advice, rules clarifications, and so on.      
I think it was the DMG II that 4E put out right after WotC decided to stop selling pdfs. Within the week of its release, the torrent sites were FULL of DMG II scans. Suggesting that not offering pdfs will somehow prevent, slow down, or otherwise hinder pirates is simply untrue. If it does slow them down, its only marginally (the day after release as opposed to the release day). Every single D&D product made since OD&D can be found on torrent sites (along with every other game, even those who offer pdfs). I think WotC has finally realized this, are coming to their senses, and offering them again for those of us willing to pay them for them. Pirates are going to pirate, pdf or not. The music industry and movie industry found this out many years ago...it's about time WotC realized it.

I disagree that pirated e-books are only downloaded by people who "wouldn't buy the books anyway". What I've seen is more like this: back when we used to play Vampire we had a lot of semi-casual players who ended up buying the core rulebook, or their respective clanbooks, and other products. Mainly just because they thought they were fun to read, I think. But when we played D&D 4e that same "type" of player pirated the books instead.


That isn't the claim.  The claim is that there are people who would gladly pay for pdfs - but if aren't going to sell them, they still want them badly enough that they will pirate them.  I can guarantee you that these people exist.

If you don't offer pdfs - you not only fail to stop piracy (at best you slow it down by a couple of weeks - perhaps only days) - you lose out on potential income from people who would prefer to pay for the pdfs.

This is unlike a computer game - because the person who pirates a game is getting something they can buy.  So there really is no justification for it.


If you release your sourcebooks in PDF format and expect people to pay for them, the next day there will probably be hundreds of people seeding them on the trackers and thousands more downloading them. If you have to scan a book it is my strong belief that the spread of the inevitable pirate scan will be delayed considerably, and that it will spread more slowly.


We know exactly how long it will delay them.  Because we know how long it took for 4E books to be available as scans.  Somewhere between one week and three weeks.  That is it.

 If you can have a crisp minty PDF with bookmarks for free I believe the chance is lesser that you will actually buy a PDF, much less a paper book.  At least if you have some crappy scanned version of a product and it is good, perhaps you will buy the book.

Bookmarks are nice.   OCR is even nicer.  For some reason most of the pirated pdfs of 4E seem to be OCRs but few have bookmakrs.  Regardless, if I needed it, I could always do it myself, so I'm not sure that they figure into that calculation for everyone.  I think a larger issue is whether a) the pdf can be bought legally, b) the individual feels that pirating IP is an acceptable practice or not and c) whether the price on the pdf is seen as a reasonable value for the money (at $10.00 I'd probably buy every one they published, at $20.00 I'd probably buy the core books at least, and at $50.00 for a pdf I'd probably play something else.)

Carl
An interesting consideration is that playtesters will largely have the DDN product for free prior to the master copy that gets distributed for purchase.

In PDF form, no less!

Danny


Yeah that would be the best way to do it. They could set the price of the PDF to be equal to the profit they make off of the books, and it won't matter if one outsells the other they will still get the same amount of money either way...



As much as I am cheap and like cheap pdfs - this is a fallacy.

The cost of printing a book is a tiny fraction of the total cost to produce the book.


If they set the price of the pdf equal to the the profit of the book and sold mostly pdfs - they would find that there are not only no profits - but that they are also not covering the costs of making the book.

Most of those costs go into the production of the matierials - art, writing, layout, etc.  Not the physical printing.


PDFs should be cheaper - but not as cheap as many believe.

On the other hand - they should not (as they did when they sold them before) cost more than the print copy.   The last time they entered the pdf market, they insisted on selling pdfs at the same price as the official 'cover price' of the book - despite the fact that most people bought their hard copy from places like Amazon that routinely discounted their price.  This meant that you actually had to pay more for the pdf than you did for the hardcopy.


Carl             



That would only hold true if they over printed the book. They could underprint the book and fill orders between print runs with print on demand. This would all be calculated into the cost of the book, so it would work either way...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Not selling the books out of fear of piracy only means that the books get pirated anyway (as we all know) - and the people who would prefer to pay you for those books on pdf no longer have that option.

Also, anecdotally - Will Wheaton once discussed on his blog that, in response to requests, he put one of his books  (whose print sales had leveled off and started to drop) up for sale as a non-DRM pdf for $5.00.  And what he observed was not that the pdf hurt the print sales - but rather, shortly after doing this the print sales for the book started to go back up.  The release of the cheap pdf resulted in increased sales of the print copy.

Granted that was just one case and for a non-game book.  But the point is that the books are going to be pirated whether they they sell the pdf or not.  So why not provide a way for those who want pdfs to get them without being forced to pirate them.

(Perhaps they shoud go with an ebook format rather than pdf?)

Of course- the real obstacle to selling both hardcopy ("deadtree") and digital ("deadpixie") copies is DDI.  I haven't bought a 4E book in a couple of years because the information is all right there.  Even in cases where I have pdfs, I rarely use the pdfs - I tend to use DDI (unless I am without the internet)   I wonder how much they would have to charge for DDI if it came with a subscription for all rule books (but not, for example, setting books).  



Carl



We relied heavily on DDI as well in our last campaign (although I've never been a member). They probably made some money from DDI, but it must have hurt book sales. At most you would perhaps require one copy of a book for an entire coven of 10-15 gamers, if that much even. All you need is a general idea of the theme of a class, for example.

The evidence of a connection between Will Wheaton's book sales and his PDF realease is just that - anecdotal. Unless he performed some kind of market research, that is?

Speaking about anecdotal stuff - I listened to several podcasts from members of the staff from White Wolf, in which they heavily blamed pirated PDFs for a drop in sales of their new World of Darkness products. I believe that there were several other factors that contributed to this. But I don't believe that releasing the PDF files helped any.
Sadly I am unable to find the podcasts in question at this time.
I disagree that pirated e-books are only downloaded by people who "wouldn't buy the books anyway". What I've seen is more like this: back when we used to play Vampire we had a lot of semi-casual players who ended up buying the core rulebook, or their respective clanbooks, and other products. Mainly just because they thought they were fun to read, I think. But when we played D&D 4e that same "type" of player pirated the books instead.
I bought the 4e books mainly for idealistic reasons. I wanted to support my local game store, the hobby of pen-and-paper RPGs, and I also didn't want to feel cheap.
This may sound cynical. But back before the net and piracy I think a lot of sub par RPG products sold copies just because there was no way of taking a careful look at them before a purchase. I have several old TSR products that I regard as being more or less unplayable or useless. They were in shrinkwrap and you couldn't even read the blurb without being accosted by a sales clerk who would of course try to make everything sound like the best thing since sliced bread. In contrast  I would never buy a Pathfinder sourcebook today, because I've seen PDFs of them and I know that 75% of them are (IMO) just redundant fluff/filler and "moody" flavor text that is very impressive... To a twelve year old.     But selling games is a business (obviously) and not all your products are going to be great...
If you release your sourcebooks in PDF format and expect people to pay for them, the next day there will probably be hundreds of people seeding them on the trackers and thousands more downloading them. If you have to scan a book it is my strong belief that the spread of the inevitable pirate scan will be delayed considerably, and that it will spread more slowly.
 If you can have a crisp minty PDF with bookmarks for free I believe the chance is lesser that you will actually buy a PDF, much less a paper book.  At least if you have some crappy scanned version of a product and it is good, perhaps you will buy the book. That is my thesis, at least. I don't know if piracy is as widespread in the US as it is in Sweden, but here it is that thing that "everyone" does even if they don't advertise it, and its also heavily ingrained in geek circles - i.e. the customer base of D&D. 
The reason I'm so verbose about this is that I really like Next, and I've also worked in the field of creative writing. I know how hard it is to make a living from it, and I think releasing Next as PDF would be a mistake. Which they are going to make, it seems.



Every single 4E book has been put up the day after on torrent sites, sorry that's just not how it works. A dedicated person will scan the entire thing the day after it sells in order to be the one that started it. Its an ego thing...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Since this thread has partially turned into a discussion of epublishing formats and software...

Epublishing formats
... there are basically three. Others exist but are bit players.

PDF - great if your ebook reader screen is big enough that an entire page, as formatted by the publisher, fits on the screen in a large enough font to be readable. The further from true this is, the clumsier the format gets. On the other hand, this is the only one of the three that preserves page numbers across all screen sizes and font adjustments. So if you tell me something is on page 83 of a certain book I can turn to page 83 and find it. Readable with a gazillion different pieces of software including Kindle and Nook.

Kindle (mobi) - loses consistency of page numbers. Also most ebook programs can't read it - obviously the Kindle program can, but not many others. However, the document that comes from the publisher is NOT formatted to any specific page size; it gets reformatted to fit your screen size and font size (and if you change font sizes, the document gets reformatted on the fly).

epub - also loses consistency of page numbers. Readable with a gazillion different pieces of software including Nook but *not* Kindle (see qualifier below). As flexible as the Kindle format here.

Ebook reading software - I've looked at over two dozen programs on my hacked Nook Color (hacked to be a full Android tablet) and quite a few under Windows.

QUALIFIER: I have NOT laid hands on an actual Kindle device and checked out its native software. My comments on Kindle software might not be accurate for an actual Kindle device; they are based on the downloadable Kindle software for Android.

As far as actually reading a book, they are all pretty much the same. Very minor variations. The only significant differences I found are in how much assistance they provide in organizing a library. So that's what I'm going to talk about.

Nook and Kindle software are both among the worst available. They are free for download to practically anything, you immediately get the full version, and as far as organizing your library is concerned they aren't worth the $0 you pay for them. However, they each automatically link to their respective stores (Barnes&Noble and Amazon, respectively) which is useful.

I have more experience with the Nook software. The worst thing about it is that it's hard to get it to even show you books you don't buy from Barnes & Noble. The native software is a bit better at this than the Android software but not a lot, and what little library-organizing help it does offer does not apply.

The first big loser with Kindle (even ahead of not organizing your library) is that it cannot read .epub files. Or at least it couldn't when I looked at it. That's nearly as bad as a word processor that can't read plain text files.

There are two ebook readers I recommend for Android devices: Mantano Reader and Moon+ Reader. Both are available for free, but also sell premium versions. The free versions are what I evaluated.

Both will do epub and pdf files. Also both are very good at finding and recognizing ebooks on your device no matter who you get them from.

I think Mantano reader is better, unless you really want to be able to read Kindle .mobi files - it can't. Also, it offers more categorization options: favorite or not, assign to one or more collections either way, and custom tags. Books are grouped by collection with a few extra options, and tags are shown as part of the book information which is all searchable. In addition it supports Adobe digital rights management. But: on a phone screen, it's somewhat cramped for space. 

Moon+ is possibly better for small screens. And it can read .mobi files along with several minor formats (and will look in .zip and .rar files for ebooks). But a book cannot be in a collection unless it's flagged as one of your favorites (and then only one collection), and while you can add tags to a book you can't create custom tags - you can only use tags that include at least one book you already have. (Most books come with at least one tag assigned by the publisher.) Books are grouped by tags, and favorite books are grouped by collection. Searching does not include all book information.

Moon+ free version can be connected to a wide variety of sites that offer free ebooks (some of them also sell ebooks) including Project Gutenberg - very strongly recommended - and Smashwords. The publisher suggests using Dropbox to synchronize between multiple devices.

Mantano comes pre-linked to  feedbooks.com, a bookstore, and can be connected to the catalogs of other ebook distributors in the same fashion. The publisher offers its own paid subscription service for synchronizing between devices, but you can use Dropbox or any other outside-the-program arrangement you can manage.
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I have seen scans of D&D books before they are even officially released...

I already mentioned the real reason for piracy 
I have seen scans of D&D books before they are even officially released...

When it has registration marks, or it's an .indd file, it's more than likely the 'leak' kind of pirated.

Nope, they are scanned from a retail version...they are either leak by a store employe, pirate scan it from a promo copy at gen con, or they got it from FLAG store who sold them 1 week or 2 before it's officially released...

I often compare the interest of people around piracy circles on the book depending on how fast it get scanned 
Nope, they are scanned from a retail version...they are either leak by a store employe, pirate scan it from a promo copy at gen con, or they got it from FLAG store who sold them 1 week or 2 before it's officially released...

I often compare the interest of people around piracy circles on the book depending on how fast it get scanned 



Hmm....


I wonder if that is a valid store purchase planning technique.  They don't have room to stock every book - so they have to decide which books to order to stock their shelves.  So they can decide based on the number of pirate copy downloads within the first week after release (or some such).  If a book is frequently downloaded, its in greater demand and thus a better investment for the store shelf....

  

Carl   
I seriously doubt a store owner is scanning new inventory to dump on piratebay.
I seriously doubt a store owner is scanning new inventory to dump on piratebay.



Of course not.  But a store employee - I'd believe it.


I do know that at the store I frequent they got rid of their wifi because some idiot was trying to use it to download pirated content and they got caught, resulting in the store getting a very stern letter from their ISP - and the rest of us losing the ability to connect to Character Builder, et al at the store.


I'm not sure who it was (I wasn't there that night) - but I have my suspicions.     


Carl