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Started by derthnada, February 22, 2008, 09:47:10 PM

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I see that this has been brought up a few times over the years, but I just wanted to share my opinion, in case it matters:

If this game was available as a PDF, I would be purchasing it right now.  As it is, I *may* still get the hardcopy, but...since I never order physical books from the 'net, that will be a much, much tougher sell.  Honestly, I doubt it.

Almost all of my indie RPG purchases are impulse buys.  Let's face it: there's ample competition, most of them can be open on my laptop within minutes of purchase, and I don't want to sit around and wait for a hardcopy of a book I can't peruse in my local store first.  I think what it boils down to is that you're missing out on the "curiosity buyer" by making it less than super-convenient for them, and the curiosity buyer may be missing out on a good game because they're simply not "sold on it" enough to bother with mail-order.

I'm sure I'm a minority in this, but I'm just sayin', for what it's worth...which is exactly $20.  :)  Best of luck.


Hey, I'm happy to have this brought up periodically. 

Actually with my initial print runs sold out and my current print run well past the break even point (fairly large print runs compared to most indie games)...which reminds me I need to get restock to IPR...I need to start thinking about what next.

At this point its entirely possible to see a PDF, possibly I'll decide to not do any more print runs and offer it only as a PDF going forward (or Lulu as well).

But I don't know that I want to just take my press ready PDF designed for hard copy and make it available.  I'd much rather do a real PDF with a screen friendly format and lots of cross referenceing links...and that takes a good bit of work to do I don't have time to do currently.

So I'll say that a PDF in the future is likely, but "future" here is probably more in the 8-18 month time frame, not the 2-3 month time frame.


Don't let redesign stand in the way -- I'm sure many people (like me) would be happy with a PDF formatted just like the book. If you later wanted to adapt it to a more screen-friendly format, you could perhaps offer that as an upgrade or a new edition.

(I have a copy of the first edition, and am tempted to buy the revised one, but the $20 cost is deterring me. A cheaper PDF would clinch the deal for me.)


I rather wish the PDF would be made available free to those who bought the book, like the ones for Spirit of the Century.

Probably too much to hope for, though.

David Artman

Quote from: Valamir on February 24, 2008, 06:54:08 PMI'd much rather do a real PDF with a screen friendly format and lots of cross referenceing links...and that takes a good bit of work to do I don't have time to do currently.
Hey, Ralph, how did you layout the original--what application? Because one thing that I'd hope you did was active cross-references, rather than manually typing in the page numbers or section headings for xrefs; and if so, PDFing it will make all those active, with the right Distiller Job Settings. Ditto for the Bookmarks tab (automatically generated) and even for what view in which it opens the PDF initially. Heck, you can make a whole "web site-like" experience as a PDF--if you had character sheets, they could even be active forms, ready to print once completed (yep, that takes some time, though).

As for screen-friendly, that's a Page Layout setting or two, and maybe tweaking some of your styles to use sans serif fonts. From what I recall of the text (read last year), you don't have a lot of format-heavy elements like tables or charts that would require reconstruction.

I'd do all that for you for free, just to get a front-matter credit, if time is the only thing you lack. I have little freelance work to do, until Raf finishes Spite's text and gets it to me to layout and edit.
Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages


How I did the layout in three easy steps:

Step One:  "Hey Matt Snyder how little money would you be willing to take to take my horribly painfully formatted Word Doc full of nasty MS tags and turn it into something nice?"

Step Two:  Write Check

Step Three: sent print ready PDF to printer.

Notice, none of those steps involves understanding anything about how the layout was done :-)

If you actually would want to take a stab at working something up, email me.  I'm in "dangerously low stock" mode at the moment and currently musing about what to do next.  A PDF release instead of or in addition to a print restock is on the "things to consider" list.

Valamir @ aol . com


Incidentally...I don't have my Universalis book with me at the moment, but I seem to recall there aren't any complicated tables in it, right?

It occurs to me that Universalis would be a great candidate for making into other e-book formats. For instance, I could take that Word document and make an eReader file out of it, suitable for reading on PDAs and iPhones. Would be happy to do it in return for the front-matter credit. (I do damn good eReader conversions, by the way. Did Cory Doctorow's Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom and Content, for instance.)


Seriously, Universalis would make a great e-book. You probably couldn't get it into Fictionwise, but a smaller store like might be willing to sell it for you. Drop the illustrations and it would make a great Mobipocket or eReader book, capable of being read on small hand-held devices.


Well, it's been almost a year exactly from my original post, and I just wanted you to know that I went ahead and ordered your stupid book.  You have won the war of attrition.  Congratulations.  Everything beyond this point is bitching, so if you want to skip it, feel free.

So the book was ordered Saturday, and hasn't shipped yet.  I was hoping to use it this week or next, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.  I had one of those "a-ha!" moments, pitched Universalis (as I understand it) to my group as a perfect system to do what they were discussing, we'll be going with something else because nobody's willing to wait.  I know, this isn't a big deal to anyone else but me, but it's a pointless pain in the ass.  I finally pony up for the book, and because of its antiquated delivery method, it's gonna end up shelved anyway.

When historians look back on our time, they'll say it was an age characterized by the heady high of high-speed information transfer.  What they won't talk about is me, sitting in a corner, waiting forever for a bundle of words to be carried to me by a freakin' truck.  Words, man.  Like these.  See how fast these reach you?

Ugh...I'm being a total dick.  Sorry.  I just love PDFs.  I will pay equal money for PDFs.  I will pay more, in fact, to have what I want on-demand.  That's all I'm getting at here.  (That, and that my impatience is probably my worst personality case you hadn't noticed.)