lunedì 8 luglio 2013

Print On Demand and OSR

One paper book is much better
than a thousand PDFs
One of the best thing to happen to the OSR (and to RPG in general) games is Print On Demand (POD), while many still try to print their book I think that to not have also the manual in a POD format is a a bad idea, bad for the game company that produce the game and bad for gamers all around the world.

This article is about my experience as a collector and my  insight on POD.

The option to print manuals and have it delivered to your home is usually a much cheaper option (at least in Europe, USA and South America as far as I know) than to have them shipped by the game company directly to you (this is a, big, problem if you live in Europe and the company is located in the USA as it happens). And things get cheaper the more books you order.

Another nice thing is that usually you can have your books printed in hard-cover, soft-cover or some other options. The quality is quite good, the binding is usually glued (but there are other options), the print quality for black and white art and text is also good.

In my opinion the best idea for authors/game companies is to have their products on as many platform of POD as viable, but at the very least on the big three of the gaming world: RPGnow/DriveThruRPG, LULU and Amazon.

I have bought printed books on all three and I am quite happy with all of them!

RPGNow Binding
RPGNow book
RPGNow/DriveThruRPG: this two have lots of game mostly in pdf, but also a good choice of printed manuals, the best thing is that when you buy something with the pdf option it goes in your library and you can always download it, also if update come they are automatically there. I like it because I can usually buy the pdf+printed copy and have additional copies if the needs come. The shipping costs are cheap enough almost everywhere. Furthermore it have the hardcover and softcover options. My printed copy from them is the Adventure Dark and Deep Player's Manual (soon to be followed by the DM guide and a few other things) and I am really happy of printing, cover and binding.

LULU books
LULU binding
LULU: maybe the most famous of the POD service providers, has a lot of printing options (hardcover, softcover, coil bounded, color and b/w), shipping cost are a bit on the high side but they make lots of 20% (and other) promotions during the year. From LULU I got printed copies of Crypts & Things, Labyrinth Lord, Dragons at Dawn and I am quite happy with bindings, print quality and cover quality (but I have yet to buy hardcovers from them).

Amazon books
Amazon binding
Amazon: Their POD service has only the softcover option but nobody can beat the shipping cost of amazon (usually free if your order is over 20 $ or € or if you have the prime option), the added bonus for a lot of book buyers is that if you are ordering a few book or some other thing (in this days amazon sell almost everything) you can round the order with a few RPG books. Here I bought a lot of Basic Fantasy RPG (at less than 5 € it's a steal and a nice gift for fellow players). And the quality of printing, cover and binding are good.

My suggestion to publishers and authors (both to professionals and amateurs) is to put their book in all the principal POD platform, and eventually to have also small print of their own books (or box) for luxury quality (paper, print and covers) and binding. But, please, put your book also on POD at reasonable costs and try to find a way to give your supporter easy access to PDF if they want to buy also a printed copy (sometimes happen that you pay the book two times), maybe a voucher to have free pdf after first buy or something.

In this article we spoke of: Basic Fantasy RPG, Crypts & Things, Labyrinth Lord, Adventures Dark and Deep and Dragons at Dawn but there are a thousand more Print on Demand RPG systems around.

Overall good print quality

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