Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Perrenial Question - PDF, Paper or Both?

I've asked this question in the past, but as the RPG market is constantly adjusting (and tablets as electronic book readers are really finding their own these days) and my readership is significantly higher than it was a year ago (both on the blog side and the G+ side) I figured this was as good a time as any to ask that perennial question:

PDF, Paper or Both?

Me, I'm firmly in the "both" category. If I had it my way, every paper product produced for RPGs would come with a "no cost" "vanilla" PDF. Why? I do one hell of a lot of my RPG reading on a tablet and it irks me to no end to have to buy the same thing in two different formats twice.

Why do I want my PDFs to be "vanilla" or plain? It's easier on the eyes when I read it on the screen. It's also way more economical if I want to print out a few pages for use at the table if they aren't saturated with color ink. Besides, saturated pages bleed and wrinkle and often don't read as well as a "vanilla" page.

Yes, I want my dead tree book AND I want my convenient electronic copy. You got a problem with that?  Heh.

So, where do you fall?






  1. I want the corebook in print form. It just works better for me to find something instead of clicking page by page through a pdf.

    Major sourcebooks I prefer in print but I can deal with pdf on these. Now all the extra type stuff, smaller sourcebooks and just non-essential things I can deal with better in pdf and it means less to lug around there.

  2. Print all the way. The only use I have for PDFs are if they are just a handful of pages... then I'll print them out anyway. Simply can't be bothered with large files that are in PDF format - compared to the ease of flicking through a printed book. Perhaps if I one day get an iPad my attitude might change.

  3. I'm firmly in the "both" camp now. I love the feel of a real book and I find them easier to read somehow. However, with a large rule book it's really great to be able to search a pdf. Someday I'll get a tablet or laptop for the gaming table and then I'll want the pdfs on board for reference.

  4. I prefer my gamebooks to be carved onto stone monoliths, as God intended.

    Barring giant game-henges, though, both pdf and print. That's a print copy for reading at leisure and lending out, and tablet copy to go in the mobile game-library, read at night, and easily search.

  5. PDFs, all the way. It's easier on my bookshelves--and I play online enough where it's easier to just flip between windows.

  6. I want a book if I'm running a game, even if I have to print it myself.

    However, as I'm working with Fictive Hack, I'm making the .pdf available. That's really helpful, as your character template can go on the back of the sheet, and your character on the front, and you can cherry pick a few reference pages and you're much more ready to play.

  7. I prefer paper but international postage and a tight budget forces me to mostly buy pdf, which I then turn into paper. I also think that every print product should come with a pdf version (there's no excuse not to these days). A pdf gives me the convenience of printing sections for my players. It allows me to copy/paste sections if I want to personalise the material for my own games.

  8. I wish role-playing books came in a bundle made of a dead tree bare-bone book + extensive pdf.

  9. I prefer PDF, I wish it was Both but its soo much easier to warehouse this stuff on my TB drive than to fill shelves. Certain special things, boxed sets, the AD&D reprints I like having in print.

  10. I generally prefer well made (i.e. properly bookmarked) PDFs over paper as they take up a lot less physical space. If I buy a RPG in a paper format I prefer it to be in the 6"x9"/digest format, otherwise no sale (exceptions will rarely be made for something like the KenzerCo HackMaster 5e core books as they happen to look good on a bookshelf or coffee table - but RPGs products printed like that generally won't get used in actual play by me).

  11. I prefer print, but won't usually even consider a print book anymore unless it comes with a free (or <$5) PDF version. If the PDF by itself is cheap enough, I will buy that to preview the product before buying the print version.

    In the end though, if it's anything more than just a one-shot module, it ends up being Print+PDF for me.

  12. Print. PDFs are terrible when trying to actually use them, at least on any hardware I have available. If I can print them out, that may be acceptable, but it's a hassle that I am willing to pay to not have to deal with - especially since I'd have to pay for the printing anyway.

  13. Of course, my choice is complicated. For anything I get in dead tree, like you, I want a no-art digital copy for free. But I'm very picky about what I get in dead tree, so I'd like to have full-color digital copies (with free no-art versions) and dead tree. Basically all options of both.

  14. For me all about the Benjamins. PDF for $10, or dead tree for $50? Hmmm... If money wasn't a factor I'd go with print and PDF's would be nice-to-haves. ++ on the EPUB comment. I like PDF's but they are laggy, large.


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