J JOES's page

25 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


I thought the failure of Gleemax and how happy people were when it was removed would have told WotC that people did not want some MySpace/Facebook type of site, but wanted a place to be able to discus things. If people wanted to be on MYspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc, then they would be there and not a gaming based forum....But if the forums are anything like on MySpace and Facebook, then they are an afterthought and poorly designed.

I don't understand what the point of all these old people are doing trying to "get hip".

I don't post here often, but when I want to read something good about what is going on in gaming by other people I prefer a forum than some list of loosely connected replies to a blog entry.

Thank goodness Paizo hasn't lost it's sanity and can still offer a simple forum to visit or lurk on...even if it is an odd set of forum software...it still gives things plain and simple.

How badly designed the screenshots I have seen of the new site is another travesty of justice to readers/user of the site.

Well hope this wasn't necro'ed too old, but it came up in a google search since I can no longer find any old threads on the WotC forums to read about a few bookmarked things due to getting some kind of error message from some other company telling me to allow cookies when they are allowed.

Good luck to anyone that uses the new WotCFace...I will keep reading things here instead.

Lisa Stevens wrote:
J JOES wrote:

Monthly minis or mini-of-the-month for subscribers?

Would Reaper be producing as in just manufacturing them and Paizo sculpting them, or would Reaper be handling the entire fabrication process?

Which of the great Reaper sculptors will be heading the line if Reaper will be doing the entire fabrication?

Will they be newer white metal, or lead-alloy like their P-65 line?

Reaper will be handling everything other than approvals. We will be working with them to suggest which minis to do, but they are the best at making fantasy RPG minis, so we plan to sit back and let them do their magic!


"they are the best at making fantasy RPG minis, so we plan to sit back and let them do their magic!"

THAT IS HOW IT'S DONE! I cannot wait for these minis then! And the response came from the CEO....You cannot beat a definitive answer like that!

Monthly minis or mini-of-the-month for subscribers?

Would Reaper be producing as in just manufacturing them and Paizo sculpting them, or would Reaper be handling the entire fabrication process?

Which of the great Reaper sculptors will be heading the line if Reaper will be doing the entire fabrication?

Will they be newer white metal, or lead-alloy like their P-65 line?

Herald wrote:

I seriously doubt that pathfinder will go POD. They are a publishing house first, PDF maker second. It would be hard to get novelists to work with them if they where a POD shop.

I'm sure it would make authors think of Paizo as a vanity press and that is just not the case.

But the thing is, that previously the discussion has a sidetrack on how to get PDFs to dead-tree buyers the best way, and all things from codes to mail-in forms to other various ways including shrink-wrapped books came up.

With OBS and the PDF and POD available from them, it may not offer much to retail stores, depending on how they can use the POD or other new services offed by OBS; but it will give a chance for a printed book bundled with the PDF, that cannot be taken out, code used, etc.

So while it might not totally replace Paizo printing, and understandably so, it MAY be an option IF Paizo wants to venture that route to let some things be printed POD under some license or agreement from a secondary printing house, so that people can purchase the POD copy of the book, and also get a PDF at the same time.

It is a beginning thought process in offering both versions of a book to someone and needs refinement and evaluating for effectiveness, but shouldn't be discounted right away, should it?

Again also how it affects retail stores will depend greatly on what services OBS offers to them for the PDF and POD products.

Well I think you-know-who irritated PDF sellers enough that OBS is about to start selling print-on-demand books starting with RPG books, so I think retail stores are going to have to offer a LOT to compete with OBS not only selling PDFs, but real books as well for the companies that jump on the POD (Paizo?) wagon and let OBS take care of all the printing expenses. Also those PDf only publishers will be skipping the retail stores as well as they can be published in dead-tree stock now without having to worry about product storage space, etc that will help the smaller publishers.

BUT!, even retail stores can participate in the POD books being offered, so OBS and PDF sales are not going to really bother gaming stores that much for those who adopt the new market.

So I wonder what Paizo will play in this, and how long before Pathfinder is POD through OBS to help cut printing costs and overhead to store product? Would this even help Paizo getting the PDF and physical books to the consumer without all that code, mail-in form, etc nonsense? Like order a POD book to be mailed to you, and get to download the PDF of THAT POD book for half-price or something?

carmachu wrote:

The stores I had played at literally would invit us in, I guess to promote their wargaming section(whether 40k, fantasy, PP games) then eventually decide that we take up too much area, or time or whatever....mind you the first, then current club I'm in, we had a "you play there you buy there" gentleman's agreement among ourselves.

I've seen it over and over and over again. The last store that decide they didnt wnat us around literally loist 5-8% of gross sales, when we left(we did buy other things besides minis).

Nope, not worth the gas money to drive back. Someone would, and it was funny to watch them struggle to rebuild their wargames interest again.

But the reality is, as I said, we have our own place now, paid with dues. No worries about the whims of a game store again. Much better.

That is what I have seen, and thought you meant. I also think this mentality of gaming stores has done them more damage over the years than any PDF sales.

When a card game takes up less space for a complete game, and you can offer more games for that card game, the most often thing to go are miniature games that take up 2-3 times the space for 2 people to play, that 6 could be playing card games and spend more on in the store, as well an RPG group that takes up maybe the same 6 seats around a table, but whose product are so expensive that the store makes less on the sales of, and products sell less often; so the gaming stores actually don't want them taking up so much space.

Then those that may want to provide space, neglect that when those card game players get in the way of an RPG group or a wargame being played that could help promote the sales, by the card players just coming around and picking things up off the table or disrupting the game, so why would the gamers want to come back to the store to play when they can't actually be allowed to play without interference of other people?

So many gaming stores have really turned away from their RPG customers long ago for the card game players, and they cannot blame PDF sales for that. I am with you in that I shouldn't pay gas to go somewhere to not be able to play a game, just so the store can make more money of of me while they don't offer play space, or even promote the game I play. Meaning RPGs and wargames in general. DDM and Clix games were not doing too bad from what I heard, but the respective companies holding them just couldn't follow through with the games support to keep enough people interested with constant rules changes.

So other than PDF sales, gaming stores kind of need to promote the games they want to sell, by allowing people to play them, run demos, and show off the game in the store if they want people to buy from them; least PDF be the least of their worries, and Amazon will soak up all their sales because Amazon will offer more to the RPG player than sadly the gaming stores do. :(

As few and far between that gaming stores are in many areas, those "few" bad apple store are spoiling it for the whole bunch of others.

carmachu wrote:
I dont give a damn about FLAGS anymore.

I have seen you in my lurking of ENWorld and WotC forums, and glad you appear here so that I may ask what FLAG means? FLGS (friendly local gaming store) but where does the A come from?

I really don't blame you from a wargamer or RPG standpoint as most LGS I know also primarily focus on the card games, so there is really little incentive to visit the ones I know or support them as well. But wouldn't you think the wargame play area being offered again you might want to just visit and see what it is about before totally dismissing it? If nothing else to find out if they are doing poorly elsewhere or not for morbid curiosity.

Vic Wertz wrote:
I also have a question for those of you who buy from FLGSs. What do your receipts look like? Are they itemized with product names, or are they just bits of register tape that just say you bought some item for $19.99?

What receipts? This isn't Walmart we are talking about.

I think I got a receipt from one hobby store before, but it was because I purchased gasoline for a nitro car there, and it had to include the receipt. HobbyTown I think it was. Other than that I have never gotten any receipt from a gaming store, nor given one from those I had the misfortune to help out at, because it costed too much, unles it was a credit card used for purchase.

The HobbyTown receipt was like a FoodLion receipt with all the items itemized, then somewhere else the discounts on each item also itemized. About a foot long receipt for one used OOP AD&D book, one gallon of nitro methane, and one fuel filter.

Included also the store location, cashier name, the works. But then again HobbyTown is a chain store, so that may be more why the tech in the receipt was more up-to-date.

But that is just my experience, as I have seen other people who actually get receipts at other places I cannot travel that far too.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
I think part of the trouble is that this might not reflect actual distribution channels. Most stores I believe get their material through Diamond, which is legendary for slowdowns and shortfalls. Also, given the fragility of retail stores, there are lots of stores who get part of their stock from the liquidation of another store.

I said somewhere, that that neds to be gotten rid of. Diamond is causing more problems for the industry than just about anything else, with their ripping off retailers to make them have to keep prices high to make anything back on anything they get through Diamond. Been that way and getting worse each year for over a decade, all because they are pretty much the only place to get comic books, that help keep game/comic stores alive and a steady revenue stream from the sales of comics even as poorly as they are doing. Cut out the middleman and you always get rid of many problems in businesses.

kitenerd wrote:

Huge thanks to J Joes for reminding us that sometimes low tech old school solutions work best.

This is the biggest drawback i see to J Joes mail in form.

Another interesting idea would be some type of sticker that the retailer applied to the mail in form at the time of purchase. This would prevent duplication and...

I think you just solved my problem with the idea for me. I recall some stickers with several games and the old DCI for Arena that you put on your card to show you played it, and something with bats on it for DDM.

If Paizo deal directly with retailers, they could have some kind of bar-code sticker with the store info stored on it, that is affixed to the form in the book. This would help tell Paizo what store this book was purchased from, and Paizo could send some store swag or appreciation gift, or small discount to the retailer after X sticker have been returned with mail in forms.

This would still prevent dishonest store owners from sending in forms as it would destroy the book having the form page removed and a customer would know something is up and not to pay full price for a damaged book. It is also minimum effort for the store owner as they wouldn't need to remember about it, the customer would ask for a store sticker when they wish to fill out the form and mail it in for thier free PDF copy of their book.

What the retailer gets for dealing with the little stickers is between them and Paizo, but the tiny effort is not more than any customer asking for their receipt for the purchase when handing out a sticker with a Paizo logo and barcode on it for the mail in form.

Maybe Paizo would mail back to the customer a coupon valid only at the LGS where they got their sticker and book from for a later Paizo product, and this would give incentive for that customer to come back to the LGS rather than Amazon or something, and like other manufacturer coupons, the store just sends em in to Paizo once a month, to claim the portion of the discount?

So the store would really need to jsut do the following:

-Be honest and not steal pages from the books they sell.
-Give stickers to those that ask for them to use the mail-form
-Accept the coupon and continued patronage of their customer
-Mail in collected coupons for money/discount/account credits/etc from Paizo.

The customer then gets these benefits form using this:

-Assurance of getting the extra "swag" with purchase
-Support from the publisher and store that shows they care about the customers business
-Maybe a discount on a later product somewhere from that LGS that could help with some outlier product they would have otherwise skipped or got elsewhere, or an impulse buy the next time they visit.

Ok not much bonus for the customer, but the idea is to help Paizo and the LGS since the customer could have gone direct to Paizo.

Paizo gets a little extra work and some benefits from this as well

-make the stickers and get them to the retail store owners
-make the coupons with the stores name an address "Offer valid only at Bobs Discount RPGs"
-accept the orders for the free (S&H addition maybe for minimum media mail rates) electronic version of the files, or e-mail them as well take the other orders attached to the form fur current or upcoming products.

-tracking which stores are actually selling there products to know how well Paizo products are doing regionally
-tracking which stores are willing to participate and how many in such things in the future to help both the hobby, the customers and themselves, so Paizo can further continue to support those retail stores
-faith from the consumer that PAizo is working to keep the LGS's around and make sure they don't abuse the customers...
-electronic versions of books wherein there may no be the ability to always fit it in an e-mail.

There is a lot that can be done with the old method, and often a lot to be done, but it is all simple things no different than is already done for comics and the advertisement bookmarks and such. This way has all 3 working together to the same end. Quality products in the consumer hands, and the retailers don't take a hit to the PDF market, or Amazon.

But these are just some quick ideas added to it while eating dinner, so anyone else fell free to develop them further. ;)

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

I think the old-fashioned mail-in form is a good idea, but should have two options in it:

A. Yes! Please email me my unique download code for the PDF of this product. (free)

B. Please email me the download code, but also send me a special adventure chapbook with a CD containing my PDF slipcased in back. CD also contains PDF of adventure chapbook content. (nominal fee + S&H)

Chapbooks are just about the right size to slipcase a CD, and would be just about the right size for a set piece, adventurelet, or maybe a couple of monsters or wondrous items.

I really liked the Call of Cthulhu adventure that I got as a mail-in with the hardback coupon all those years ago.

The page with the mail-in coupon would naturally also have the order form for some other products.

Of course, and the dislamier "No additional purchase necessary to receive your free PDF/electronic copy." But also maybe give details about Paizo subscriptions, and maybe a one-time discount of say $5 off anything purchased along with this form for the free copy of the PDF. Another disclaimer of course would be required: "Copies of this form are not valid for the discount or for the free PDF, but may be used to purchase other merchandise."

Or something like that, and have a like watermark on the page itself under the text, than when photocopied or scanned will reveal in big black and dark ink when printed that the page was copied and is not actually taken out of a book.

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
J JOES wrote:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are quite a few store owners out there that would take any and every chance on promotion items to keep and sale at a later date, had the customer not know about the item in question. In particular I am remembering some events around a store owner with 10th edition magic wantin to keep some of the prizes to sell rather than give them out to people participating in the events and saying "well what do I get from running these events? I can't keep and sell any of the stuff?"

You and I and many others know that the thing the gaming store gets in the surge of customers surrounding the event and the boom in sales it brings, but the store owners that think this way and want to keep promotion items and such DO exist. Cards with some sort of PDF code will be treated no different by those store owners. This is a reason M:TG changed its policy and cracked down on store owners selling the prize support cards for Friday Night Magic and such,...

Well, I think this is a reason to not have the "gift with purchase" be particularly unique or collectible. Like perfume.

You could possibly have the PDF code card require info on the store where you bought the item it came with, the name of that item, the price you paid, and the name of the clerk if you remember it. That might turn up dishonest shopkeepers.

That all said, given the ease with which people can get illegitimate copies of the PDFs, no one would pay much for an envelope that said something like THIS IS A GIFT WITH PURCHASE AND IS NOT PRICED FOR INDIVIDUAL SALE -- IF YOU PAID MONEY TO A SHOPKEEPER FOR THIS, HE'S A WEINER. PLEASE TELL US THE NAME OF THE SHOP IF SO. DITTO IF YOU GOT IT FROM SOME DUDE ON EBAY.

In the case of PDFs for books, there is a real easy way, the old fashioned way.

Each book has 16 page multiples for the signature or somesuch. Well have one of those pages be a mail in form to get your PDF file on CD from Paizo or wherever with a small S&H fee. Whatever that real cheap media mail cost is or metered, like AOL CDs used to be sent out en mass. Paizo mailed magazines so they know what that would take.

Or maybe something to send to Paizo for a discount directly on the PDF online.

Either way making it part of the book would mean the customer knows something is there for them, and if it is missing, they are buying a damaged book. Also if stores end up with lots of these forms torn out of books, then they have a bigger problem than PDFs or Amazon, because people coming into their stores are destroying their merchandise and stealing from them. Maybe it is even possible to have that page have a scratch off code in the book. If people are getting books with the scratch off portion scratched off, the the store has the same problem as someone damaging the stock of the store.

Trust me when I say people still DO sell items labeled not for individual sale, and you can see it often for cigarettes, and there is little to do to track these things happening, save for not going to those stores that would do it. All a dishonest store would have to do is remove it from the packaging and sell it to you open and claim it was a trade in item. :(

Those dishonest store owners are causing problems for all other stores, and forcing some sort of increase of prices across entire lines for companies to have to come up with some way for the honest ones and customers to get what they are owed as promotional items, or nothing at all. That has been hurting local stores for a long time more than PDFs.

There is just no way to stop the dishonest store owners except force them out of business and cripple the hobby. :(

Even gluing a CD in the book with a PDF on it some store owners would steal, but the customer would know to be weary of buying that book if it is priced as new. The only way I got a CD from 3rd was from Dragon Magazine that included it in the sealed bag. Same as other magazines include CDs. Paizo and others shouldn't have to delve into having CDs stamped for a single file since they have online stores, but seems the only way to put something in the hands of the customer from a sealed bag and no have local stores have to fuss with more extras like they get with comic books flyers and ads, etc.

So I think just a form on the last page of the book you can cut out and mail to Paizo including your e-mail address to somehow get the PDF or other electronic copy of the book, is about the only way to do it to make sure the customer gets it with the book, and reduce extra work for store owners and curtail the dishonest ones actions.....???

kitenerd wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Yes (where the word "lost" is in quotes).

While many retailers would happily take the effort and participate with honesty in such a plan, other retailers would be unable to organize the effort. Some would flat-out refuse to pass on the card, as, in their view, they'd be sending their customers to a perceived competitor (be it Paizo, the internet, or the PDF medium). Some would use the codes themselves, potentially leaving customers to be disappointed.

We need a solution that doesn't rely on the retailer's willingness or ability to participate.

Is it me or is this response insulting to the local game store?

Any retailer who failed to reward the customer who came to their store and spent money on a print product (by giving them their free download certificate) would be stealing from the CUSTOMER and not Paizo. I don't think that is good business sense. Retail is tough enough, no sane intelligent business owner would insult the people who go...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are quite a few store owners out there that would take any and every chance on promotion items to keep and sale at a later date, had the customer not know about the item in question. In particular I am remembering some events around a store owner with 10th edition magic wantin to keep some of the prizes to sell rather than give them out to people participating in the events and saying "well what do I get from running these events? I can't keep and sell any of the stuff?"

You and I and many others know that the thing the gaming store gets in the surge of customers surrounding the event and the boom in sales it brings, but the store owners that think this way and want to keep promotion items and such DO exist. Cards with some sort of PDF code will be treated no different by those store owners. This is a reason M:TG changed its policy and cracked down on store owners selling the prize support cards for Friday Night Magic and such, because they were making money off of things that should have been freely given to the consumer from the manufacturer for patronizing the store itself, as store events are the only way you can get them. As well as those by-the-brick offers and such for clix games, several owners would open packs for singles and send in the UPCs to collect the special figure to turn around and sale later, without giving the customers a chance to buy a whole brick and get the figure for free.

Sadly those types of store owners do exist, and thankfully the publishers know, and are looking for ways to remedy the problem with those types of stores, and make sure the customer actually gets what they paid for, and the incentive options that drove them to purchasing things from a local gaming store to begin with rather than going to Amazon or some place like that which does not offer these promotion items, and other "swag" for purchasing from a local store.

So Paizo and others are probably looking for the way that cuts out the option for the dishonest ones out there, while still allowing for consumers, and honest store owners to be able to continue sharing the games and patronage of each other rather than online avenues of purchasing products that could only hurt the gaming stores.

It doesn't mean every gaming store owner is dishonest, but there have been many over the years even prior to recent events that would take any promotional item for any hobby and the hobby store owner would find a way of turning a profit off something meant for the customer for supporting a store, rather than mail-order....years ago for many hobbies.

KaeYoss wrote:
J JOES wrote:

a local gaming store has to offer a heck of a lot to compete with that, and if they can't match prices, then they have to be doing some serious, well, "sweet talking" customer to get them to come there.
I love competition.

Pardon my confusion, but not around here much unles something draws my attention to Paizo Products as things of late have, and this being the only decent place/forum to participate in RPG related discussion; but this is the second time you have quoted me, and the first i understand you were talking about Witt's comments in regards to PDF sales not me directly as the quoting here is a bit funny. As I don't know who you are, I am guessing the above means you are a gaming store owner?

I love your attitude as such, as competition is always good for the consumer, and lower prices, and better places are what would get me to come into a gaming store over another in the same area. Most times it only takes one, so long as the staff is not overly abusive.

Would it be to far asking what store where, you run if I am correct, since i don't know you around here; and if I am wrong, then maybe explain for me what you mean by loving competition? You are with Amazon, or a PDF publishers maybe?

I can't compete with you personally either way as I have no store. ;)

Thanks for any explanation where I may have failed to grasp what you mean here.

hedgeknight wrote:

It's 6:15 am EST in North Carolina, I'm sitting in my jamas drinking coffee and just purchased the Magic Item Compendium (like new condition) from Amazon for $11.80 plus $3.95 shipping.

Now, from where I'm sitting and reading through this thread, I'd say that game store owners need to wake up and smell the coffee!
If they are not wise enough to figure out why their gaming sales are down...then maybe someone should clue them in.
It's not because you can get a cheap pdf - it's because you can get a print copy of the same book they are selling at cover price, for upwards of 75% off.
Money is the issue folks - it's always about money.

Yeah and if the store in question was Cosmic Castle in Greensboro, then even their attitude towards gaming would make money not much of an issue too but how the store treets all and any of its customers. They could have given stuff away and it would not have made me want to do business with them. (Same for Cerebral Hobbies.) NC doesn't have many, and very few (if any) decent gaming stores.

Also a few other things in your post are things that gaming stores cannot provide.

6:15 am you want to buy something, or even during lunch from work. You can't always get to a store, but any time of day the internet is open, has been for a while.

So the things internet offers over retial stores:

-lower price, sometimes meaning shipping less than retail.
-open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
-no dress code, shop in your underwear if you want.
-bigger selection.
-carries out of print products.

a local gaming store has to offer a heck of a lot to compete with that, and if they can't match prices, then they have to be doing some serious, well, "sweet talking" customer to get them to come there.

In response to this Brix person I would ask these questions:

If piracy of electronic versions of D&D books were hurting B&M stores so bad, then why is WotC looking for other avenues of delivering electronic files to its customers as these surely must also hurt B&M stores where a physical copy of a book may not be able to be sold. So in interest of helping B&M stores, why does WotC feel the need to continue with electronic mediums to deliver its products to customers?

If electronic books are not really that bothersome to B&M stores, then could the cause be online sellers such as Amazon, or large chain stores such as Barnes & Noble, that small gaming stores cannot compete with be a problem with greatly discounted prices; and how is WotC going to help those smaller stores in regards to such deeply discounted products from these larger sellers?

I tried to post them on the blog as comments, but it seems the captcha verification image is not displaying.

One thing i would suggest to help D&D as well other RPGs and the indutry itself is something I have been saying for years when TSR owned D&D.

RPGA = Role-Playing Games Association

Now this seems to only imply WotC products, or maybe just the latest incarnation of D&D. I think this misnomer is hurtful to the hobby. It seems like a fairly generic name for an association, and I am sure it was decided under TSR when D&D was pretty much the only RPG. But I also recall back then other games were played and promoted under the RPGA.

Now it seems the RPGA is just an extension of the DCI used by WotC for its CCG tournament scene.

What needs to happen is this organization to become one that actually recognizes and supports ALL RPGs, and maybe has seats for people from each of the major RPG publishers to help guide on what is best for the industry, and then have all the prominent games represented in it, and under its umbrella, as it were for play and help support for the entire RPG industry.

So not only D&D (current and past edition), but White Wolf Exalted, and Vampire (is that still around?) (yes even LARP in some fashion for those interested so it isn't the TTPRGA[TableTop RPGA]), as well Necromancer, Kenzer, Steve Jackson, Goodman, Green Ronin, and last in this short list, but not least, Paizo; would all be represented in this RPGA to help build the industry and prevent its downfall.

All they need to do is open up to the other games, and any "rewards" program within the RPGA be granted to ANY RPGer for participating in an RPGA event equally. So 4th eidtion D&D, AD&D, OD&D, Pathfinder, Kingdoms of Kalimar, Castle and Crusades, Lejendary Journeys, and the list goes on and on...any person playing a game under the RPGA gets equal treatment, and all the games do as well in order to support the growth of the entire hobby and industry rather than just a single system.

I can't tell you how much I dislike LARP after having to do it once, but I included it because it IS a role-playing game, and an example of how it should be fair to all those who DO enjoy it.

If WotC won't step up and open the RPGA to other game and the entire RPG industry and customers, then the other major companies producing RPGs needs to stand together as with Free RPG Day, and provide support with some sort of organization that they work together to grow the hobby, and leave WotC hanging by the toes, if that is WotC's choice.

Now someone else, may better be able to present this idea without as much...emotion, as I have included, but I think and have for many years; that this is something that has been sorely lacking in the RPG industry even with the few conventions.

CCGs have independent little clubs for them and their tournaments, but they also have major support from the fans that helps them continue to grow in light of things. So why cannot WotC have their own little thing, and everyone one else as well, but rather than trying to drive each other out of business, work together as an industry of RPG enthusiasts against the bigger threat that is online gaming and console gaming? Make the RPGA or something where the RPG industry for ONCE works together to try to further the hobby.

Well that would be my suggestion to Greg Leeds, as well the questions I would ask him.

hogarth wrote:
Samuel Weiss wrote:

And toss in all of the comments about why Paizo does not have a PDF-only subscription in on top of it.
So which is it?
Do lower priced PDFs have a significant impact on sales or not?
Or do they just threaten Paizo's direct sales and subscriptions while somehow benefiting actual stores?

Indeed. From the "Give me a PDF subscription" thread:

"As for a PDF only subscription, I'll look into it but since Paizo's primarily a print company (call us old-fashioned or stubborn or whatever), there are various reasons we haven't done a PDF subscription yet. Playing nice with friendly local game stores and our distributors is one of the biggest reasons, though." -- James Jacobs

"The simple fact of the matter is that the more subscribers to the hard copy Pathfinder we have, the more we can afford to print, thus lowering the per-unit cost per book." -- Erik Mona

"I suspect for one that a PDF only subscription would have to cost the same as a Print + PDF subscription, and I'm not sure people would appreciate or understand that." -- James Jacobs

"However, every time this topic comes up, we hear from people who say that if we offered a PDF-only subscription, they would drop their print subscription. There are a few such posts in this very thread." -- Vic Wertz

All of those replies make the implication that "one PDF sale = one lost hard copy sale". So why is it suddenly ridiculous when somebody else makes that suggestion?

(FWIW, I don't believe it's true.)

I am quoting you, but not necessarily talking about your opinions, but what is presented in your post.....

"one PDF sale = one lost hard copy sale" = hogwash.

Let me take each piece themselves.

James Jacobs, I could simply tell him that Amazon exists, and sales a LOT of media in various formats. I am sure I have seen Paizo products on their lists in the past. They hurt LGS and regular bookstores much more than a single PDF could. Diamond Distributors are rip-off artists. They do more damage to retail stores with the forced $$$$ of comics you must buy from them to be able to afford to stock any sort of gaming materials and sell them at a reasonable price, because the sheer volume of comics you must carry, if you carry comics, that will most likely never sell, and not even return your investment on buying the comics. Alliance Games I have only dealt with 3 times, and each time was through another retail store. Alliance had a minimum purchase amount of about $600 per order at that time. That was very easy to meet, and considering all they have is pretty much the same as Diamond save for the comics related, then getting gaming supplies was much better through Alliance. So a first step in helping retail stores, would be doing something about the abuse they suffer from Diamond Distributors to begin with. This middleman, lives up to the name, and the thing you have always heard about the middlemen and why you want to "get rid of them". So when competing with Amazon who can get direct from publisher, or in bulk from distributors as well couple that with the way Diamond gouges the retailers, a PDF really can have no effect on retailers except to further the problem a tiny bit, where Amazon is still preferable to dead-tre stock, over the prices retailers are forced to sell at because of the price fixing and over pricing of Diamond Distributors. So Diamond is already a bigger problem wherein the retailers cannot compete with Amazon even BEFORE the considerations of a PDF market comes into play.

Erik: Nothing to disagree with there. Erik seems to have his stuff spot on, as over in the ENWorld threads... The only problem again is the physical product method of getting to the consumer. Going through Diamond is going to put it out of price range for many because the retailers having to maintain a higher price to account for the overhead of the material, which means even a bit higher since higher priced items in retail locations cost more in shelf space that will sit around for a while wherein lower priced things have a quicker turn-around time (see M:TG and other TCG/CCGs) which means faster returns for the investment in the product for the retail stores. Of course ordering directly from Paizo yeilds a whole other result for retail stores, meaning they are just cut out of the picture. So again the physical books are great, and not to dispute Erik, but the way they are distributed via Diamond costs retailers, the hobby, the publishers, and the consumers. There is where all the money is sitting at Diamond Distributors yet again. Hopefully being able to print more physical product, as Erik describes, will lower the price distributors will charge retailers, and thus customers, but that is unlikely to be of much effect on the final price because unlike other books with a markup of about 44% compared to most other items in the retail business of ranging around 30%-33% markup, RPG have an even larger markup most times because of the cost of overhead in shelf space for retailers. :( So Erik is right that PDF isnt the problem for the retailers., again it is the distributors that is the problem.

James again: What? why would PDF only cost anywhere near a PDF + print subscription. Why should the PDF consumer have to pay for a physical tangible product when they would be using another service. That is probably why WotC PDFs of 4th edition didn't do to well in sales because the PDFs IIRC were more expensive than the physical product from Amazon. ???? So why would a Paizo subscription need to be the same price for both models/services? I could only see it if the PDF came free with the printed book via the subscription, but PDF should be cheap as you need other equipment to utilize the PDF, while a physical book is grab and go. You dont need to use electricity to read it (go outside where it is sunny), no hardware require (well I wear glasses, but I need them to read anything book of computer screen.) So I don't see how any of this could affect retailers with the PDFs hurting them....???

Vic: I think that to be true. Some people will prefer electronic only, and I am glad this is the last thing there so I can go into the various markets that have surely been mentioned time and time again.

A: People that only buy tangible personal property. (physical books, aka dead-tree stock)

B: People that only buy electronic media. (prefer it for search, leagibility issued for visually disabled people, etc)

C: People that buy both. (Game with books, prepare with PDF we have heard that before I am sure.)

D: People that buy neither.

Preferably the publisher wishes for everyone to be in group C. More money right.

It is known that group D exists, and not much you can do....or is it? Retailers must get people to buy from them, they have ways to entice people to buy their physical products. Why shouldn't publishers also have ways to get people to buy their products that otherwise wouldn't/couldn't?

PDF via its simple method means more accessibility than dead-tree stock since it helps the visually impaired. Maybe this person doesn't buy dead-tree, but if you could get them to buy anything in your product line, then you have a chance of them buying other physical property from you. Mapping Tiles, minis, dice, etc. Whatever accessories to the product that may be needed.

Now in the case of retail stores these groups only matter for A and C. They think B hurts them, but does it.

Let us take a hypothetical D&D/Pathfinder (any RPG) group here.

I have found that 6 total players is a good size. Playing with only 3 can be done, but for many in a retail location it does not look good for the product to have a DM/GM and two players. Those PDF users that may need them could increase the size of this group, and make the game look more appealing to new customers of the product. Would M:TG be selling as it does, if nobody played it in retail stores?

So even if that PDF consumer does not purchase RPG books from your store, they may likely buy dice, drinks, snacks (those higher markup items with quicker turn-around times and faster revenue) while they play in your location.

Someone on ENWorld from Gamers Gambit, IIRC, said they threw someone out for looking at a book to jsut peruse it and was thinking about buying the PDF. I think that could cause more people to ignore LGS's and it really doesn't help the LGS anyway, because all the other things the store has to offer while playing space is being used by RPGers. Now this person may never have bought a thing, but in my experience, when you start throwing customers out, then it makes its way around and you may stop getting new ones, not to mention the other items that customer him/herself may have bought while in the store.

So group B doesn't change much about the retail environment. Sure you don't get to sell them the books that Diamond Distributors overcharged you the retail owner for, causing you to have so many taking up so much excess space, and costing all that over head, but they also have potential for PDFs to generate revenue from all the other thing you do carry in your retail location.

Now I wasn't trying to pick on anyway in this from here, or ENWorld, etc; just trying to give some substance on the issue of what could really be causing retailers problems other than PDFs. Not to deny that PDFs legal or otherwise cant contribute, but there are a LOT of other things that retailers have to contend with which I will sum-up:

-Amazon and any other competing venue that sales the same product.
-Distributors costs to retailers for this product
-Retailers price on the product (ties in with the first one here)
-PDF sales that may not generate a sale of dead-tree stock (see not discounting that it can have an affect.)
-Reason for the consumer to patronize your retail store. (space to play, courteous knowledgeable staff, clean store, ample parking, staff supporting the games it sells and allows played within the store premises)

So there are many things that affect a retail stores, LGs's, sales and to blame the newest tech when retailers have been having to contend with the other 4 major thing to stay afloat, just seems a bit foolish to me.

Apologies to anyone named in this post that may have taken offense, it was not intended. Gamer Gambit seems like a great place in all other aspects not mentioned within the post from the ENWorld thread; and sadly was the only point of data to use to illustrate a potential problem. Also apologies for having so much for people to wade through to read if this post will even post tot he database.

After reading the ICv2 "interview" it answered a lot of questions, one of which in the way things were said that WotC will pretty much no longer use PDF as the medium in which to deliver its electronic products. Also the mention that D&D is available through DDI with the Compendium and Character builder, pretty must puts the death knell in all older edition products, as WotC obviously wants to see them gone, as they are NOT a part of either the Compendium or Character Builder, and are obviously viewed as no longer D&D games.

They wanted to splinter the market with the GSL bit, and a new edition, but at least they still had support from 3.x and older editions, but now I think they just bit the hand that feds them so to speak, as those not playing solely 4th edition, or playing it, will no longer be showing an support to WotC with any purchases RPG related.

I also like how WotC sees fit via Greg to defend the entire hobby, at the expense of its hobbyists wherein removing all older editions of its products form any market.

Paizo give me some more good stuff coming up with pathfinder please!

shieldknight01 wrote:

I do know of two other gaming stores within 70 miles of this one that while offering tournaments and game days, do not offer free merchandise for conventions and no discount on any products. I don't buy from either of them, even though one is closer. There are a lot of things B&M retailers can do to get my dollar.

Maybe its not the norm, and maybe I'm just lucky in the fact that my FLGS is great to work with and that they offer a wonderful service to the gamer community and a great discount. Either way, I'm glad their here, and I'll continue to support them.

I think you are right on many fronts. Those stores that see MSRP as the price to sell something are hurting themselves and all other stores. Also FME, you are lucky in having a decent game store that understands how to support its wares, and the hobbies it sells things for. I know a few LGS, that thought it would be a quick and easy way to jump on the expanding CCG market, and exploded comic book market to make some fast money. Even with lower than MSRP prices, some of these stores don't really do anything to make you want to visit them.

The whole FLGS system must change to adapt as yours seems to have always done, and need to promote not only their products, but themselves, to make gamers WANT to show them their support, and toss them money in sales, and their loyalty.

Even without any discount on the MSRP, I would buy things from a store that is courteous rather than one that has cheaper things, but could care less about what they are selling. You kind of need to show your customers you care about the same things. The one bit made it seem like employees were forced to learn about the RPG books and materials to communicate with the customers in order to sale things. That does not show the store itself has any real interest int he products they are selling, so may be evidence to why they are suffering in that part of their business model.

Correction to my last post. The store I mentioned is not my local store, I have never been, there, but my local store looks down on RPGs, and it may be the same as The Keep, if they are having problems selling RPG products.

There is another one from Jane Witt of The Keep in Fort Wayne, Indiana


"Strike me with a silly stick, but why as a brick & mortar business owner should I make a business decision to stock your products in my store?"

"Since you've "reacted strongly to Wizards of the Coast’s announcement that it was ceasing PDF sales of its product, reaffirming their support for PDF sales and initiating special offers to lure former WotC customers," I and possibly many others, will be forced to reassess our decision to offer your products in our stores."

Talking about ALL the people from the article offering discounts on PDFs White Wolf, SJG, and of course..... Paizo!

I think dropping all other but WotC products would be a way to make sure her business fails. I think Paizo will quickly soak up the revenue from the recent happenings, and have bought an addition book from RPGNOW (Paizo was down due to slashdot traffic for me the other day) to go with my Pathfinder Beta download from here, and I don't even like 3.5 or its decendants. But I love the RPG hobby, so wanted to support someone and most of my friends that play current D&D still play and like 3.5 so I got some more goodies for it when I can't convince them to play AD&D.

I wonder if these stores don't realize other than the fact than online dead-tre stock sellers like Amazon, and even Walmart, are cutting down the B&M stores business, but general poor quality of many of the RPG related gaming stores, and the fact that CCGs have overcrowded them.

A retail location to support PAtherfinder, or any other RPG must not just sell books, but provide space to play, and if it is all taken up with CCGs, then what is there to intice people to buy from a retailer for ANY RPG, rather than get the book online, since they will more than likely have to play at home anyway, and not have to be crowded by CCG players in an environment where they cannot hope to even play there games, unless they also play CCGs?

Well I did what I could at this time to support RPGs and defy WotC. I bought a PAzio book from RPGNOW in the sale, and sadly cannot buy anything other than online, because my FLGS is one that suffers from the CCG syndrome, and well as just poor quality management, and the people running the store, that is mentioned in the above ICV2 bit may KNOW a bit about the dead-tree stock they are trying to sell, but are not very interested in discussing or promoting the products, and many look down on the RPGs as well. So I have no FLGS/B&M retail store that is worth visiting to support.

I wish I had known Paizo had AD&D PDFs before this happened, so I could have got me a bunch to support them after the magazines were yanked form then way back when, cause my boxed sets are about dead from use, and I would not want to use many of the other books for fear of them getting worse and worse.

So Pathfinder, you may be hearing more from me. And the retailers may be seeing more sales declines if they cannot adapt with the times, and if nothing else, start an eBay store to sell their dead-tree stock to also allow them to get a foot in the door against Amazon, and other major online sellers of dead-tree stock. Granted that foot may be returned as a bloody stump when the iron-clad Amazon door slams shut on it, but you either try to survive by adapting, or just run home with your tail between your legs and close up shop.

I am sorry for ALL retailers, but welcome to the digital age and the late 1990's since many seem not ready to join the 21st century, at least join the previous decade.

Confirmed by WotC_Dave on ENWorld. What in the world is going on?

David Marks wrote:
J JOES wrote:

When isn't that pathetic site down?

Sorry, but what they call magazines now is bad enough and they are simple collections of text and images. The website can never stay alive for more than a few hours without getting corrupted by something.

? I'm curious what a magazine generally is, if NOT a collection of text and images? I think the quality of the magazines since release has been quite superb, honestly, website issues not-withstanding.

Cheers! :)

Something that when you pay for it you can roll it up in your pocket for one. Then pull it out and read it when you are ready. Like on a clear day sitting under a tree surrounded solely by nature to get AWAY from technology. The new thing looks like a calendar. Like the forums there are even problems downloading the thing as it double links to some asp error.

Granted there are no advertisements on either the site or the things that used to be magazines, but neither of them work that well.

When isn't that pathetic site down?

Sorry, but what they call magazines now is bad enough and they are simple collections of text and images. The website can never stay alive for more than a few hours without getting corrupted by something.

DudeMonkey wrote:

WotC is basically saying that they can yank the rug out from under you any time they want with this license. Is that how it reads to everyone else?

I don't think I would publish under this license if I was in this industry, professionally speaking.

Not only can they yank the rug out from individuals, but from everyone at once without prior notice.

11.1 Termination. This License and the rights granted hereunder will terminate automatically upon written notice to Licensee or upon posting on its website of a termination of the GSL as applied to all licensees.