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Monday, February 15, 2016

Destroy Your Original Copies of D&D Releases and You Too Can Get $50 in OBS Credit


So, it appears WotC and OBS are going whole hog into putting out digital copies of the WotC catalog, but they want YOU to do the dirty work.

Here's the pitch:
Help us preserve classic D&D — and earn a bounty for it! 
Our goal at DriveThruRPG has always been to support the RPG hobby by making every RPG title ever published available to RPG fans at a click. To that end, together with Wizards of the Coast, we have been digitally re-mastering hundreds of classic D&D titles and offering them through DriveThru and DMSGuild.com.  We still have about 600 more classic D&D titles to go, and we need the help of D&D fans to get them all. 
If you’ve got some classic D&D titles in your collection and you have access to a scanner, you can help us re-master and preserve these titles. In return, you’ll get a $50 bounty per title (once we verify your scan meets our specifications below). We are looking for  high-quality scans, but these days, most inexpensive home scanners can handle the specifications if set correctly.
You can read the rest here.

So, if you are willing to destroy your collection (see screen shot above) you MAY (if your scans meet standards) qualify for a $50 bounty.

No thank you. Can you imagine the actual time it would take to scan a 128+ page book on the usual home scanner? Add in the fact that you need to destroy the original and all this is is an attempt by OBS / WotC to have someone do their work for them.

As an aside, I thought the parent company was OneBookshelf. I wonder if this means the RPGNow branding is going to be put aside at some point in the near future.

25 comments:

  1. Also lets not forget if you cut up and scan in a book then send it in somebody else may have been doing the same thing. So what happens when they send in their scans a few hours before you do. Yeah this is so not a good idea.

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    1. I was thinking the same thing Peter

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    2. They actually catch that with the Google Docs spreadsheet they're maintaining. People can claim particular titles before they start.

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    3. It's unclear from their site whether you need to have the scan completed before you apply. The submission form asks for a link to the scan, although it is not marked as a required field.

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  2. Surely many people have already scanned in their collections, or where did all of those pdfs come from that were online before?

    Also I assume OBS could clean up a "reading copy" scan. Let's not pretend like all of those items were printed on plates of gold, here.

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    1. The thing is, it shouldn't be farmed out at a rate that, when you account for the product destroyed and the physical amount of time required to scan in some of the larger products, will amount to less than minimum wage.

      Shit, as you aye, there are scans of much of this on the internet - all they need to do is torrent and they'll have the majority of the work done.

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    2. This will run into another problem tat WotC has been silent on: problems with scan/OCR quality. My copy of Temple of Elemental evil is missing lines of text every few pages. The OCR skipped them and they are gone.

      It's gonna take a lot more than $50 per book to address, more like $10 per page.

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  3. Awesome, I need digital slaves to work on PDFs...any interested parties should contact Erik and he can get them in touch with me :P I am kidding of course, but seriously...

    I don't have a comment that is family friendly about this so I will just chuckle about it.

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  4. The offer is strange. So is WotC implicitly claiming that they don't have copies of these games in their archives? Or maybe they only have one each and don't want to screw them up? They own the game but can't be relied upon to preserve it?

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  5. I thought Peter Adkison said they found a huge collection of old books when they first acquired TSR. You'd think they could use those (though the thought of destroying them horrifies me)

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  6. My first thought on reading this was "ah, they've learned what it costs to get this done professionally... ain't no way I'd touch this".

    I used to work for a company that did document capture (scanning, sometimes OCR). There's no way we would've touched a job like this for what they're offering. We could get the cost per page to about what they're offering if the job was big enough to gain from automation, but for the size of this job it wouldn't be worth getting the tools up.

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  7. Libraries digitise books all the time -- some of them hundreds of years old -- without destroying them.

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  8. I like your optimism... Lol Good luck with that

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  9. If they want to hire me at my going rate for that type of work and pay me $75/hour plus supply me with the book, I'm their guy. Otherwise, frak off.

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  10. Why in the name of god would you have to destroy anything? This device does it for you, full OCR, full compatibility, hell it will even save it to you in PDF:

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/czur-scanner-build-your-own-digital-library

    I was thinking of buying one for my own book collection because I can scan my library into my PC within minutes and NOT destroy the books.

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    1. Was just going to suggest the same. Funny how a multimillion dollar company can't afford a couple of these and do the work themselves.

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  11. It's not a huge surprise, given that their by-line for DM's Guild seems to be 'Create content for 5E and the Forgotten Realms, cos we can't be bothered.'

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  12. Sadly even if you do it up for them the phrasing is such that you're guaranteed nothing. But a sucker is born every minute. And just look at how they've sold so many copies of yet another edition of a game most of its buyers already own in various versions.

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  13. So, games are meant to be played. The authors wanted this material to be used, not worshiped. If "destroying your collection" brings out-of-print books to people who will actually use them, then it's worth it.

    Also, I'm not sure how destroyed your collection is. I mean, the point is readable pages. Put them in a three ring binder afterward.

    All that said, I agree with most of the points here.

    First, it's beyond terrible to offer less than minimum wage for a task they know actually costs much more when done by a professional, especially when you're not guaranteed payment at all! Hell, it's be (very, very slightly) better if they at least gave you a token amount for trying, if your scan wasn't up to snuff.

    Also, as many of you have already pointed out, it's not clear their suggested method is actually the best one, even from the point of view of a non-professional with a limited budget. There's equipment and techniques out there for scanning books without cutting the spine that are easily within reach of the budget of a lot of home users.

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  14. A quick aside: I see some Eberron adventures on the list. Those aren't ancient classic titles at all! How can they not have the original files for those?! Eberron is a setting unique to the WotC era of D&D!

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  15. Could be someone lost the digital files. Does seem funny that that need this kind of help.

    Here's a silly thought: I wonder if their also looking to find and deal with people who let loose the earlier PDFs? Like it's been mentioned, there have been PDFs out on the net for a while. This might be a way of hunting them down.

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    1. I think that's a little paranoid, but it does return to the point that if they need these digital files, they can ironically get them by checking pirate torrents. Arguably, this would let them profit from the piracy!

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  16. WOTC are the same tight-fisted, comically greedy caricatures of Mr. Krabs that didn't even give a free copy to the winner of their "Against the Slave Lords" art contest a couple years back. The winner just got to have their art be in the published product to make money for WOTC (and lost all rights to use it elsewhere). This in spite of the fact that they founded their empire by paying the artists for their card game quite competitively and received excellent work in return.

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  17. What's to stop someone getting the torrents that have already been released, stripping them, and then submitting them to OBS.

    Some of the pdf's in the wild already have all that (including covers, spine, & maps)

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