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  1. #1

    PDF Books Versus Paper Books

    DriveThruRPG has gotten very popular with the gaming public. It seems like PDFs of role-playing books are here to stay. I, however, hate them. The whole idea of them seems to threaten my wonderful collection of beautiful books. I was just wondering if anyone out there actually liked this trend or if we all hate it and hope it will go away.

    I don't want to sound like some old person who just can't change with the times, but I would just MUCH rather have a gorgeous printed book in my hand while I recline on the couch to read.
    "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will."
    - Jonathan Edwards

    Click here for the latest nWoD ruleset release.

  2. #2
    Valarian's Avatar
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    I love it, but then I've got a decent laser printer as well. Unfortunately, my collection of RPG books has outgrown the space I've got for them. PDFs allow me to keep fuelling the addiction while keeping my wife happy. I think it's also helping the hobby rather than hindering it. A lot of small publishers can start with PDFs until they get themselves noticed and picked up for print runs by the larger publishers.
    Current Regular Games: European FG2 RPG

    Using Ultimate FGII - that means anyone can play.
    Valarian's Fantasy Grounds Rulesets - Now also linked in the Wiki

  3. #3

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    I have mixed feelings. For rulebooks I prefer a real book but for adventures, settings and accessories its a lot easier to get things into VTTs like FG. Even rulebooks in PDF can be a blessing if you are traveling and taking your laptop with you though - not having to lug around a bunch of books can make the differance between playing on the road or not.

  4. #4
    I love actual books but prefer my gaming material be in pdf format use online anyhow.

    From a business stand point White Haired Man would not exist if not for electronic distribution. Our first year in business we operated at a loss even on a shoe string budget. Categories are provided below highlighting areas to consider even with a home based desktop publishing business.

    • Web site hosting
    • Domain registrations
    • State Tax Filing fees
    • Software
    • Hardware
    • Consumables
    • Business trip to Gencon
    • Marketing
    • Distribution Costs


    POD (print on demand-like Lulu) solutions seem too expensive to make sense to our customers either. Imagine paying 30 dollars for a 64 page color adventure module. I guess it's not far off from reality. A single subscription adventure from the Pathfinder line is just under $20 after shipping. I expect they have save print costs with large runs in the thousands versus a single copy printed and shipped through Lulu.

    I have no experience with creating an actual printed book. So I can't comment on what it would take from a business side.

    Fortunately, I love what I do and I am optimistic White Haired Man will be known for high quality adventures with whatever distribution method we use.

  5. #5
    I like having both. When it comes to reading I am a firm believer of the fact that you should have something that you can feel with your hands, and nothing is better than the smell of a good old book. But the ability to copy/paste a rule from a PDF when needed is also something that I just couldn't live without.

  6. #6
    I only ever printed out one PDF book and it was the old Dragons book for the first edition of Earthdawn. I hated that thing. It was the ugly sore thumb in my collection. I didn't even want to read it once I had printed it out.

    I definitely like the way folks like White Wolf make adventures as PDFs. That's pretty cool. But I hate having to rely on PDF for any substantial rule book. I like to read things cover to cover, and that's just not fun with a monitor.
    "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will."
    - Jonathan Edwards

    Click here for the latest nWoD ruleset release.

  7. #7
    Oberoten's Avatar
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    To be honest, I prefer a real book when around the table, if nothing else so because the battery in my laptop is such that if power is broken but for an instant it shuts down. When people turn it to see... they often dissconnect the power-plung on our venerable friend.

    That and a hardcopy book is a nice feeling of "I bought this in a format I can share with my friends" whereas PDF and other computer formats just becomes another instance of IP that has to be protected. And since I am not really sure that someone borrowing a USB-stick with my copy of Ars Magica 5th edition won't just copy it? I prefer handing them the book.

    When GMing on the internet like through FG though I much prefer the PDF alternative.

    - Obe
    For your Ars Magica needs :
    https://fgrepository.com




    Atque in perpetuum frater, Ave atque vale.

  8. #8
    [TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC]
    You know, I used to have that same power-cord-short. When I opened up the case (40 something tiny screws later), I saw that the back of the motherboard was breaking off where the power came in. All that pulling in and out just wore it down. It eventually broke off and I just jammed it back in to where it still made a connection. No real long term solution to that problem except a new laptop
    "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will."
    - Jonathan Edwards

    Click here for the latest nWoD ruleset release.

  9. #9
    Valarian's Avatar
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    I've found that a decent home laser printer (I've got a HP Colour LaserJet 2550) and some ErgoGrip binders do me for the rulebooks I want printed out. Some sturdy 4 D-ring binders are a cheaper alternative storage, but nothing can beat the ErgoGrip ones. They really do hold the pages like a book.
    Current Regular Games: European FG2 RPG

    Using Ultimate FGII - that means anyone can play.
    Valarian's Fantasy Grounds Rulesets - Now also linked in the Wiki

  10. #10
    mr_h's Avatar
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    I love PDF's because I can search through them faster, and if I'm running an online game at the computer, I don't have to have a pile of books around. Plus the PDF's are easier to take to work and not get in trouble

    However, I tend to get the paper copies as well, because it's great having one of those around the table. And after having Lasik surgery, my eyes get tired quite quick if I try to read a book constantly on the screen.
    DM: For reference sake, when a bad guys dies, I'll turn their token over. So an upside down 'A' or 'B' means it's a corpse.
    PC 1: So if we kill a 'M' is it reincarnated as a 'W'?
    PC 2: That damn 'O' just won't die!

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