Torn Between Subscriptions and Supporting my FLGS


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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Krome wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:
Alizor wrote:
Personally, I really think would be the best way to run it. It would work for Paizo almost 100% like their normal subscription method, except that both the product and PDF email would be shipped to the store owner. When the Store owner receives the email he can distribute the email to his own "subscribers."
Then you bypass the distributors, who probably won't like that.

Actually you don't bypass the distributors at all. This is for PDF only products, which the distributors do not carry anyway. For the printed versions the distributor is already carrying it.

So in essence the printed copies go through regular channels. For PDFs there is an added mechanic to distribute via stores. This would be an all new approach, and one that does not affect the printed distribution chain at all.

One thing I failed to mention in my post above—when I was talking about splitting costs, I was assuming a direct sales model—that the only parties involved were Paizo and the retailer. (By the way, the revenue splitting is actually more complicated than I made out, because I didn't factor in the cost of shipping that book to the retailer—in reality, we'd probably require the retailer to pay for shipping the books to them unless they met a minimum order size, in which case we'd pay it... but either way, shipping costs would be variable based on the number of books, and stores without a lot of subscribers would make less per copy than stores with more. But either way, that shipping cost reduces the margin for *someone* by a non-negligible amount.)

If we attempted to do retail subs while maintaining the existing distributor relationship, the options actually get much simpler (though not any more attractive)—the retailer has already paid $10 for the book from distribution, and we've already taken our $8 cut from the distributor's payment... so the obvious split would involve us remitting the entire price charged, less credit card fees, to the retailer... meaning the retailer would earn around $3.50 after paying the distributor.

Another thing I didn't mention above is sales tax. I'm sure many customers have considered that a retail subscription means they don't pay a shipping fee—but in most states, they'd have to pay sales tax. Which means that, as the ones accepting the payment, we'd then have to collect that sales tax, which means we'd have to know what the appropriate tax rate is for every retailer in the program and charge accordingly. (Currently, we only collect tax for Washington state shipments, and it's far simpler.) And then we'd have to remit that tax to the retailer so he can pay his state, and the bookkeeping on that would be really fun on both ends.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
houstonderek wrote:
The thing I like about Paizo? dude took that much time out of his day to explain their reason, and didn't just say "because we said so" like 99% of any kind of company would do.

Yep. Transparency in commerce. Paizo's cutting edge.

The Exchange

Vic Wertz wrote:
Another thing I didn't mention above is sales tax. I'm sure many customers have considered that a retail subscription means they don't pay a shipping fee—but in most states, they'd have to pay sales tax. Which means that, as the ones accepting the payment, we'd then have to collect that sales tax, which means we'd have to know what the appropriate tax rate is for every retailer in the program and charge accordingly. (Currently, we only collect tax for Washington state shipments, and it's far simpler.) And then we'd have to remit that tax to the retailer so he can pay his state, and the bookkeeping on that would be really fun on both ends.

And there is the city and possibly county sales tax on top of the state sales tax.

Not to drive this in a different direction, but...
Technically, everyone is supposed to pay their own sales tax. Not paying sales tax on the internet is something that has gone on for years, and many states are looking at different ways to gather those lost sales taxes. In my state alone, they predict that the amount of tax revenue lost is in the millions. And that's little ole South Dakota.
EDIT: There is even a state tax form you are supposed to fill out when filing your taxes every year that is just for your internet sales tax. Not that anyone actually does this.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Wow, that really explains it rather well! It really would be a loose/loose situation for everyone if you did it that way.


Tambryn wrote:
Shieldknight wrote:

I subscribe to the things I want a PDF for, the rest I buy from my FLGS. I also buy all my accessories from my FLGS, like dice, mini's, other fantasy/sci-fi novels, etc. I also buy all my comics and board games from my FLGS. They carry a very large variety of board games, ones that even my non-gaming wife loves to play. Recently I picked up Settlers of Catan and the family loves it. I have already placed an order for the expansion for 5-6 players. I mostly play PFS so all those purchases are pdf only, but I have picked up the module "The Godsmouth Heresy" as a pdf from Paizo, but will buy the hard copy from my FLGS. And probably do the same for future module purchases.

I think you have to pick and choose what works best for you. For me, since my FLGS is over an hours drive away and I don't get to it more often then once every two or three months, I purchase my core stuff through subscription. The rest I'll pick up as needed from my FLGS. Of course it doesn't hurt that my FLGS gives a 20% discount on all RPG purchases. Including accessories. (Which, sorry Paizo, is better than the AP discount, and I don't have to pay shipping.) They are also the local used book store, hobby store and sell exotic fish, so they get business from more than just gamers. But none of those customers get the 20% discount. :-p

I do wish there was some way that you could at least get a discount, say 75% or 50% off the pdf when you purchase a hard copy from your FLGS. I'm not in sales or computer software, so I don't know how to make this work. But it would definitely get me to purchase more of the non-core products.

Physical copies could have a download coupon code in them that gave you a discount when purchasing the PDF from Paizo.com. This would also guarantee that all downloads continue to be watermarked. Or maybe the download coupon is separate and the store owner/operator gives it out with the book. This would ensure that unscrupulous people didn't just write the codes down...

If the retailer had download coupons they could hand-out with sales, that would work well. Something that wasn't printed in the back of the book. People who didn't want the PDF could not take the coupon and then the store could use them as raffle items or frequent buyer rewards for instance.


This is only tangentally related to the discussion at hand, but I think you'd sell more stuff to me personally if there was some kind of bidirectional discount synergy between buying book X and then later buying the PDF of book X, or vice versa.

I get that a form of this is a big part of the subscription draw, and I also get why you wouldn't want to cheapen that, but the subscription model (especially for APs -- I'm at least as likely to play them as GM them, and I'm the kind of person where if I get something like that, I'm going to read it) doesn't work out that well for me.

The Exchange

TO: Vic Wertz and the Paizo staff.

Thank you for replying to this thread with a very thorough explanation of the issues when dealing with pdfs and subscriptions.

As for the original topic of this thread, what would you reasonably suggest. I understand that the more subscribers Paizo has, the more money Paizo will make, and the more product we the consumers will have available. However, without a lot of these FLGS's there would probably be much fewer consumers in the RPG industry. So as a consumer who desires to get the most bang for my buck, but yet wishes to support my FLGS to keep gaming alive in my community, what should I do?

Is there a reasonable balance between buying directly from Paizo and buying from my local FLGS?

I've already stated in a previous post what I do, but my situation isn't that same as everyone else.


houstonderek wrote:
The thing I like about Paizo? dude took that much time out of his day to explain their reason, and didn't just say "because we said so" like 99% of any kind of company would do.

I've never seen a post from Vic that wasn't useful and informative. Even the jokey ones!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Shieldknight wrote:

...So as a consumer who desires to get the most bang for my buck, but yet wishes to support my FLGS to keep gaming alive in my community, what should I do?

Is there a reasonable balance between buying directly from Paizo and buying from my local FLGS?

I've already stated in a previous post what I do, but my situation isn't that same as everyone else.

And I think that's the only answer I can really give you—do what you think makes the most sense for you in your situation. Like I said in my long post, we can survive losing a small number of subscribers to retail sales, and we completely understand it when people choose that. It's a small hurt to us, but a big boon to those retailers. (But we're not going to actively make decisions that would encourage a lot of small hurts, as they eventually add up into a big hurt.)

That's part of why I dumped so much information in that post—not just so you know why we don't offer subscriptions through retail, but because if you understand the economics of your decision, you can make a better decision for yourself.

To be even more explicit about that, here are the ramifications of canceling your AP subscription and choosing to buy at retail instead:

Assuming your retailer is charging cover price, you'll pay $6 more than before.
Assuming your retailer is charging cover price, he'll make $10 he didn't make before.
Your retailer's distributor will make $2 they didn't make before.
Paizo will make $6 less than before.
You won't get a free PDF. (If you buy one from us, Paizo will make $7.99 more than before, but you'll then be paying a total of $19.99 more than you did before.)
You won't get the Pathfinder Advantage.
You won't pay shipping costs.
You will pay sales tax (where applicable—and if you live in Washington State, we already charged that, so it would be a wash).

Here are the ramifications of canceling any of our non-discounted subscriptions and choosing to buy at retail instead:
Assuming your retailer is charging cover price, you'll pay the same as before.
Assuming your retailer is charging cover price, he'll make 50% of the cover price that he didn't make before.
Your retailer's distributor will make 10% of the cover price they didn't make before.
Paizo will make 60% of the cover price less than before.
You won't get a free PDF. (If you buy one from us, Paizo will make 10% more than before, but you'll be paying 70% more than you did before.)
You won't pay shipping costs.
You will pay sales tax (where applicable—and if you live in Washington State, we already charged that, so it would be a wash).

Scarab Sages

archmagi1 wrote:
Tambryn wrote:

That's weird, I have actually heard really good things about Conway's gaming community. I was just told the other day that Conway had a game store. I will ask around and get back to you.

Tam

Well there is Conway Gaming Center, but their website doesn't seem to be promoting much pen and paper gaming at all (they're primarily a LAN site, though they do have a d20 on their logo, right next to the xbox), and they're an 'it costs money to be inside the building' location, so dropping by and hangout is something I have ventured to do yet.

I live in the Conway area as well(Greenbrier), and I can tell you that they carry RPG stuff there. Lots of Warhammer and 4th edition stuff, and this-and-that of PF. They definitely had the Core Book, and I remember seeing Classic Treasures revisited as well.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Vic Wertz wrote:
The bottom line is that the notion of supporting the local retailer is great, but I just don't think retail subscriptions are the way to do it—I think that there's no winning scenario that makes sense to everyone there. We want our interactions with retailers to involve higher rewards and less risk of problems—things that will be more clearly "win-wins." Things like Pathfinder Society, and Free RPG Day promotions, and other retailer-oriented projects in the works that we're not talking about just yet. That's where we need to focus our efforts for now.

As someone who doesn't live in the USA and lives in a (comparatively) small city, I know that ordering through my FLGS is a costly and slow process.

Considering the current closeness of the Australian and US dollars, here is a comparison of what I am paying for an issue.

AP: Retail= $US20 FLGS= $AUS35-40
Campaign Setting: Retail= $US20 FLGS= $AUS35-40
Module: Retail= $US14 FLGS= $AUS22-28
Companion: Retail= $US11 FLGS= $AUS20-25
Gamemstery Cards: Retail= $US11 FLGS= $AUS20-25

Then we come to the issue of when I actually receive the product.
General rule is anywhere from 1-2 months after the street release date. In the beginnning, the Core Pathfinder lines (Core Rulebook and Bestiary) came out on time or within a week of release, but later releses have been back to the regular schedule (eg. GMG 1 month late, APG almost 3 months late and to date I still don't have my Bestiary 2). All of this is even though I have a standing order that I put in months in advance and so all of my stuff is pre-ordered.

I currently get my APs and Tales as a Sub through paizo, but all of my other lines through my FLGS. If I had the steady cash to be able to make sure I had money for everything in my account each month I would without hesitation switch back to Subs for everything (I was a Charter Subscriber) but at this stage I just can't and coupled with the fact that my FLGS will hold stuff for a week or two until I can afford it, or there is the option of a 2 month layby if I really get stuck, means that for the forseeable future I have to put up with paying more and getting my products months late.

As to my highlighted text above: My FLGS might support PFS if I asked them, but I don't think the turnout would be big enough for them to bother, so it's not a huge issue. However Free RPG Day and other incentives simply aren't any kind of draw for me as 1) my FLGS doesn't get anything like that in for anyone but WotC and 2) I would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of stores in Australia who would do the numbers to even consider any kind of incentive deal (including Free RPG Day, although I know you guys have no control over that), which means I still have to buy anything like that from you guys anyway (eg. Free RPG Day products and Posters).

I know your major consumer base is in the US, but there are issues that make it hard for people in other countries to support buying from a FLGS as opposed to buying direct from Paizo.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

flash_cxxi wrote:
I know your major consumer base is in the US, but there are issues that make it hard for people in other countries to support buying from a FLGS as opposed to buying direct from Paizo.

True, but I know you've also seen comments from international customers who have decided that international shipping costs and/or customs duties make it hard to support buying from Paizo instead of their FLGS.

We recognize that everybody's situation is different, and that's why we try to be as flexible as we can, within reason.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

As a solution for those wanting to support their FLGS and are thus willing to pay full cover price for a Paizo product, why not get a subscription through Paizo but then 'donate' the subscription saving to the FLGS? You can do this by paying some 'rent' for using the gaming tables or any other excuse you can think of to get the difference between Paizo's subscription price and the full cover price into the FLGS' hands.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

I have my subscriptions but try and still shop for other items at the local store. For example I plan on getting a small world expansion soon, as well as the new rogue trader adventure. I will probably pick them up at my FLGS. Harder to get items I tend to add to my subscription shipments, like Open Designs new Courts of the Shadow Fey adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I have to REALLY thank you for such transparency, Vic. That's... unheard of. Paizo being all classy. Again.

That's all I have to contribute beyond what I've already said early in this thread.


Vic Wertz wrote:
flash_cxxi wrote:
I know your major consumer base is in the US, but there are issues that make it hard for people in other countries to support buying from a FLGS as opposed to buying direct from Paizo.

True, but I know you've also seen comments from international customers who have decided that international shipping costs and/or customs duties make it hard to support buying from Paizo instead of their FLGS.

We recognize that everybody's situation is different, and that's why we try to be as flexible as we can, within reason.

I am in the same situation as Flash... Is there a way to pay subscriptions in advance?

The way I am paid if have a bit of free cash every 6 months or so... the rest of the year its a juggling act. If I want to go to a show, see a band then its no RPG stuff for that month.

If I could I would pay a years or 6 months worth straight up probably for the Campaign setting and Companion lines.

I can see the difficulties in factoring in shipping costs and variations in product costs for the year.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
flash_cxxi wrote:
I know your major consumer base is in the US, but there are issues that make it hard for people in other countries to support buying from a FLGS as opposed to buying direct from Paizo.

True, but I know you've also seen comments from international customers who have decided that international shipping costs and/or customs duties make it hard to support buying from Paizo instead of their FLGS.

We recognize that everybody's situation is different, and that's why we try to be as flexible as we can, within reason.

I am in the same situation as Flash... Is there a way to pay subscriptions in advance?

The way I am paid if have a bit of free cash every 6 months or so... the rest of the year its a juggling act. If I want to go to a show, see a band then its no RPG stuff for that month.

If I could I would pay a years or 6 months worth straight up probably for the Campaign setting and Companion lines.

I can see the difficulties in factoring in shipping costs and variations in product costs for the year.

You could buy yourself a gift certificate, perhaps?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I can see the difficulties in factoring in shipping costs and variations in product costs for the year.

That's part of the reason. The other is that prepaying means limited-duration subscriptions, which is something we used to do with Dragon and Dungeon... and we're never, ever going back to that model. Managing renewals is painful, inefficient, and costly—it's *so* much worse in every way than you might think. Paizo has made a lot of smart decisions, but the decision to move exclusively to our current ongoing subscription model is among the very best of them.

Steve Geddes wrote:
You could buy yourself a gift certificate, perhaps?

Gift certificates can't be used on subs, for related reasons.

I'd suggest the best option here is to put your money into a prepaid credit card, and use that card only for your subscription. When the prepaid balance drops low enough that it doesn't cover the next shipment, you'll get emails about your card being declined, and then you'll know to top it up.


Vic Wertz wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I can see the difficulties in factoring in shipping costs and variations in product costs for the year.

That's part of the reason. The other is that prepaying means limited-duration subscriptions, which is something we used to do with Dragon and Dungeon... and we're never, ever going back to that model. Managing renewals is painful, inefficient, and costly—it's *so* much worse in every way than you might think. Paizo has made a lot of smart decisions, but the decision to move exclusively to our current ongoing subscription model is among the very best of them.

Steve Geddes wrote:
You could buy yourself a gift certificate, perhaps?

Gift certificates can't be used on subs, for related reasons.

I'd suggest the best option here is to put your money into a prepaid credit card, and use that card only for your subscription. When the prepaid balance drops low enough that it doesn't cover the next shipment, you'll get emails about your card being declined, and then you'll know to top it up.

Thanks Vic that is probably the best way. I will look into it :-)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I can see the difficulties in factoring in shipping costs and variations in product costs for the year.
That's part of the reason. The other is that prepaying means limited-duration subscriptions, which is something we used to do with Dragon and Dungeon... and we're never, ever going back to that model. Managing renewals is painful, inefficient, and costly—it's *so* much worse in every way than you might think. Paizo has made a lot of smart decisions, but the decision to move exclusively to our current ongoing subscription model is among the very best of them.

That's an interesting perspective, Vic, and thanks for sharing Paizo's reasoning with us. I do have some related (if tangentially) thoughts on this to bring up.

My non-gamer wife was interested in getting me a subscription for a Christmas gift (bless her!), but the model Paizo uses simply doesn't work for us -- we don't use credit cards, only debit cards, and it's very difficult to keep the checkbook in balance when you never know when something's going to get charged; and, as you stated, gift certificates can't be used on subscriptions. She expressed a lot of frustration about this.

Your suggestion of a prepaid card has merit, and it's one I'll mention as a possibility. I wonder, though, if some common ground could be reached here somewhere -- perhaps a gift subscription model that's valid for a set number, for example, or something else that I haven't thought of.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

thunderspirit wrote:
I wonder, though, if some common ground could be reached here somewhere -- perhaps a gift subscription model that's valid for a set number, for example, or something else that I haven't thought of.

Well, the main reason that gift certificates can't currently be used to fulfill subscription shipments is that assumptions we made in designing underlying code before either subscriptions or gift certificates existed make that problematic. We do eventually intend to change that, but it's a big, complicated project.

However, I think we're probably always going to require that you have a valid chargeable card to sign up for a subscription. (We don't distinguish between credit or debit, so long as it has a MasterCard or Visa logo.)


Vic Wertz wrote:
However, I think we're probably always going to require that you have a valid chargeable card to sign up for a subscription. (We don't distinguish between credit or debit, so long as it has a MasterCard or Visa logo.)

You mean there are debit cards without them these days? :O I use my debit card for all of my online transactions requiring a credit card.


Foghammer wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
However, I think we're probably always going to require that you have a valid chargeable card to sign up for a subscription. (We don't distinguish between credit or debit, so long as it has a MasterCard or Visa logo.)
You mean there are debit cards without them these days? :O I use my debit card for all of my online transactions requiring a credit card.

In Australia - You have Credit Cards, Debit Cards and Visa/Mastercard Debit Cards.

Cant use the Debit Cards on the internet.


If our nearest FLGS (40 miles away) would carry Paizo products instead of Magic the Gathering and 4th Ed, *Yarf* we might actually consider supporting them, and driving 108 miles to the good Gaming Store isn't always an option for us.

Subscriptions are looking better and better, especially with Amazon's fumbling of Bestiary 2, Princes of Chaos, The Godsmouth Heresy...


Wish we had a FLGS here.
The closest thing we have to one is Books A Million =) LOL


I should add that there's also a Barnes & Noble as well as a Hastings in the same city with the pitiful FLGS, but those two stores rarely if ever carry Paizo products; the hubby did find The Bastards of Erebus at one, though.


I live in a town with a population between 50 and 55 thousand. Not a big city by most standards, but for Arkansas it's pretty large. We also have two colleges and one university here, and of course armies of kids from middle school on up, not just in the city limits but outlying towns as well. You'd think that'd be enough to keep at least one modest FLGS going, but it's not.

This town cannot keep an LGS, Friendly or not. What few RPG products to be had are purchased at the local book/video/music chain store (Hastings), and they've gone from having three huge shelf fulls to a rolling half-shelf that's not even in the book area anymore. There is only one comic book store in town, and it comes on the heels of others that showed up, lasted a couple of years, and died without anyone really noticing or caring. There have been stores, and I use that term very loosely, where some kids' parents rented a store front for them, put in a handful of D&D books (usually the splat books), and if you wanted something they didn't have on the shelf, which was nearly anything, they could order it for you and it would be there in "about 6 weeks". These places were really just venues where the kids and their friends could have their own places to game, and usually folded in about 3 months or so.

I'm rambling. Muscle relaxers will do that to a fella. Anyway, I would LOVE to support an FLGS, and I've done my best to do so when we've had them. But there's not enough support from the rest of the community and they go away. And while the comic shop here does carry a few RPG items, most are used or not widely played in the area (from what I've been told). He does sell dice, though. That's a plus. But I'm not going to wait "about 6 weeks" for a book to come in when I can subscribe to it or order it online myself and have it in a week or less in most cases, and at a cheaper price.

Scarab Sages

DungeonmasterCal wrote:

I live in a town with a population between 50 and 55 thousand. Not a big city by most standards, but for Arkansas it's pretty large. We also have two colleges and one university here, and of course armies of kids from middle school on up, not just in the city limits but outlying towns as well. You'd think that'd be enough to keep at least one modest FLGS going, but it's not.

DMC,

I am almost positive that you are talking about Conway, based upon the three colleges and the half-shelf of RPG stuff at Hastings(which is in the Video section.) If I'm right, have you checked out the Conway Gaming Center?


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I can see the difficulties in factoring in shipping costs and variations in product costs for the year.

That's part of the reason. The other is that prepaying means limited-duration subscriptions, which is something we used to do with Dragon and Dungeon... and we're never, ever going back to that model. Managing renewals is painful, inefficient, and costly—it's *so* much worse in every way than you might think. Paizo has made a lot of smart decisions, but the decision to move exclusively to our current ongoing subscription model is among the very best of them.

Steve Geddes wrote:
You could buy yourself a gift certificate, perhaps?

Gift certificates can't be used on subs, for related reasons.

I'd suggest the best option here is to put your money into a prepaid credit card, and use that card only for your subscription. When the prepaid balance drops low enough that it doesn't cover the next shipment, you'll get emails about your card being declined, and then you'll know to top it up.

Thanks Vic that is probably the best way. I will look into it :-)

I too am thinking of doing that. I will just get a rough six month estimate and try to put that money on a prepaid card. ~shrugs~ OTOH, that is a lot of hassle too. I will figure it out when the time comes.


P.S. - Thanks again for being so candid and open Vic. We all really appreciate it.


flash_cxxi wrote:

General rule is anywhere from 1-2 months after the street release date. In the beginnning, the Core Pathfinder lines (Core Rulebook and Bestiary) came out on time or within a week of release, but later releses have been back to the regular schedule (eg. GMG 1 month late, APG almost 3 months late and to date I still don't have my Bestiary 2). All of this is even though I have a standing order that I put in months in advance and so all of my stuff is pre-ordered.

I currently get my APs and Tales as a Sub through paizo, but all of my other lines through my FLGS. If I had the steady cash to be able to make sure I had money for everything in my account each month I would without hesitation switch back to Subs for everything (I was a Charter Subscriber) but at this stage...

Doesn't your LGS get it's stuff via The Tin Soldier? They pretty much do the entire Paizo stuff and get it ASAP. If not...can you get down to Sydney?

Cheers
Mark


Abjurer wrote:
I am almost positive that you are talking about Conway, based upon the three colleges and the half-shelf of RPG stuff at Hastings(which is in the Video section.) If I'm right, have you checked out the Conway Gaming Center?

I've never even heard of the place! Thanks!

Scarab Sages

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
Abjurer wrote:
I am almost positive that you are talking about Conway, based upon the three colleges and the half-shelf of RPG stuff at Hastings(which is in the Video section.) If I'm right, have you checked out the Conway Gaming Center?
I've never even heard of the place! Thanks!

No problem, man. I try to steer people there, as I've noticed a huge problem in our area - word of anything going on game-wise takes forever to get around. They were open for quite a while before I even knew that they existed, and I'm noticing that's true for almost everyone I meet. It's over by the Mazzio's on Washington Ave., by the way, if you haven't looked it up.

Also, there's 'Imagine! Games' in Sherwood. I just played a Pathfinder Society Scenario there earlier on Friday, so if you don't mind a little drive, they have some organized stuff there. Someone really should get something going at the Conway store, though.


I've been to Imagine Games a few times. Nice folks there, and I have picked up a couple items while there. The other "big" store in Little Rock is closed (again) I think. It was the one on Markham in west LR.

The thing with my group is they don't like playing in an open area like a game store. Everyone has their own favorite way of playing and they prefer to play in someone's house. Granted, most of us have been to GenCon at least once and played there, but that's a special occasion. The comic shop here, Batcave Comics if you've not been, has some open tables for folks, too. But they're usually commandeered by MtG or other CCG players most of the time.

Now that you mention the location of CGC, I know where it is. My son's metalcore band played a gig in an empty store space next to it last summer. Some folks rented the space for a birthday party and the birthday girl wanted them to play. I saw the place and thought it was a video and LAN place only and didn't go in.


Vic Wertz wrote:


That's part of the reason. The other is that prepaying means limited-duration subscriptions, which is something we used to do with Dragon and Dungeon... and we're never, ever going back to that model. Managing renewals is painful, inefficient, and costly—it's *so* much worse in every way than you might think. Paizo has made a lot of smart decisions, but the decision to move exclusively to our current ongoing subscription model is among the very best of them.

I never liked the wall of mail asking me to renew magazine subscriptions, either. Or the inevitable fulfillment issues that happened at the border between two subscriptions (including payments lost in the mail).


Votan wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:


That's part of the reason. The other is that prepaying means limited-duration subscriptions, which is something we used to do with Dragon and Dungeon... and we're never, ever going back to that model. Managing renewals is painful, inefficient, and costly—it's *so* much worse in every way than you might think. Paizo has made a lot of smart decisions, but the decision to move exclusively to our current ongoing subscription model is among the very best of them.
I never liked the wall of mail asking me to renew magazine subscriptions, either. Or the inevitable fulfillment issues that happened at the border between two subscriptions (including payments lost in the mail).

Vic, do you allow phone-in orders? I know you do very well with email work (I've only used you once for digital transfer of funds) but do you have an order line for folks looking to talk to a real person?

Scarab Sages

I nearly always buy from my FLGS. There are handful of games I play without a free PDF available. That's fine. I have enough disposable income to buy the PDFs I want and skip out on the ones I don't. But I do want to point out some things here.

Evil Hat Productions recently started a program to get a free PDF copy whenever you buy the hard copy at your FLGS. It works like this, I buy the book at my FLGS and I hand them my flash drive. They log into Evil Hat's dropbox and download the PDF onto my flash drive. I walk away with the book and a free PDF. Once they get their CD burning working (they recently moved), then they'll put it on a blank CD instead. Green Ronin is doing something similar with their Pre-Order Plus program. I pre-order the book at my FLGS, pay some money down, get the book and PDF (which is sometimes free and sometimes only about $5) when it comes in. It's completely win-win for me. I don't see why such a program couldn't exist with Paizo for those who really want to support their FLGS and still get the PDF. Both of these programs require me to purchase the hard copy *before* I get my PDF copy.

But at the same time, I keep asking myself the same question - Why isn't there a PDF-only subscription? I mean, really, why not have a PDF subscription where you buy the PDFs, possibly at a discount because it's a sub, and then still be able to buy the hard copy at your FLGS if you want to support it? Sure, you can get the PDF for free when you sub to the hard copies, but as an answer to the question the OP asked back at the beginning - why tear yourself up over supporting both your FLGS and Paizo? There's always some form of middle ground out there.

Arovyn

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Beercifer wrote:
Vic, do you allow phone-in orders? I know you do very well with email work (I've only used you once for digital transfer of funds) but do you have an order line for folks looking to talk to a real person?

We do... you can find the phone number and hours in the itty-bitty text at the very bottom of the web page.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Arovyn wrote:
I don't see why such a program couldn't exist with Paizo for those who really want to support their FLGS and still get the PDF. Both of these programs require me to purchase the hard copy *before* I get my PDF copy.

Just to be clear about one distinction: You're talking about a free PDF with print purchase, which is not the same as the main topic of this thread—subscriptions through retailers.

The reason we aren't attempting to offer such a thing lies in what I've said previously in this thread about subscriptions being our bread-and-butter. Subscribers need subscriber perks, and for some of our lines, the only real perk subscribers get is the free PDF. If we offered free PDFs with any print purchase, there would be no point in subscribing, and that would be a problem for us.

Arovyn wrote:
Why isn't there a PDF-only subscription?

If we offered an attractive PDF-only subscription, it could measurably decrease sales of the print editions, and when you print fewer units, per copy costs go up, which results in either A) lower margins for us or B) higher retail pricing for print copies. (And higher pricing results in lower sales, which results in lower print runs, which results in... well, you can see it has the potential to be bad.)

More directly, a PDF-only sub also has the potential to harm the subscription numbers we currently have for the print edition, and keeping those numbers as high as possible is crucial to our business.

Also, for the Pathfinder AP line, the subscriber price is the same as the PDF price, so one way to view that subscription is that you're committing to buy the PDF each month at the regular price, and then getting the print edition for the cost of shipping.


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I really don't have a LGS to visit. The best we have is comic/hobby shop that sells some gaming stuff but is primarily comics and hobby stuff like models and train sets. For gaming stuff there is huge store in larger city about 3 hours away. I always buy something when I'm in that city. So much to browse in that store.

As it is I use Amazon mainly. I subscribe to APs as I want the PDF. The other books it's not as important to me but PDF is just so useful for running APs.


I live in Northeast Ohio, and I'm a supporter of all small businesses.

I'd rather give my money to a person who operates an ACE hardware store, or a local farmer/butcher, rather than a big company.

I feel the same way when it comes to my gaming supplies - but that feeling stops when the owner/operator of that business doesn't respect his/her customers. To paraphrase the guys at Penny Arcade, "the people who come in the door are the reason you have a door in the first place."

I order my products direct from Paizo, or buy them from another store. When I visit my family in Columbus, I often drop some cash at the Guardtower.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I know some company and I they are on the tip of my tongue. But I forget their name is experimenting with giving their PDF's away for free to those that buy their books in the store. I am not sure how they are going to do it, but I imagine if they pull it off other companies will check into it.

Evil Hat was one company to do this. I bought my copy of Dresden Files at my FLGS, sent Fred an email about it and he did his magic and I got the PDFs.

Because of that, I encouraged my friends to pick up copies of Dresden Files, even though we never did manage to get a game going.

Given that when I want to read a book, I want to read it right away, I suspect I'll be buying physical books if I see one I'm interested in at my FLGS and buying PDFs if I hear about a product I'm interested in while I'm browsing the net after my FLGS is closed.

Scarab Sages

archmagi1 wrote:
Conway.

Off topic for archmagi1-

Spoiler:
I live in Benton. A friend of mine created a facebook group page to support gaming in central Arkansas.You can find the Central Arkansas Gaming Group here. It is my hope that in the near future I can head up to Conway and run a couple Pathfinder Society scenarios. I know of a few gamers in the Conway/Greenbriar area, so making at least one table shouldn't be too difficult. I actually just messaged John Booher, the owner of CGC, to see if he thought his shop would be good for an event like this. I hope to see you on the CAGG page so when I do get to head up there you'll know in advance and be able to sit in if you like.

Tam


Tambryn wrote:
archmagi1 wrote:
Conway.

Off topic for archmagi1-

** spoiler omitted **

Tam

Thanks! I just signed up there!


I've run into the Paizo vs. FLGS issue a bit myself. I only get to the gamestore once a week if I'm lucky, due to the trip adding an extra 30 miles to my commute home from work. I live in the boonies which are the direct opposite direction from the store. :(

My online purchasing is made all the worse by the fact that the store owner is my friend and also one of my players. Everytime I buy something online, he sees it crop up in a game and says (jokingly) "See! This is why I'm going to have to close up shop." I know he's mostly kidding, but I do feel guilty about it. Especially since I know, cash wise, he is in a bad position the last couple years. *sigh*

So, I've tried to split my buying as much as I can. Many things cost no more through the shop than they do online after factoring in shipping, so anything like that gets ordered through the store.

If Paizo comes with any business model that better supports the local retail stores, I'm all for it. But, working in finance, I know the realities of business often do not cleave to the wishes of the heart. I'd rather have Paizo in business, than see them crash trying to support so many others.

I just don't want to see my friend lose his business, either.


Funny thing is, there are many of us who don't see the issue here. There was actually a time when you'd sit at a gaming table and not see a single laptop plugged in. Well...because there WEREN'T any laptops, but... Buy from your local brick and mortar store if you have one in your area. These are the people who gave this hobby we enjoy life to begin with AND it's money into your local economy. Paizo will make their money too. Having a PDF file of a book is a luxury. For those who just HAVE to have one, perhaps some sort of one use only unique redmption code provided by Paizo that the retailer gives you when you purchase the actual book. I'm not big on the idea of the PDF'S anyway. I have to wonder how much money has been lost to Paizo AND local hobby shops because people have simply made copies for their friends.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
ChuckSC6568 wrote:
Funny thing is, there are many of us who don't see the issue here. There was actually a time when you'd sit at a gaming table and not see a single laptop plugged in. Well...because there WEREN'T any laptops, but... Buy from your local brick and mortar store if you have one in your area. These are the people who gave this hobby we enjoy life to begin with AND it's money into your local economy. Paizo will make their money too. Having a PDF file of a book is a luxury. For those who just HAVE to have one, perhaps some sort of one use only unique redmption code provided by Paizo that the retailer gives you when you purchase the actual book. I'm not big on the idea of the PDF'S anyway. I have to wonder how much money has been lost to Paizo AND local hobby shops because people have simply made copies for their friends.

The issue in my case is speed and reliability. By subscribing, I know I'm not missing anything - my gaming store is not so assiduous about picking up everything Paizo put out and I'm not convinced they'd do it just for me.


ChuckSC6568 wrote:
Funny thing is, there are many of us who don't see the issue here. There was actually a time when you'd sit at a gaming table and not see a single laptop plugged in. Well...because there WEREN'T any laptops, but... Buy from your local brick and mortar store if you have one in your area. These are the people who gave this hobby we enjoy life to begin with AND it's money into your local economy. Paizo will make their money too. Having a PDF file of a book is a luxury. For those who just HAVE to have one, perhaps some sort of one use only unique redmption code provided by Paizo that the retailer gives you when you purchase the actual book. I'm not big on the idea of the PDF'S anyway. I have to wonder how much money has been lost to Paizo AND local hobby shops because people have simply made copies for their friends.

One doesn't necessarily have to be a laptop-at-the-table person to want/utilize the PDF.

I carry my PDFs with me on my portable HD, allowing me to reference them on breaks at work, when travelling, etc.

I'll also say that the availability of the PDFs was a large factor in my deciding to support Paizo/Pathfinder and maintain that support over time.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
ChuckSC6568 wrote:
Funny thing is, there are many of us who don't see the issue here. There was actually a time when you'd sit at a gaming table and not see a single laptop plugged in. Well...because there WEREN'T any laptops, but... Buy from your local brick and mortar store if you have one in your area. These are the people who gave this hobby we enjoy life to begin with AND it's money into your local economy. Paizo will make their money too. Having a PDF file of a book is a luxury. For those who just HAVE to have one, perhaps some sort of one use only unique redmption code provided by Paizo that the retailer gives you when you purchase the actual book. I'm not big on the idea of the PDF'S anyway. I have to wonder how much money has been lost to Paizo AND local hobby shops because people have simply made copies for their friends.

Um, Role Playing Games are a luxury. PERIOD.

If I'm going to indulge in an luxury item I'm going to do so on MY terms. Not yours and definitely not the LGS if they cant provide a similar discount or service.

It sounds like you're coming from a completely uniformed point of view so let me tell you why PDF's are important to me: PREP.

There are no open laptops at my game table. But in terms of prepping adventure material PDF's are invaluable. The ability to copy and paste from PDF to Word or Textedit for editing is INVALUABLE. The ability to print out only the pages that I'll need to run an adventure, to print images of NPC's and/or monsters to show my players. INVALUABLE.

So no for me it's not about "oh noes the computers are taking over the game table! we should go back to how we did it in the olden days of yore!" I AM doing it like in the olden days of yore atthe table. But before I get there? laptop. Pdf. Prep.

Until the LGS can match what Paizo offers, I'll buy other stuff from them like maps, Mini's and cards.

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