Dear Third Party Publishing Folks

Product Discussion

This is not me trying to put anyone on blast. That is completly not my intention. But I want to know something that has been bothering me. There are a number of products I've purchased from a number of folks that have had issues. Editing problems. Missing Data. Incorrect data. That sort of thing. And these are products that are a couple to a few years old. And I find out that the creator's of said products are aware of the issues, have been for some time.

So, here is my quandry.

I like the 3PP stuff. I really do. And I want to continue to purchase it, but as the guy who is shelling out the cash I'd love to know why this sort of thing doesn't seem uncommon. I'm goign to assume there is something about the process that makes it reletively a pain in the neck to update these items. Or that after X amount of time sales go down to the point where updates aren't cost effective. Or that changing a pdf with all the layout stuff is a major pain in the neck. I don't know.

But I'd really like to. I have sort of developed this "Well, if X or Y doesn't care enough to update this stuff I'm not sure I care enough to continue to buy their products" and I don't want to be in that frame of mind. I like a lot of what I've bought and I'd like to continue to buy more.

Have you contacted the publishers you are concerned with?

Many things we update several times. I think we're on the fourth version of Talented cavalier, for example. We did an update to Genius Guide to the Dragonrider in late 2014, five years after our initial release.

Most things we never update, because we never get any note from any customers that there is a problem. Thankfully, that's how most of our products go, though I am sure nearly all of them have a typo or two in them.

For a few things, there are definitely elements of all the factors you mention. If I have to reread a pdf to figure out the problem, write a solution, have the layout add that. have that change the flow of words in the pdf from every page after that, then reload it to four sales sites, and the thing is selling 6 copies a year? It's not that I won't do it, but it does go to the bottom of the to-do list, and oft-times I never get that far down on my list.

And if that thing has widely-distributed Hero lab files? (Fan created of otherwise.) I often have no way of getting those updates, so I must field numerous questions about why the pdf is "wrong" compared to the HL files. And I have yet to find a fast, affordable, reliable solution to producing HL files for RGG pdfs.

And then some things I don't update because I can;t get a response from the original writer or editor. That's not the case MOST of the time, but it is occasionally, and for a couple of specific older products of ours that have issues I am well aware of.

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Because reprinting something to fix typos costs money? Partly because it costs money to pay for editors. And, of course, the above.

Many, many 1st party Paizo books are typo ridden and they employ MULTIPLE editors. Not buying a product because it has typos in it is irrational. No publication is perfectly typo-free.

See Also: The first print run of Harry Potter and subsequent books in the series. (SO many typos...)

The only reason I can think of is if they are not doing in-house formatting. Fixing minor typos or something else small might cost them both production time and money to fix it. However, if it's something major (or if they have in-house formatting) they SHOULD fix it. When not possible (for whatever reason) publishers should be posting errata online.

Oh, I never meant print run stuff. I completely get that there can be a very cost-prohibitive aspect to that. I only meant pdfs.

And PDG, yes I have had "communication" with two of the publishers to the point that yes, I know they're aware of the issues. Which is why I asked. But some of these answers above at least let me know what might be happening. Thanks.

Craig Bonham 141 wrote:
Oh, I never meant print run stuff. I completely get that there can be a very cost-prohibitive aspect to that. I only meant pdfs.

If the product is in both PDF and Print formats, you only update if you're updating both. No exceptions. You don't want mismatched information and text between the two.

It's an unfortunate part of the industry that there are typos that are hard/expensive to fix...I'm looking at doing an update to Path of Iron in the next few days to fix typos and a handful of balance issues, and it's a GIANT pain to do. I'm hoping to not have to fix it again after this point, but who knows.

Editing will always be a problem whenever words are involved, regardless of how many editors you run it by, and with how small the tabletop industry is it's going to be even more pronounced.

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Craig is (at least in one case) talking about THIS error he found in the Direlock Base Class.

Essentially it's a time related endeavour. Updating the file isn't particularly onerous - although I do publish each PDF in two formats - a full color format, and a b/w format.* You'd be surprised how a little block of text can however throw out the layout/image placement, pagination and bookmarks. Happily I don't envision the removal of some erroneous text too taxing in this case.

The other, again not particularly onerous time sink comes from uploading the new files to all the places the PDFs are held - in the case of the Direlock that would be OBS (Drivethru), Paizo and the d20PFSRD Store.

Another problem comes from the content that appears on the d20PFSRD site - the Direlock text comes from the PDF, and any errors in the PDF are replicated on the site. I've been trying to get John to add the Direlock-only feats to the site for a while, and the spell list and one new spell for a while, but he's plenty busy without worrying about my bespoke little desires....

I *should* have done "it" (fixed the PDF) ages ago, and it was top of my list after setting up my computer after moving house. Which I was due to do today. Then I discovered my son's high temperature of a few days ago may have some connection to the red spots now covering his trunk and head.

So, I'll get to it as soon as I can.

And sorry for neglecting to say earlier Craig: thanks for the catch. I was wondering why nobody else had noticed until now.

*(Louis Porter jnr once kindly tried to explain to me how to make the one file do both, but it didn't really seem to do what I wanted - not just turn off the images but make a simple concise, layout-cleared, images cleared text only version).

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Much respect to Forest Guardian here. And thank you for pointing out that yes, there are more steps to the process than I understood. Like I said, I don't want to be a jerk here. I really enjoy 3pp stuff. Use it in all my games. Currently running a Direlock and an Aegis in the two campaigns I'm playing in and one of the characters in the campaign I'm running is well..a WHOLE bunch of stuff, a lot of it 3pp.

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Interesting thread from both a customer and publisher perspective.

One other customer suggestion for the 3P-Publisher:

When PDFs are updated/revised/clarified in some fashion (and re-posted for customer download at Paizo/OBS/OGS, etc.), it would be helpful to us customers to have some part of the PDF splash page or intro text note that this updated PDF is "Version 2.0" or "Revision #3 - June 16, 2015" or something helpfully descriptive like that. And please have it bolded, highlighted or easy-to-spot. This rarely ever happens (I speak from frustrated experience of owning countless "revised" PF 3PP PDFs ).

While getting our beloved PDFs updated to resolve typos, add bookmarks or install errata/balance fixes are greatly appreciated by the original publisher, it's sometimes very hard to tell when looking at the original and revised PDFs ... as to which one is the newest one.

@Crai - Personally I think an easy way would be to update the filename itself, much as I kinda hate for folks to have legacy versions replete with a legion of errors...

Crai wrote:
it's sometimes very hard to tell when looking at the original and revised PDFs ... as to which one is the newest one.

Why, the one you just downloaded from or, of course.

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