PDF sales effect on gaming store owners


Website Feedback

51 to 100 of 198 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Dark Archive

Nicole from Green Ronin is clearly not impressed by Marcus either:

Open Letter to Marcus King

+1 to Nikchick

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:
So then you can also get the cheap PDF without buying the book if you have a friend that owns the book, a library that has the book, a book store that has an internet cafe, a web browser on your cell phone...

So?

Vic Wertz wrote:
Cheap (or even free) PDFs do not trump the desire for printed books by a significant portion of the audience.

With:

Vic Wertz wrote:
Now, given that PDFs are commonly sold for less than the price of the book, the customers who are the most price-sensitive have already fled to category 2—that is, they are already not his customer. Still, the promotion *will* draw customers who are *somewhat* price sensitive—but have already decided that price is not the most important factor—from category 1 to category 2, so the retailer will lose those sales. (We'll come back to this a little later.)
Vic Wertz wrote:
So the only question for the retailer, then, is whether the number of somewhat price sensitive customers who flee to the PDF is higher or lower than the number of previous non-buyers who now choose to buy the book. That's hard to estimate, but I can assure you that a smart retailer like Marcus has a pretty good chance of capturing potential customers inclined in his direction.

And the rest supporting it.

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?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
So then you can also get the cheap PDF without buying the book if you have a friend that owns the book, a library that has the book, a book store that has an internet cafe, a web browser on your cell phone...

Of course. And you can even get the PDF for free on file-sharing sites… People that are going to steal it will steal it anyway. But those honest people that have bought the book will have the opportunity to get the PDF with a discount.

Apress has been doing the promotion for at least a year and a half (I have the offer in a book published on Dec, 20th 2007) and they are still doing it. I guess they found the amount of customers pleased by the opportunity outweighed the number of people that were stealing the PDF using their iPhone in the book store.

(It might be worth noting that the offer is limited in time. On my book, it says "offer valid through 06/08".)

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Xuttah wrote:


If my local gas station convenience store or Walmart can do it for cell phones, why not a book store or FLGS for RPG's? The tech exists, all that is required is the will and leadership to do so. Paizo has repeatedly proven itself to be visionary and an industry leader, so could they be in this matter too.

see my post above about this method - it would require upgrades to the FLGS checkout systems and internet access at every FLGS.

Liberty's Edge

Cpt_kirstov wrote:


see my post above about this method - it would require upgrades to the FLGS checkout systems and internet access at every FLGS.

So, the reason that this idea won't work is because a handful of retailers are stuck in the 1970's? I don't accept that. Of the 5 game shops I deal with in my area, 4 of them have computer inventories and cash registers, debit transactions and access to the internet. The fifth is a cash only operation where I doubt they even file their taxes. You can bet that they'd want no part in selling "them new fangled electric books" anyways. Thier loss.

As I said, cooperation on the part of the game store would be required, but it's not that big an investment for most. Those that can't/won't would lose out, and customers who want digital copies of thier books would look elsewhere. All the big retailers already have the systems in place to market ebooks, so they'd be ready to go with a few bits of software sent to them. Welcome to the 21st century.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


It would be pretty easy for Paizo to make up "Free PDF download code" cards for merchants to keep behind the counter...
But then the card would have to make it from paizo, to the distributor, to the FLGS without being lost. Considering the amount of times i have seen D&D minis 'preorder a case and you can get this free' mini be lost by distributors, a card doesn't stand much of a chance.

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.

I know the technology is still a little way of, but what about RFID and enhanced reality technologies?


J JOES wrote:


"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?"

Oh well, someone hand me the silly stick. If all people are looking for is price, you can as well shut down the job and apply with amazon. Because amazon offers the very same product - not a pdf version, but the paper version - for a really nice price, and they offer convenient and free shipping to our doorsteps. All I have to do is put on some clothes (unless I wear clothes at my home) and go to the door and meet the mailman (or get the SMS and Email that something has arrived at my Parcel Station and pick it up on my way home from work). No hassle, no parking fee, no extra gas, nothing.

And PDFs already tend to be cheaper than print versions, so it doesn't really change the situation. It might put some people over the line, but it's not as if those sales were permanent.

If you're losing sales, it's not because PDFs are on sale. It's not (just) because people can get the stuff elsewhere for a good price and without much hassle.

It's because you whine instead of fighting back. Don't take it lying down. Don't bellyache over it, either, but give people a reason to choose your store over amazon (that's the real "enemy" here, since not everyone wants PDFs, or only PDFs). Offer a friendly atmosphere, a competent staff, half-decent prices that don't make us feel like we're taking a beating, and, ideally, strive to make your shop a social centre for the hobby. If they have good reason to be there, you suddenly have the convenience factor on your side again. People playing in the backroom and finding out how great book X is, or finding that they'd need book Y? Well, they'll just come to the shop area and buy it right off the shelf, for immediate use in their game. Amazon cannot do that.

J JOES wrote:


I and possibly many others, will be forced to reassess our decision to offer your products in our stores."

Yeah, of course. Wise choice. Limit your selection. Give people less reasons to come to your store.

Might as well just sell Magic cards.

shieldknight01 wrote:
My FLGS sells all gaming products at a 20% discount off the MSRP all the time.

Wow. Just wow. A discount? You mean going below the price printed?

I used to give my custom to a couple of online stores (that also had local stores on the other and of the country) because they were able to compete with the prices amazon.de could offer, and they also had free shipping (and were about as fast as amazon).

But the local store? I have a little story: My collection of 3e D&D stuff I want is almost complete - a lot of stuff went on sale on ebay and so on, and I figured stuff like Stormwrack was good for 10-15&#8364;, or, lately, getting 4 books for the price of one (basically a 3e going out of fashion sale) was swell.

I just miss Frostburn. Somehow it was never sold cheap on ebay, and when I got the 4for1 deal, the booth didn't have it.

The closest store has the book. The printed price for it is 34.95$ (not quite 27&#8364;). And they want 35&#8364; (46$). Not only is the book so old that I won't pay full price, I would never have payed so much for it.

Thus, they'll probably never sell a RPG book to me. I get my colours from there, some metal minis here and there, and other small stuff, but why pay so much? I wish I had the kind of money to support overpriced stuff for the sake of a dated business model, but I think I'll keep saving for the Porche before I do that (and I don't expect I'll ever get one)

Back in the day when I was still into DDM, I did get those at a semi-local store (not that the rest were closer at that time) up until almost the very end, because that store was willing to give discounts.

Liberty's Edge

I can say I would keep my subscriptions even if EVERY book Paizo puts out was available as a free PDF download (like the Beta book).


Coridan wrote:
I can say I would keep my subscriptions even if EVERY book Paizo puts out was available as a free PDF download (like the Beta book).

Same here. I want both formats.

It's so much more convenient. I also use both - and at the gaming table.

Yesterday/earlier today (yes, one of those "good thing we're done, it's getting light outside" sessions that lasted about 14 hours) we wrapped up Curse of the Crimson throne.

With stats for 1 GM-controlled PC, 15 enemies (with 5 different stat blocks) as well as three player-controlled PCs, a cohort, and a planar ally, and with lots of spells, buffs and hexes thrown about on both sides, I was happy to be able to choose between having the stats on paper, in a book, or on screen.

Liberty's Edge

KaeYoss wrote:
It's because you whine instead of fighting back. Don't take it lying down. Don't bellyache over it, either, but give people a reason to choose your store over amazon (that's the real "enemy" here, since not everyone wants PDFs, or only PDFs). Offer a friendly atmosphere, a competent staff, half-decent prices that don't make us feel like we're taking a beating, and, ideally, strive to make your shop a social centre for the hobby. If they have good reason to be there, you suddenly have the convenience factor on your side again. People playing in the backroom and finding out how great book X is, or finding that they'd need book Y? Well, they'll just come to the shop area and buy it right off the shelf, for immediate use in their game. Amazon cannot do that.

If you give it a look, that is what WotC's new retailer program, "coincidentally" starting the same day as they withdrew pdf sales, focuses on doing. Only retailers with physical locations can sign up for it, those who sell online only are excluded.

It would seem both a major supplier and retailers are asking the same questions about why to stock certain products and how everything affects retail sales. That the result of such questioning may be even greater WotC domination of shelf space in such stores, and thus greater access to new gamers, would be a consequence of such questioning is something other publishers might want to consider as you suggest those retail stores consider things.

Contributor

Vic Wertz wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:


It would be pretty easy for Paizo to make up "Free PDF download code" cards for merchants to keep behind the counter...
But then the card would have to make it from paizo, to the distributor, to the FLGS without being lost. Considering the amount of times i have seen D&D minis 'preorder a case and you can get this free' mini be lost by distributors, a card doesn't stand much of a chance.

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.

Well, that's why I was calling it the "perfume counter" model: not all stores have them, some run out, some products don't come with them, and sometimes clerks throw in some freebie leftover from a previous promotion.

I may miss my guess here, but I'm pretty sure that the companies send enough extra that that the clerks can all snag one for themselves as well if they want. But they're the incentive for paying full department store prices rather than going to discount perfume barn. ie. FLGS rather than Amazon.

Admittedly it's not a perfect solution, but it is a business model that's in place and apparently functioning at some level otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it.


Samuel Weiss wrote:


Only retailers with physical locations can sign up for it, those who sell online only are excluded.

Yeah, but I bet this doesn't include Amazon. You just don't deny something of Amazon's calibre anything. Beyond the fact that this would really be a blow to wizards' profits (not to mention the hobby), they might get it into their head to do play tantrum child.

Plus, if this comes to a head, and local gaming stores only sell 4e, while amazon sells anything but 4e - do you really think that would be a situation desirable to wizards?

I think wizards and 4e can only lose: Seems to me that those stores who would stop selling the stuff of the companies that were supporting PDFs are usually stores that aren't that well-run, anyway (or they'd know that Amazon is more dangerous to them than PDFs, and they themselves are more dangerous than both combined), so with less versatility, their situation can only get worse.

Other stores would probably do better - because of a better selection, and because they're just better at what they do - and people might come to associate 4e with those crappy stores, while other games are what you get from better stores - or online for your convenience, with great prices, from amazon.


Part of Wizards press release also mentioned that they are looking into Kindle and other e-reader releases of their products. So, Amazon ain't out by far.


varianor wrote:
Part of Wizards press release also mentioned that they are looking into Kindle and other e-reader releases of their products. So, Amazon ain't out by far.

Only if they want to get out of books and go all kindle. Which they won't.

And I could see Amazon saying: "You don't let us sell your print books, we won't let you sell files for our Kindle."


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.)

Liberty's Edge

KaeYoss wrote:
... I could see Amazon saying: "You don't let us sell your print books, we won't let you sell files for our Kindle."

Anyone can sell digital downloads for Kindle--I could literally make a compendium of all my grocery lists for a year and upload it to Amazon as a Kindle release. It's a simple digital contract that I highly suspect no one at Amazon actually reads.


hogarth wrote:

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.)

Why doesn't Paizo release pdf sales when the subscription editions go out, instead of waiting until the non-subscription hard copies go out?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Samuel Weiss wrote:

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?

You're confusing issues here. We do believe that reasonably priced PDFs don't have a significant impact on sales of the print edition.

However, that doesn't mean we want to give away the PDF to people who haven't purchased the book—we do count on sales of the PDF edition, so doing things that let people get it for free is not in our best interest... unless we do in it such a way that makes it a reward for people who purchased the book. In that case, we may think it's worth it.

Also, we do believe that a PDF only-subscription would harm sales of the regular subscription. That doesn't contradict anything I've said before—subscriptions are a different animal.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Xuttah wrote:
Cpt_kirstov wrote:


see my post above about this method - it would require upgrades to the FLGS checkout systems and internet access at every FLGS.

So, the reason that this idea won't work is because a handful of retailers are stuck in the 1970's? I don't accept that. Of the 5 game shops I deal with in my area, 4 of them have computer inventories and cash registers, debit transactions and access to the internet. The fifth is a cash only operation where I doubt they even file their taxes. You can bet that they'd want no part in selling "them new fangled electric books" anyways. Thier loss.

As I said, cooperation on the part of the game store would be required, but it's not that big an investment for most. Those that can't/won't would lose out, and customers who want digital copies of thier books would look elsewhere. All the big retailers already have the systems in place to market ebooks, so they'd be ready to go with a few bits of software sent to them. Welcome to the 21st century.

I answered this already:

Vic Wertz wrote:

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.

It's not about the technology, it's about the people.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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.)

It's actually pretty clear that somebody who would buy a PDF-only subscription would not generally be buying the print editions. After all, if they wanted to do that, they would buy the regular subscription, especially if the only difference in price were the cost of shipping.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

pres man wrote:
hogarth wrote:

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.)

Why doesn't Paizo release pdf sales when the subscription editions go out, instead of waiting until the non-subscription hard copies go out?

That's another concession we make to our retailers—they don't generally want us delivering products to customers before they have copies to sell. Thus, non-subscribers can't generally get the product from us until about the time it's also available at retail.


Vic Wertz wrote:
pres man wrote:
hogarth wrote:

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.)

Why doesn't Paizo release pdf sales when the subscription editions go out, instead of waiting until the non-subscription hard copies go out?
That's another concession we make to our retailers—they don't generally want us delivering products to customers before they have copies to sell. Thus, non-subscribers can't generally get the product from us until about the time it's also available at retail.

Why should that be an issue, whether they buy the pdf first or the book first?


Vic Wertz wrote:


It's actually pretty clear that somebody who would buy a PDF-only subscription would not generally be buying the print editions. After all, if they wanted to do that, they would buy the regular subscription, especially if the only difference in price were the cost of shipping.

The bit that I'm having some trouble rationalizing are these two ideas:

"Low-cost PDFs don't hurt sales of physical books."

and

"Low-cost PDF subscriptions do hurt sales of physical book subscriptions."

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
hogarth wrote:


The bit that I'm having some trouble rationalizing are these two ideas:

"Low-cost PDFs don't hurt sales of physical books."

and

"Low-cost PDF subscriptions do hurt sales of physical book subscriptions."

If you want a single book, you're more likly to want it one way or the other, and know which one before you buy it. For subscriptions, though, you do not know if you want the item in one or the other, therefore you are more likly to buy a PDF version, cheaper, and you don't have to find room to store the books that you don't want.

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:
It's not about the technology, it's about the people.

Gotta ask if your reps have actually talked to the game store owners about it or not. It's one thing to say that you're convinced it's not a winning venture because that's what the research and feedback says, and another just to dismiss the idea because you assume that there wouldn't be enough willing/trustworthy participants to make it work.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

pres man wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
pres man wrote:
hogarth wrote:

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.)

Why doesn't Paizo release pdf sales when the subscription editions go out, instead of waiting until the non-subscription hard copies go out?
That's another concession we make to our retailers—they don't generally want us delivering products to customers before they have copies to sell. Thus, non-subscribers can't generally get the product from us until about the time it's also available at retail.
Why should that be an issue, whether they buy the pdf first or the book first?

Some people value immediate gratification, and the retailer wants a reasonable chance to give first access. I suppose it's the same reason you (usually) can't buy a song on the iTunes store until the CD has been released at retail.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Xuttah wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
It's not about the technology, it's about the people.
Gotta ask if your reps have actually talked to the game store owners about it or not. It's one thing to say that you're convinced it's not a winning venture because that's what the research and feedback says, and another just to dismiss the idea because you assume that there wouldn't be enough willing/trustworthy participants to make it work.

We haven't tried that particular promotion, no, but previous attempts to do promotions that involve additional effort at the retail level (by us and by others in the industry) have been less than successful. Some retailers are great about it, but many—perhaps even most—are not.


I don't understand what the big deal is about a pdf sub anyway. Can't you just log on once a month, buy the next pdf, dl it then bam you're done?


My old FLGS back home in Ashland, KY (The Danzig Corridor) had a unique method of keeping us coming back to his store to buy from him.

He had a HUGE store but he only stocked Warhammer Fantasy/40K, some CCG's and a few basic RPG items (core rulebooks and such). The rest of the store was dedicated to playing space and he ran tournaments and game days every week. If he didn't have something stocked you could order it at 25% off.

That kept his overhead down and made room for active players in the store. Sure, he lost the money from impulse buyers but the rest of us knew what books were coming out and bought in bulk. Man I miss that store...


blope wrote:
I don't understand what the big deal is about a pdf sub anyway. Can't you just log on once a month, buy the next pdf, dl it then bam you're done?

The same could be said about the print subscription.

Log in once a month, order the next volume, and bam. You're done.

However, Paizo tacked on incentives for the print subscriptions. Not to mention the ease of not having to remember to log in for the next issue.
The end result is that people who don't want a print subscription (usually do to shipping costs) want what the print subscribers get.

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:

You're confusing issues here. We do believe that reasonably priced PDFs don't have a significant impact on sales of the print edition.

However, that doesn't mean we want to give away the PDF to people who haven't purchased the book—we do count on sales of the PDF edition, so doing things that let people get it for free is not in our best interest... unless we do in it such a way that makes it a reward for people who purchased the book. In that case, we may think it's worth it.

Also, we do believe that a PDF only-subscription would harm sales of the regular subscription. That doesn't contradict anything I've said before—subscriptions are a different animal.

Perhaps not directly, but once again:

Vic Wertz wrote:

So the only question for the retailer, then, is whether the number of somewhat price sensitive customers who flee to the PDF is higher or lower than the number of previous non-buyers who now choose to buy the book. That's hard to estimate, but I can assure you that a smart retailer like Marcus has a pretty good chance of capturing potential customers inclined in his direction.

Personally, I feel pretty confident that our products are high enough quality that many of the people being exposed to them via sale-priced PDFs will indeed go on to choose to pick up a print copy at a brick-and-mortar retailer. I feel that the number of people who are price-sensitive enough that they now choose to buy only the sale-priced PDF instead of the full-priced book is the smaller number here, and that's borne out to the extreme by the fact that we gave out a FREE PDF of our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beta to everyone who wanted one, yet we still sold out the entire print run in just a couple of months.

So it [cheap or even free pdfs] is actually good for general retail sales but somehow the exact opposite for the specific model of subscriptions.

And let me highlight that the part about "or even free" does directly contradict your stated desire to not want to give away the pdf for free to people who have not purchased the book. Indeed you make a point of giving away the Beta, and you point out all the free pdfs Paizo offers in the pdf sale notice.

So somehow easily available pdfs have a negative effect on discounted physical sales with free pdfs as a bonus but not on full price retail sales?
Assuming that is true it would more likely suggest that offering subscriptions is a negative producer for the company through a combination of maintaining them and the drag it produces on improved pdf sales and the consequent drag on improved physical book sales.

Except:

Vic Wertz wrote:
It's actually pretty clear that somebody who would buy a PDF-only subscription would not generally be buying the print editions. After all, if they wanted to do that, they would buy the regular subscription, especially if the only difference in price were the cost of shipping.

So then it should not negatively impact physical books sales to any relevant degree, and based on the potential of attracting new customers who would want a physical copy should actually enhance such sales in the long run.


blope wrote:
I don't understand what the big deal is about a pdf sub anyway. Can't you just log on once a month, buy the next pdf, dl it then bam you're done?

The point was that Paizo sent around a mail asking folks to subscribe; subscriptions are nice because they allow Paizo to forecast future cashflows (among other things). But then they stated that they couldn't lower the price of a PDF subscription because it would compete with a physical product subscription. And now they are, in fact, reducing prices on PDFs (temporarily) and claiming that it doesn't compete with physical products. I'm still not clear why subscriptions are a special case (I don't think they are, in fact).

Jon Brazer Enterprises

pres man wrote:
Why should that be an issue, whether they buy the pdf first or the book first?

If anything, this thread should prove that it is an issue. 2 game store owners writing articles on the net basickly saying, "You publishers are abandoning us and promoting PDFs." It is obvious that game store owners view PDFs as a thread, whether it is real or simply imagined. If making a concession like releasing the PDF after releasing the physical product in stores makes game store owners happy, then its a good thing.

Jon Brazer Enterprises

You know what, I just figured out why I was annoyed at the start of this thread (and still am annoyed).
Events Recap
Wizards halts sale of PDFs.
White Wolf, Green Ronin, and Paizo took an active roll in courting new customers by making their products available at a reduced price.
Game store owners ... complained because someone else was taking an active roll.

I will admit, I do not have the full story, but they did not volunteer any details of how they tried to court customers by offering a sale on Wizards products. I mean if I was a PDF only customer and now only had to rely on physical products for future releases, my first stop: Amazon (or maybe Paizo). But if the LGS tried to have a promotion of their own, I'd go to them. If I were a game store owner and I saw a medium that I preceived as a threat offering a sale, I'd offer one as well, and I'd email every customer on my database of regular customers that I am having a sale right away.

If I were a 4e player, which would be more valuable to me: a 35% off sale off 3E PDF products or a 15% off sale of 4E physical products that are no longer available in PDF?

Dark Archive

Just as a something. Paizo could sell PDF's threw B&M stores. But it would take selling them like game cards for MMORPG's. You know the ones where you buy online time at the store. It is like a credit card with a number on it that you enter in. That give you the time in the game.

Paizo could do the same thing sell the cards to the stores. Of the problems with that are.

1) How many would go to the store to buy the card when they could just buy it online and not have to drive anywhere?

2) It would raise the overhead on the books as a new product would have to be made the little PDF cards. Not sure how much something like that would cost.

But paizo would get the money once they sell the card regardless what later happens to said card. It would let B&M sell PDF's.

Not sure it would help or even be a good idea but just tossing that out as a way it could be done.

Liberty's Edge

Vic Wertz wrote:


We haven't tried that particular promotion, no, but previous attempts to do promotions that involve additional effort at the retail level (by us and by others in the industry) have been less than successful. Some retailers are great about it, but many—perhaps even most—are not.

I may not agree with this policy, but I respect it and appreciate the honesty and openness. That's the great thing about your company and why you have my custom. That, and y'know, the really awesome products. ;)


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.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
hogarth wrote:

The bit that I'm having some trouble rationalizing are these two ideas:

"Low-cost PDFs don't hurt sales of physical books."

and

"Low-cost PDF subscriptions do hurt sales of physical book subscriptions."

Then think about it this way:

Low cost PDFs don't hurt the sales of physical books already printed.

Low-cost PDF subscriptions lower sales projections of physical books in the subscription, leading to smaller print runs and higher per-unit costs.

Grand Lodge

Personally I have to laugh at the store owners asking for price break at all.

Using that logic, Paizon, Green Ronin and White Wolf should get a cut of the action of any secondary product a game picks up and buys at the same time he purchaces one of thier products. After all it was the advertising of thier products that brought them into the store for those products... right. (Yea I Know this is a BS arguement, but i give this as much weight as I do the PDF arguements.)

I honestly don't think that game shops can sustain themselves on just low costs. It's about value added benefits. Can I game at the store, can I find other gamers there? Will you special order for me. Are the people who work there friendly? Knowlegeable? Do you do special events.

If you can't get them to come back, it doesn't matter how cheap it will be.


Bill Dunn wrote:

Then think about it this way:

#1 Low cost PDFs don't hurt the sales of physical books already printed.

#2 Low-cost PDF subscriptions lower sales projections of physical books in the subscription, leading to smaller print runs and higher per-unit costs.

Assuming #2 is true, why would #1 not be true? I still haven't heard an argument more convincing than "Subscriptions are different".

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:

Then think about it this way:

#1 Low cost PDFs don't hurt the sales of physical books already printed.

#2 Low-cost PDF subscriptions lower sales projections of physical books in the subscription, leading to smaller print runs and higher per-unit costs.

Assuming #2 is true, why would #1 not be true? I still haven't heard an argument more convincing than "Subscriptions are different".

But "Subscriptions are different" is the answer. Paizo uses the subscriptions and preorders to tell how much of a need there is for a particular product. If they opened a PDF only subscription, that would:

lower the number of people subscribing/preordering the print subscription

which would in tern make the per unit to print go up

which would in turn make the final product price go up

which would in turn make more people turn away from the subscriptions at all.

This is a vicious cycle that would result in Paizo joining the PDF only publishers, and with the outcry against DDI on these boards, that is not what their audience wants.

For people picking up a random PDF here and there, this isn't a problem, as they are not included as completely in the antilogarithm to predict how many copies to print. Yes they play a part, but so does the postal service dropping shipments in puddles.

The Exchange

Sigh what this thread really needs is a new Smurf!


Cpt_kirstov wrote:


But "Subscriptions are different" is the answer. Paizo uses the subscriptions and preorders to tell how much of a need there is for a particular product.

I would assume (at least I would hope!) that they also use historical game store orders (& returns?) to predict how much of a need there is for a particular product. So if game stores are selling fewer copies, that should cause them to print fewer copies as well.

Liberty's Edge

Cpt_kirstov wrote:
But "Subscriptions are different" is the answer.

It is an answer.

But is it the reality?

Cpt_kirstov wrote:

Paizo uses the subscriptions and preorders to tell how much of a need there is for a particular product. If they opened a PDF only subscription, that would:

lower the number of people subscribing/preordering the print subscription

No, it might do those things.

Then again, it might not.

Since we are assured that easier access to pdfs, which includes them being at a lower price, actively increases demand for the print product, it seems more likely that more people will quickly upgrade their pdf subscriptions or subsequently order the print products.

At most it suggests a short term drop in physical product pre-orders which will be more than offset by an immediate rise in pdf pre-orders. That is followed by a presumed long term rise in pre-orders of both as well as spot purchases of pdfs.
Against that is placed a corporate preference for print products, apparently despite the financial superiority of pdf products, along with an asserted fear of short term shortfalls despite equal assertions of increased sales.
Does that sound familiar?


I think in the thread where people said they wanted to get pdf only subscriptions, many indicated that they could actually get the print product fairly cheap in their own locations, the cost of shipping was a major concern for many (they could get the print product cheaper through amazon for example). Thus the argument that a pdf subscription might decrease the number of hard copies might have been at least partially in error. It might, but there was no absolute that would happen.

Liberty's Edge

pres man wrote:
I think in the thread where people said they wanted to get pdf only subscriptions, many indicated that they could actually get the print product fairly cheap in their own locations, the cost of shipping was a major concern for many (they could get the print product cheaper through amazon for example). Thus the argument that a pdf subscription might decrease the number of hard copies might have been at least partially in error. It might, but there was no absolute that would happen.

The last purchase I made from Paizo was based on the fact that my local FLGS (who does stock Paizo products) didn't have the titles I wanted in stock. They've had to reduce inventory because the products are not selling that well right now. It would take longer for them to get it that it would for me to order from Paizo directly, and I was able to purchase a pdf version for immediate download too. A great product indeed, but I feel sad that my FLGS didn't profit from the transaction.

Now, imagine my joy if I had been able to go to my fully stocked FLGS and buy the copy of the product I wanted from them (thus supporting my local hobby supplier) and then being able to log on to Paizo and being able to get a digital copy (or maybe some enhanced content like players maps or encounter flash cards)for free.

Value added services like that are great and often lead to additional sales/impulse buys as well. Even a discount on the pdf purchase would be incentive enough to visit the Paizo store and my FLGS. That way, both get my hard earned buck.

Just IMO...I've aready said I'm nuts. ;)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:

Then think about it this way:

#1 Low cost PDFs don't hurt the sales of physical books already printed.

#2 Low-cost PDF subscriptions lower sales projections of physical books in the subscription, leading to smaller print runs and higher per-unit costs.

Assuming #2 is true, why would #1 not be true? I still haven't heard an argument more convincing than "Subscriptions are different".

Assuming #2 were true, why would it be related at all to #1? It wouldn't necessarily be related at all.

But if we're not seeing, or at least not being able to prove, that low cost PDFs are hurting the sale of physical books, then #1 is a reasonable assumption.

As far as #2 being true, since I derived it from Erik Mona's comments quoted earlier in the thread, I'm willing to assume that he's not feeding us a line and that lower sales expectations based on competing subscription models would tend to suppress the size of their print runs, raise per-unit costs, and, assuming they didn't do lots of reprints, ultimately lead to fewer units sold.


Matthew Morris wrote:
My FLGS (well my Friendly Across Town Gaming Store, since I prefer the Guardtower over Ravenstone) accepts that I'll buy my Pathdiner stuff via Paizo, but most of my other stuff comes from there.

Cool, another person who likes the Guardtower. :^)

I live over on the West side, so the drive isn't as bad.

I haven't been in Ravenstone recently - what is it like these days?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

CaptainTrips wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
My FLGS (well my Friendly Across Town Gaming Store, since I prefer the Guardtower over Ravenstone) accepts that I'll buy my Pathdiner stuff via Paizo, but most of my other stuff comes from there.

Cool, another person who likes the Guardtower. :^)

I live over on the West side, so the drive isn't as bad.

I haven't been in Ravenstone recently - what is it like these days?

Clean, bright, full of Warhammer and 4x stuff. I just find the Guardtower more friendly, and more diverse.

Oh, and most of the guys there appriciate talking the business side of things, so we can talk about stuff I learn on the net, and what they hear

The Exchange

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

As guy who buys mostly from my FLGS, I have also a huge collection of PDF's. Most of these are book my FLGS can't get from a distributor cause they are out. I truly only turn to amazon when I can not find a book anywhere, and most of those are hard to find graphic novels.

Hell Paizo, White Wolf, Green Ronin and every other gaming company could offer a PDF sale or PDF discount and it would not change my buying habits at all because my FLGS wants my business and it shows in the way they do business. I am sorry if the keep is hurting but so are lots of niche market companies.

51 to 100 of 198 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Paizo / Website Feedback / PDF sales effect on gaming store owners All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.