Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

PDF Methods

Started by Mike Holmes, January 20, 2005, 12:26:46 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Mike Holmes

In the original announcement, people are discussing the idea of adding a PDF to sales of the game. I thought I'd continue that here.

Some people mentioned that they liked the idea of getting the PDF so they could start reading instantly. While I agree that this is a good feature, I'm not sure it's alone enough to justify adding the PDF. But I'd add that the PDF is also useful for a lot of other reasons. I, for one, use PDFs to create my own handouts from the book (in addition to the Character Sheet and Charts sort of PDFs that you'll no doubt want to make available for support). One can store a PDF in such a way as to have it available to themselves from any computer, should a game spontaneously break out.

And lots of other reasons. So I completely agree that it's a value add. In fact, I often buy just the PDF of a game, since I actually find books to be a tad clumsy. But people still want em.

The question is not whether or not it's a value add, but whether or not you should give it away as a freebie with the book. I have a sense that doing so diminishes the value of the PDF. That said, given that the only cost of production into the PDF is already sunk (the work to create it), perhaps it makes sense to give it away as a freebie with the book.

How about this model?
Book $15
PDF $10
Both $20

This is less cost that purchasing them separately, but it recognizes the value of both media.

Or am I off my rocker? What do people think?

Oh, BTW, how long will the book be, and in what format (perfectbound, spiral, etc)? Forgive me if this was already covered.

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.

Ben Lehman

I know that the Driftwood Guys (contact: Claymore on the Forge or at recently sold a pre-order for their book which gave you the PDF for a dollar extra.  You might find out how many people took them up on it, versus how many people decided not to.  Clearly, the added PDF adds value.  What we don't know is how much value it adds.

My bet is nearly anyone would get a PDF for $1 extra.  I know I would.  I also know that $5 seems like way too much to me -- I would probably just order the hardcopy.  Doesn't mean you shouldn't use Mike's pricing scheme -- just means that not all orders will be combined.  Maybe $2 extra, so:

$10 PDF only
$15 Book only
$17 PDF + Book

That seems like the point where I, as a customer, would go "uhm, that's a little too much, but okay I'll take it."  I think this is because, rounding the nearest $5, they are the same price ;-)

But that's just this one customer.



The book is 6x9, 160 pages, perfect-bound.  Pretty too, unless I totally bolloxed that last color correction :-)

The behaviors created by "free PDF with the book" are complicated, and I'm still trying to simulate and analyze them in my head.

It will drive more people to buy the book than to buy the PDF.  My overhead is such that that's a net loss of money for me if the number of purchases stays constant, but whatever.  I could drop the PDF price point to $8 and then I'd be just about making equal profit on both.

The question becomes whether more people will buy (and, more importantly play) the game period if the book is a more attractive offer.

If I go with Indie Press Revolution, for instance, there will be people buying something they went there to get, and then looking around for something else to buy in order to get over the $25 minimum for free shipping.  Being able to say "Buying this book gets you a free PDF to look at almost immediately", that would be a powerful enticement in such a situation if I could manage it.  That could get me customers that would never have even looked twice at Capes otherwise.

The other thing is... well, from my personal experience, I find that I play games more when I have the physical book.  And apart from the issues of indirect sales, I also just really want to have people playing the game and enjoying it.  So that's a point in favor of pushing the book vs. the PDF.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


I think Ben's probably on to something here.  If you offer the PDF for just a bit more ($1 or $2) then you'll get a lot more people who would buy the book anyway tossing in the PDF because they're so dang useful.  In fact, if you can swing it, a flat cost of $20 for the book, the PDF, and shipping would be great.  The $5 should cover shipping, and the PDF can be counted as costing whatever the shipping didn't...

Anyway, I put my vote with Ben.  Charge a bit extra for both, but only a bit.

Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible