On PDF pricing


Paizo General Discussion

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Because this has been brought up twice in the Lost Omens World Guide product discussion thread, and because we have been told to take the discussion out of the Lost Omens World Guide product discussion thread...

Why are Paizo PDFs so expensive?

Paizo prices their PDFs at approximately 30% off the print price. Always has.

However, when the Pathfinder RPG launched, Paizo heavily discounted the PDFs for what they considered "core" books: the CRB, Bestiaries, and other rulebook lines. Those were priced at $9.99, so that people could cheaply get into the game and see if they liked it.*

For P2e, the price has gone up to $14.99 for those core books. All other Paizo PDFs, from novels to maps to AP volumes, sell for approximately 70% of the print product pricing.

The one difference: in P1e, Paizo included the setting book, the Pathfinder World Guide, as core and sold its PDF at $9.99. This time around, for whatever reason, they've made the decision not to give the setting book the same discount.

Note that all the rules are, in fact, available online for free, and that you can get the PDF of any new book for free with the print edition by subscribing to the line.

*:
Interesting historical note: The original plan was for only the CRB and the Bestiary to get the cheaper $9.99 price.


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From the other thread:

Arnim Thayer wrote:

To Erik Mona, James, Jacobs, or Mark Moreland: A moment of your time, please?

I’ve not read through all the posts (400+) on this product, but can we please address the elephant in the corner?

This book is $36 for 136 pages of content. That equals out to roughly $.22 per page. Comparatively, the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rule book contains 640 pages and goes for $60, a break down of about $.09 per page. And the pdf for the new CRB is only $15 compared to the $25 for the pdf of the World Guide... for less content.

I love the direction PF2 is headed. I was a skeptic during the play test, but the final product really turned me around. It is incredible and flexible, a joy to both run and play. I want to help sell this game (and the product line that follows!) but that is hard to do when the price point seems so out of whack. From what I’ve been lead to believe, the Campaign Setting line and Companion line have now been merged into this new Campaign Setting line, and all future products will be hardcover... I think that’s a fair idea. But the Companion line was what most player’s bought, often getting subscriptions since the print run for that was known to be much smaller than the more “evergreen” hardcover books. this was balanced out by the affordability of the hardcover books in pdf form.

If this price point continues, I’m afraid the push-back will be players either sticking with PF1 or leaving for other games. this is especially true of charging so much for the pdf products, a virtual book that costs nothing extra to produce that that isn’t already accounted for in the print model. I implore you to consider lowering the cost of these books. At the very least, look at lowering the price point for the pdfs.

I’d hate to start losing players over this when it can be addressed and adjusted.

Thank you for your time.

For PFS players, I can definitely see this being an issue, since they have to own a product to use the options in it. LOWG is full of player options, but, unlike the old World Guide, it doesn't get the cheap PDF. Going forward, I think that fewer, thicker hardcovers will balance out price-wise with thin, monthly softcovers for subscribers,* but for people who only want to use a couple of options for their PFS characters, it's definitely less manageable than just picking up, say, Halflings of Golarion for your halfling rogue.

*:
Eh, could be wrong. With just the three announced Lost Omens hardcovers through January, they add up to $106.97, while 6 months of Companions was only $89.94. (Take 70% of those prices for PDFs only.) A lot will depend on how infrequent the hardcovers become -- if they're frontloading to get options into circulation and intend to slow down, or if they maintain a steady release schedule.


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Great idea to start this thread. There’s a lot of recent comparisons between CRB and other products on a cost/page basis, which misses a huge piece of the puzzle.

Scarab Sages

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I'll chime in since I was one of the most vocal against this type of pricing in the Lost Omens post. My concern is that their pricing isn't consistent with their general product pricing, nor comparing to most other companies around.
You don't have to bring up just Core Books, which fine they have put at a discount to grab the attention of newcomers to the hobby. At $15 they offer a bucket load for that price. However, other company's supplement books offer much more meat, and content, for their page counts easily.
As well, go over to Starfinder, and check out the pricing for all their core PDFs. ALL $9.99, doesn't matter the size of the book.
So give me one reason why this 136 page basically "core" book (since it is the Inner Sea Guide of 2E at the moment), is jacked to $25?
Also, consider buying this at a brick and mortar store, which it has just released in my area. In Canada, the local stores are selling this for $36.95 CAD. A hardcover 136 page book, for basically $40 when tax is included.
I can look around at so many other RPGs in the same section, and this pricing is laughable at best for the content size. Add to that, this is a trilogy of books. So for three books PDF wise, at 136 pages a shot, I'm going to be dropping $75 for PDFs alone? $120 for print copies? For in total 408 pages?
Oh, and for those shouting "QUALITY OVER CONTENT", please don't. There is a logical balance between the two, in terms of customer purchasing.
What's sad is, my group have been playing PF since literally day one that it dropped. (Basically went from 3.0, to 3.5, to Pathfinder.) They were wanting to transfer over to D&D 5E, after reading the beta test copy, finding too many issues in it. And having major concerns with where the product was going. (The word "glut" is best used to describe where 1E ended up. As well as horrendous rules additions over time, which broke the system more often than not.)
I was the one that bought the 2E core and bestiary, and convinced them to go back to Pathfinder. After informing them of the price points of these pdfs, they gave that deer in headlights look, then laughed. (We are talking gamers of over 25 years here.)
I will tell you right now, Paizo you are going to alienate, and push away your customer base if you continue this pricing plan. And to be honest, just increase the amount of pirating of your PDFs. Fewer, thicker, more quality books, will always get you more for the long run. Instead of continually pumping out book after book, of stuff that is rarely used.


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Hunters Moon wrote:

I'll chime in since I was one of the most vocal against this type of pricing in the Lost Omens post. My concern is that their pricing isn't consistent with their general product pricing, nor comparing to most other companies around.

You don't have to bring up just Core Books, which fine they have put at a discount to grab the attention of newcomers to the hobby. At $15 they offer a bucket load for that price. However, other company's supplement books offer much more meat, and content, for their page counts easily.
As well, go over to Starfinder, and check out the pricing for all their PDFs. ALL $9.99, doesn't matter the size of the book, and they are all considered "core".

The Starfinder Rulebook line is considered core (and are ten dollars each).

The APs are $16 for 64 page PDFs.

I get that you think it’s expensive, but as Joana points out, it’s consistent with past practise.


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I would be curious to see some other RPG books you consider similar. I’ve seen cheaper PDFs with equivalent art assets and so forth, but generally they are also core books. The concept of cheap intro books isn’t a particularly novel idea.

Scarab Sages

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So basically you're telling me, since it's not a "core" book, Paizo can just pump out low page count material, and jack the price up as high as they want?
Consistent with past practise? They have never put out such low page counts, for such high pricing. If I'm wrong, please show me so.


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Hunters Moon wrote:


Consistent with past practise? They have never put out such low page counts, for such high pricing. If I'm wrong, please show me so.

Starfinder APs - 64 pages for $16.

Pathfinder first edition campaign setting books were the same.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
So basically you're telling me, since it's not a "core" book, Paizo can just pump out low page count material, and jack the price up as high as they want?

Well yes, they obviously can. I reject the premise though - they haven’t “jacked up” the price.

I’m surprised this isn’t a core book, fwiw, but given it’s not, I see it as in line with their other PDFs.

Scarab Sages

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Starfinder APs are NOT Pathfinder supplement books.
Again, as I stated, we are talking about a dramatic shift from pricing. As well as comparing it to other companies.
I don't understand why you are not reading that.

Scarab Sages

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
So basically you're telling me, since it's not a "core" book, Paizo can just pump out low page count material, and jack the price up as high as they want?

Well yes, they obviously can. I reject the premise though - they haven’t “jacked up” the price.

I’m surprised this isn’t a core book, fwiw, but given it’s not, I see it as in line with their other PDFs.

You realize just how sketchy you proved that is right? "It isn't a core book, but given it is not..." So because it isn't a core book, they just split it into three books, and spike the pricing up? You are proving my point rather clearly.


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Hunters Moon wrote:

Starfinder APs are NOT Pathfinder supplement books.

Again, as I stated, we are talking about a dramatic shift from pricing. As well as comparing it to other companies.
I don't understand why you are not reading that.

Pathfinder Campaign setting books are.

I mentioned Starfinder APs since you brought them up (you said all Starfinder PDFs were $10, but in fact it’s only the core Rulebook line that are that cheap).

In terms of other games, I did ask for some examples of similar books. I’m not that familiar with other companies’ pricing of PDFs.

Scarab Sages

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Fair enough I altered my statement as it was mistaken, apologies.
Yes, interesting enough, they ONLY have core books. So basically Paizo is going to suck more money out of their customers, by making what should be a "core" book, into a setting book.
Ah, this just gets better to see the true facts here.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
So basically you're telling me, since it's not a "core" book, Paizo can just pump out low page count material, and jack the price up as high as they want?

Well yes, they obviously can. I reject the premise though - they haven’t “jacked up” the price.

I’m surprised this isn’t a core book, fwiw, but given it’s not, I see it as in line with their other PDFs.

You realize just how sketchy you proved that is right? "It isn't a core book, but given it is not..." So because it isn't a core book, they just split it into three books, and spike the pricing up? You are proving my point rather clearly.

I’m not trying to prove anything. I just disagree with you. (I think almost all rpg products are way too cheap).

Paizo supplemental PDFs are priced at around 70% (presumably. I haven’t checked Joana’s maths, but it seems about right to me).

They discount their “core books” substantially for obvious reasons. I don’t see that anything has really changed in that regard.

If your point is just that you’re surprised the Lost Omens World Guide isn’t a core book, well I’m not really disagreeing. I thought you were making a broader point about PDF pricing, though.

Scarab Sages

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An easy example, as I was just purchasing this recently: Mutants & Masterminds 3E. Here are some PDF prices, rounded up for convenience sake.

Basic Hero's Handbook: 128 pages/$17
Power Profiles: 224 pages/$20
Rogue's Gallery: 174 pages/$18
Supernatural Sourcebook: 152 pages/$15
Gadget Guide: 136 pages/$16
Cosmic Handbook: 139 pages/$15
Hero High, Remastered: 176 pages/$18


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Hunters Moon wrote:

Fair enough I altered my statement as it was mistaken, apologies.

Yes, interesting enough, they ONLY have core books. So basically Paizo is going to suck more money out of their customers, by making what should be a "core" book, into a setting book.
Ah, this just gets better to see the true facts here.

I’m not sure on the reasons behind not having a core setting book.

My guess would be that they wanted to release all three at GenCon and knew they wouldn’t be able to get a massive setting book done in time (even the 136 page book was too much). You’d need to ask them - though I’d suggest going with “why is the Lost Omens book priced as a supplement book and not the way the inner sea world guide was?” Over “why are you ripping us off?”


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Hunters Moon wrote:

An easy example, as I was just purchasing this recently: Mutants & Masterminds 3E. Here are some PDF prices, rounded up for convenience sake.

Basic Hero's Handbook: 128 pages/$17
Power Profiles: 224 pages/$20
Rogue's Gallery: 174 pages/$18
Supernatural Sourcebook: 152 pages/$15
Gadget Guide: 136 pages/$16
Cosmic Handbook: 139 pages/$15
Hero High, Remastered: 176 pages/$18

Cheers. Just to be sure, those all feature the same amount of art, right? That’s one of the principal cost drivers.

Scarab Sages

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It isn't like they were in a rush, and it's obvious that this trilogy already was planned. As well, Books 2 & 3 are being released by January 2020.
As for asking them, I rather be blunt and forward with what it exactly looks like. Ripping customers off for less content, or just not putting it out all together in one book. So that they can make more money off smaller bits of it.


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As another datapoint (to the point that this doesn’t represent a change in policy, just a characterisation of supplement vs core book):

This was the ISWG’s precursor a 256 page PDF for $35.

The Inner Sea World Guide was the exception, not the rule.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:

An easy example, as I was just purchasing this recently: Mutants & Masterminds 3E. Here are some PDF prices, rounded up for convenience sake.

Basic Hero's Handbook: 128 pages/$17
Power Profiles: 224 pages/$20
Rogue's Gallery: 174 pages/$18
Supernatural Sourcebook: 152 pages/$15
Gadget Guide: 136 pages/$16
Cosmic Handbook: 139 pages/$15
Hero High, Remastered: 176 pages/$18

Cheers. Just to be sure, those all feature the same amount of art, right? That’s one of the principal cost drivers.

Oh yeah, M&M never skimps on their art, their interior designing, all of it. Very bright, colorful, artistic, the whole nine yards. It's basically one of the main reasons, if you want to run superhero RPGs, M&M has been no.1 since their first edition. And continues to be so still.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:

An easy example, as I was just purchasing this recently: Mutants & Masterminds 3E. Here are some PDF prices, rounded up for convenience sake.

Basic Hero's Handbook: 128 pages/$17
Power Profiles: 224 pages/$20
Rogue's Gallery: 174 pages/$18
Supernatural Sourcebook: 152 pages/$15
Gadget Guide: 136 pages/$16
Cosmic Handbook: 139 pages/$15
Hero High, Remastered: 176 pages/$18

Cheers. Just to be sure, those all feature the same amount of art, right? That’s one of the principal cost drivers.
Oh yeah, M&M never skimps on their art, their interior designing, all of it. Very bright, colorful, artistic, the whole nine yards. It's basically one of the main reasons, if you want to run superhero RPGs, M&M has been no.1 since their first edition. And continues to be so still.

Okay, I’ll go look at the gadget guide. That’s the best comparison by pagecount, I think.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
It isn't like they were in a rush...

Err...they absolutely were. The whole company were working frantically to get 2E out the door and they didn’t quite manage to achieve what they wanted.

If this book had been the size of the ISWG, there’s no way they’d have been able to achieve it.

Scarab Sages

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Steve Geddes wrote:

As another datapoint (to the point that this doesn’t represent a change in policy, just a characterisation of supplement vs core book):

This was the ISWG’s precursor a 256 page PDF for $35.

The Inner Sea World Guide was the exception, not the rule.

That price point is utterly disgusting, beyond belief.

Here's a close example to counter that.
Exalted Third Edition Supplement Book The Realm: 192 pages for $15 PDF. No lack of anything interior wise either.

There is NO chance that a 256 page book, is worth $35 as a PDF. That's what we call price gouging, pure and simple.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
As for asking them, I rather be blunt and forward with what it exactly looks like. Ripping customers off for less content, or just not putting it out all together in one book. So that they can make more money off smaller bits of it.

I doubt you’ll get the answer you’re looking for then. Do you actually want to understand the reasons behind the pricing?

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
It isn't like they were in a rush...

Err...they absolutely were. The whole company were working frantically to get 2E out the door and they didn’t quite manage to achieve what they wanted.

If this book had been the size of the ISWG, there’s no way they’d have been able to achieve it.

That's their problem, not ours.

We shouldn't have to pay through the teeth, because they can't get their product out in time, and at a level that equals content and pricing balance.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

As another datapoint (to the point that this doesn’t represent a change in policy, just a characterisation of supplement vs core book):

This was the ISWG’s precursor a 256 page PDF for $35.

The Inner Sea World Guide was the exception, not the rule.

That price point is utterly disgusting, beyond belief.

Here's a close example to counter that.
Exalted Third Edition Supplement Book The Realm: 192 pages for $15 PDF. No lack of anything interior wise either.

There is NO chance that a 256 page book, is worth $35 as a PDF. That's what we call price gouging, pure and simple.

Well that was years ago.

I disagree again (I think it’s worth more) but I don’t have any interest arguing about value - that’s just a subjective judgement we all make.

My point though is that nothing has changed, the ISWG was an exception to their standard, established pricing model.

Scarab Sages

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
As for asking them, I rather be blunt and forward with what it exactly looks like. Ripping customers off for less content, or just not putting it out all together in one book. So that they can make more money off smaller bits of it.
I doubt you’ll get the answer you’re looking for then. Do you actually want to understand the reasons behind the pricing?

It's amazing that I have to "understand" the reasons behind the pricing. When I literally just showed you only ONE company, their product, and sensible pricing versus page count. Go to Drivethrurpg, look around, it isn't hard to compare. Again, it's THEIR problem, not ours, for pricing things incorrectly. We the consumer aren't the ones at fault, for complaining about it.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

As another datapoint (to the point that this doesn’t represent a change in policy, just a characterisation of supplement vs core book):

This was the ISWG’s precursor a 256 page PDF for $35.

The Inner Sea World Guide was the exception, not the rule.

That price point is utterly disgusting, beyond belief.

Here's a close example to counter that.
Exalted Third Edition Supplement Book The Realm: 192 pages for $15 PDF. No lack of anything interior wise either.

There is NO chance that a 256 page book, is worth $35 as a PDF. That's what we call price gouging, pure and simple.

Well that was years ago.

I disagree again (I think it’s worth more) but I don’t have any interest arguing about value - that’s just a subjective judgement we all make.

My point though is that nothing has changed, the ISWG was an exception to their standard, established pricing model.

I rather utilize facts instead of subjective, which is why I compare prices and content of other companies. Numbers are numbers, business is business, plain and simple.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
It isn't like they were in a rush...

Err...they absolutely were. The whole company were working frantically to get 2E out the door and they didn’t quite manage to achieve what they wanted.

If this book had been the size of the ISWG, there’s no way they’d have been able to achieve it.

That's their problem, not ours.

We shouldn't have to pay through the teeth, because they can't get their product out in time, and at a level that equals content and pricing balance.

I don’t know if you’re following the argument. I was speculating as to why they didn’t release a campaign setting core book - because they didn’t have time. You said they weren’t in a rush, I pointed out they were...

I’m really not sure what “not my problem” even means in that context.

It’s not terribly important though - I’m not trying to change your mind in value or what you think they “should” have done. Merely pointing out, that their PDF pricing policy hasn’t really changed. I’m certainly not trying to argue you into anything.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
As for asking them, I rather be blunt and forward with what it exactly looks like. Ripping customers off for less content, or just not putting it out all together in one book. So that they can make more money off smaller bits of it.
I doubt you’ll get the answer you’re looking for then. Do you actually want to understand the reasons behind the pricing?

It's amazing that I have to "understand" the reasons behind the pricing. When I literally just showed you only ONE company, their product, and sensible pricing versus page count. Go to Drivethrurpg, look around, it isn't hard to compare. Again, it's THEIR problem, not ours, for pricing things incorrectly. We the consumer aren't the ones at fault, for complaining about it.

No you don’t “have to”... I asked you if you wanted to. It was a genuine question.

This is a weird conversation. I get the feeling you’re not reading what I’m saying but are just doggedly having an argument based on what you expect me to think.

I’ll repeat, I AGREE with you that it’s weird there’s no core campaign book.

I agree with Joana that the PDF pricing policy hasn’t changed (you do too now, right?)

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:

An easy example, as I was just purchasing this recently: Mutants & Masterminds 3E. Here are some PDF prices, rounded up for convenience sake.

Basic Hero's Handbook: 128 pages/$17
Power Profiles: 224 pages/$20
Rogue's Gallery: 174 pages/$18
Supernatural Sourcebook: 152 pages/$15
Gadget Guide: 136 pages/$16
Cosmic Handbook: 139 pages/$15
Hero High, Remastered: 176 pages/$18

Cheers. Just to be sure, those all feature the same amount of art, right? That’s one of the principal cost drivers.
Oh yeah, M&M never skimps on their art, their interior designing, all of it. Very bright, colorful, artistic, the whole nine yards. It's basically one of the main reasons, if you want to run superhero RPGs, M&M has been no.1 since their first edition. And continues to be so still.
Okay, I’ll go look at the gadget guide. That’s the best comparison by pagecount, I think.

Give it a whirl, one thing I love about M&M, is that every page is PACKED with info, as well as being engaging. Art, color, framing, all of it. Green Ronin is a MUCH smaller company than Paizo. They can put out this level of quality, for that cheap a price. They understand I feel that they can't waste space, time, etc.

While Paizo thinks they can gut customers for less content?
Yeah, that's not how business works guys. LOL

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
It isn't like they were in a rush...

Err...they absolutely were. The whole company were working frantically to get 2E out the door and they didn’t quite manage to achieve what they wanted.

If this book had been the size of the ISWG, there’s no way they’d have been able to achieve it.

That's their problem, not ours.

We shouldn't have to pay through the teeth, because they can't get their product out in time, and at a level that equals content and pricing balance.

I don’t know if you’re following the argument. I was speculating as to why they didn’t release a campaign setting core book - because they didn’t have time. You said they weren’t in a rush, I pointed out they were...

I’m really not sure what “not my problem” even means in that context.

It’s not terribly important though - I’m not trying to change your mind in value or what you think they “should” have done. Merely pointing out, that their PDF pricing policy hasn’t really changed. I’m certainly not trying to argue you into anything.

Ok I see what you mean, here's my response to that.

If your company is in a rush, too bad. If the company screwed up, that's their problem.
The consumer shouldn't have to pay more for a company's screw ups, ever.
They should have produced ONE "core" Lost Omens World Guide, comprised of all three books' content. And released it at say, the end of October/beginning of December.
Instead they think releasing three books, at less content, and spiking the price, will work. It's easy to show how that doesn't, comparing it to any other company out there, with their pricing.

Scarab Sages

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
As for asking them, I rather be blunt and forward with what it exactly looks like. Ripping customers off for less content, or just not putting it out all together in one book. So that they can make more money off smaller bits of it.
I doubt you’ll get the answer you’re looking for then. Do you actually want to understand the reasons behind the pricing?

It's amazing that I have to "understand" the reasons behind the pricing. When I literally just showed you only ONE company, their product, and sensible pricing versus page count. Go to Drivethrurpg, look around, it isn't hard to compare. Again, it's THEIR problem, not ours, for pricing things incorrectly. We the consumer aren't the ones at fault, for complaining about it.

No you don’t “have to”... I asked you if you wanted to. It was a genuine question.

This is a weird conversation. I get the feeling you’re not reading what I’m saying but are just doggedly having an argument based on what you expect me to think.

I’ll repeat, I AGREE with you that it’s weird there’s no core campaign book.

I agree with Joana that the PDF pricing policy hasn’t changed (you do too now, right?)

Well if you think I'm just "doggedly having an argument" with you, I won't continue conversing with you. That's a quick way to just shut down a conversation at any point.

I don't expect you to think anything, I easily can point out facts, prices, etc.
I'm so happy Joana's PDF pricing policy hasn't changed, good for them.
HOWEVER, it's also easy to point out, that Paizo in this, is gouging their customers. Because they want to make more money from hiking smaller supplements. Than putting out one book for less, since it would be a core book.
Thanks for proving that point honestly quite clearly.

As well, it's easy to show other companies putting out the same level of content and quality, for a much less price value.
There is no reason a 136 page book, should be anything more than $15. None. $25 is price gouging at it's best. It should not be tolerated by anyone. I would be more than happy, to have Joana, or any official Paizo employee, try to prove that point anyday, anytime.
Because at that time, I will start listing PDF product, after product, from other companies. That makes their prices look ridiculous.


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So I looked through the Gadget Guide for M&M and it’s pretty clear that the products aren’t analogous beyond being the same number of pages. That’s apart from the fact that GG came out five years ago (which may or may not make a difference, I haven’t looked at any recent Green Ronin products to compare).

I counted thirty three pieces of art in the entire book. The Lost Omens World Guide is packed with art and cartography - that would explain the difference on its own (I blew past thirty three pieces very quickly before I stopped counting).

Art and cartography is way more expensive per square inch than text.

Silver Crusade

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I’m curious, why does electronic versions of products have to be heavily discounted to be “sensible”?

Silver Crusade

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I counted thirty three pieces of art in the entire book. The Lost Omens World Guide is packed with art and cartography - that would explain the difference on its own (I blew past thirty three pieces very quickly before I stopped counting).
33 pieces of art in an 136 page book [Gadget Guide] is... not a lot. At all.
Quote:
Art and cartography is way more expensive per square inch than text.

This. Oh so much.

Scarab Sages

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Steve Geddes wrote:

So I looked through the Gadget Guide for M&M and it’s pretty clear that the products aren’t analogous beyond being the same number of pages. That’s apart from the fact that GG came out five years ago (which may or may not make a difference, I haven’t looked at any recent Green Ronin products to compare).

I counted thirty three pieces of art in the entire book. The Lost Omens World Guide is packed with art and cartography - that would explain the difference on its own (I blew past thirty three pieces very quickly before I stopped counting).

Art and cartography is way more expensive per square inch than text.

So I'm paying for a bunch of art pieces, and cartography? You're joking. You think you can justify +$10 comparing both books, on THOSE grounds? And if that's the case, I can just keep throwing PDF example at you, that continues my point. I also love how you state that beyond the same page content, they aren't analogous. Uhm, the page count should MAKE THEM analogous. They are both supplement books for a core RPG, which means that makes them equatable.

The art REMOVES written content. The Gadget Guide is packed with more info easily.
So by stating that, you're saying that the Lost Omens book, has more filler, than solid content.
So instead of having a book filled with information (which is sort of needed for a world guide), they decided to hack it down, throw more art inside, and spread the info across three books. To gouge the customer more.
So basically Paizo is expecting us to pay for more pretty pictures, than content in their books.
Ah, point proven easily. Thanks for that, again.

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
I’m curious, why does electronic versions of products have to be heavily discounted to be “sensible”?

Because it's on an electronic medium, and not in print. Paper has now basically become a luxury item. It's why print books are so insanely expensive to purchase. Hard covers even more so. Why many companies don't go the hardcover route anymore. And PoD (Print on Demand) often offer both hard and soft versions, for customers that don't wish to pay more. The production of a PDF, is vastly cheaper than having it printed out. Also saves on possible losses. If the print copy doesn't sell, what do you do with all that money spent? An electronic book, is just that, data online. As well, space concerns. People live in much smaller housing now, they can't afford to have it filled with numerous books. And why bother, you can read it on your computer, or put it on a larger screen as well.

It's just the way the world has shifted overall.

Scarab Sages

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33 pieces of art in an 136 page book is... not a lot. At all.

Quote:
Art and cartography is way more expensive per square inch than text.
This. Oh so much.

Which tells you something about the two books.

The Gadget Guide is filled with more content, tightly packed into the pages.
The Lost Omens Guide, has more art filler put in, to not included as much content. Which lets them make the excuse of spreading said total Lost Omens info, across more books. And making you pay for it.
So instead of one book, packed with all the info, and having less art, they'll gouge us over three. Sketchy actions by Paizo IMO.

Silver Crusade

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Hunters Moon wrote:
So I'm paying for a bunch of art pieces, and cartography?
Very much so.
Quote:
So by stating that, you're saying that the Lost Omens book, has more filler, than solid content.
I beg your pardon.
Quote:

So instead of having a book filled with information (which is sort of needed for a world guide), they decided to hack it down, throw more art inside, and spread the info across three books. To gouge the customer more.

So basically Paizo is expecting us to pay for more pretty pictures, than content in their books.

Yes, they decided to gouge their customers by filling their books with beautiful art, art that costs highly more per page than the same amount of words would.

Silver Crusade

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Hunters Moon wrote:
Rysky wrote:
I’m curious, why does electronic versions of products have to be heavily discounted to be “sensible”?

Because it's on an electronic medium, and not in print. Paper has now basically become a luxury item. It's why print books are so insanely expensive to purchase. Hard covers even more so. Why many companies don't go the hardcover route anymore. And PoD (Print on Demand) often offer both hard and soft versions, for customers that don't wish to pay more. The production of a PDF, is vastly cheaper than having it printed out. Also saves on possible losses. If the print copy doesn't sell, what do you do with all that money spent? An electronic book, is just that, data online. As well, space concerns. People live in much smaller housing now, they can't afford to have it filled with numerous books. And why bother, you can read it on your computer, or put it on a larger screen as well.

It's just the way the world has shifted overall.

Printing is probably the cheapest part of producing a book, after you get through art, the words, and the editing.

The fact that PDFs save money does nothing to justify them being sold incredibly cheaper than the print product, a luxury item as you state. The same amount of work went into creating both.

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:
Hunters Moon wrote:
So I'm paying for a bunch of art pieces, and cartography?[/b]Very much so.[quoteWSo by stating that, you're saying that the Lost Omens book, has more filler, than solid content.
I beg your pardon.
Quote:

So instead of having a book filled with information (which is sort of needed for a world guide), they decided to hack it down, throw more art inside, and spread the info across three books. To gouge the customer more.

So basically Paizo is expecting us to pay for more pretty pictures, than content in their books.
Yes, they decided to gouge their customers by filling their books with beautiful art, art that costs highly more per page than the same amount of words would.

Yes, they are gouging their customers, by, instead of putting, you know, WRITTEN INFORMATION about the world, they just put art instead. Which reduces the amount of content in said book, and let's them spread it across three books.

But hey, this being an RPG, let's get less written content in our books....You'd think that maybe for a World Guide, we'd need more written content, then art.


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Hunters Moon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

So I looked through the Gadget Guide for M&M and it’s pretty clear that the products aren’t analogous beyond being the same number of pages. That’s apart from the fact that GG came out five years ago (which may or may not make a difference, I haven’t looked at any recent Green Ronin products to compare).

I counted thirty three pieces of art in the entire book. The Lost Omens World Guide is packed with art and cartography - that would explain the difference on its own (I blew past thirty three pieces very quickly before I stopped counting).

Art and cartography is way more expensive per square inch than text.

So I'm paying for a bunch of art pieces, and cartography?

Well no. I presume you're not going to.

That's part of what paizo are selling though and whether you value it or not, the market does.

I wasn't really posting that for your benefit but for others who might be interested in how GG can be so cheap.

(Green Ronin are a great company from everything I've heard so I'm sure they're paying their authors well).

Silver Crusade

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You know almost all the written information goes up for free on the Archives of Nethys and the Pathfinderwiki right?

I’m not being gouged, art is one of the main reasons I buy Paizo’s product. A piece of art can convey just as much information as a written description can.


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@ Hunter's Moon: I think Sslaran's comments here on the realities of RPG product pricing were very helpful.

Here's my educated guess at to what's going on. Paizo loses money on pdfs for core rulebooks. So they have to charge more on the non-core books to stay solvent.

Now, you can reasonably ask why their expenses are so high. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that they put much more high-quality art in their books than most RPG publishers. The second is that they spend more man-hours per page than most RPG publishers. This is why Paizo has more full-time employers than any other RPG company -- because they spend so much time on their products.

You can also reasonably wonder whether this product-model is sustainable. You might be right that it's not. But in order to offer lower prices on their products they would need to do one of two things:

1) Stop putting so much high-quality art in their products.

2) Stop spending so much time on their products, by cutting down on time spent proof-reading, editing, testing and developing material. And they could do this by either:

a) Producing more material with their current staff, or

b) Laying off much of their workforce, and producing the same amount of material with fewer staff.

But what they (literally) cannot afford to do is to continue to use the same amount of high-quality art and spend the same amount of time on products and just cut their prices. This would drive the company out of business.

Given that, I am curious: which of the above options would you like Paizo to pursue? (There are no wrong answers here - I'm genuinely curious.)

EDIT: More helpful information on the realities of product pricing can be found in
this post and this post. I recall reading another helpful post by a RPG product producer on the extraordinary cost of art, but I haven't found it yet...

Scarab Sages

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Rysky wrote:

You know almost all the written information goes up for free on the Archives of Nethys and the Pathfinderwiki right?

I’m not being gouged, art is one of the main reasons I buy Paizo’s product. A piece of art can convey just as much information as a written description can.

If all the info is going up on those sites for free, why would I pay so much in the first place? You are now just giving me reasons NOT to purchase Paizo content, and just use the sites beyond having a Core Book.

And the world building information does NOT go up on the sites. Just the rules that are posted. Again, sort of the reason you BUY a World Guide, it helps fill in the world you're playing in. A piece of art cannot convey the specific information that the extensive written content gives at length about the world.

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Hunters Moon wrote:


I guess I should have stated this, I am a professional writer. The art REMOVES written content.

As a professional writer, I'm sure you've had at least tangential experience with the way in which art impacts a product's price. Paying the artist who did the cover of my most recent novel, for example, probably cost more than my first royalty check.

Despite the cost, however, art is a huge driver of sales. That's a reason why many small presses struggle to compete with those companies with bigger art budgets.

The pricing of the Lost Omens World Guide PDF is consistent with Paizo's established PDF pricing, so it seems your issue relates to the hard cover pricing, which is unfortunately in line with much of the rest of the market. The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, for example, clocks in at $40 for 160 pages and was released four years ago.

We could probably get bigger releases that cost less per page and come out only a couple times a year, but none of us know how that impacts the company's schedule or business plan. Would they keep up subscription numbers if they released two Lost Omens books per year at higher price points with more content? I have no idea.

Again, as a professional writer, I'm sure you're aware that words on the page are only a small fraction of a book's cost. Writers may think their work is the most important part of a project*, but economic reality begs to differ.

Spoiler:
*BECAUSE IT IS, DARN IT! :-P


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Hunters Moon wrote:
I also love how you state that beyond the same page content, they aren't analogous. Uhm, the page count should MAKE THEM analogous. They are both supplement books for a core RPG, which means that makes them equatable.

That isnt how business works.

You equate books of the same page count. That feeds into your purchasing decisions and from your above post you presumably find text heavy RPG books better value than ones with lots of art.

The publisher though has to factor in the costs. If two books are of similar size but one is much more expensive to make, that one will cost more.

That isn't gouging that's the way companies can stay in business.


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A couple of comments from my perspective:

- compared to the ISWG, the PDF price has increased dramatically. While I think it is fair to ask the question as to why they are not pricing it as a "core" book, ultimately, it is Paizo's choice. I don't agree with your assessment that they are gouging their customer based based on the price of a single product.

- I would assume that pricing of PF2 has been set based on costs/market drivers for 2019. There is now way for us to understand how their cost structure has changed over the years. To assume that PDF pricing would remain "stagnant" is unrealistic, IMHO. While a digital medium, all the costs associated to creating, developing, maintaining and managing the product have increased

- the old setting guides have a list price of ~$18 and PDF price of $13...a ratio of ~72%. The new guides have a list price of $35 and $37 vs a PDF price of ~71%. The PDF pricing seems to be in line; the cost of the books has increased dramatically (double the page count and hard cover)...about what I would expect see today

Of course, all this is my perspective/opinion.

Liberty's Edge

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First off, thanks for moving this to another thread as requested by Paizo’s customer service. Hopefully this will not be ignored simply for being moved off of the product page discussion. Since Joanna was nice enough to repost my own opinion toward the top of this discussion, let me chime in further.

I was extremely skeptical of Pathfinder Second Edition. The play test left me concerned about the future of Paizo, much like D&D 4E did to those diehard players. It seemed to be change for changes sake, with no clear unifying idea behind the design except what NOT to do. I was considering dropping out of Pathfinder altogether, the newest edition giving me an excuse to leave... and that’s a terrible thing for a Pathfinder Society Venture Captain to admit after playing, supporting and yes, shilling for Paizo and Pathfinder for over 10 years. And I wasn’t alone. While I kept my personal feelings private, putting on a brave face and cheerleading in my region, most of my players expressed the same discontent. Then the final reduction released.

Locally, we ran a intro event that combined playing through a Quest with pregenerated characters followed by a character creation session. The response was overwhelmingly positive. My local store sold out of CRBs in the first day, and turned around and sold 6 more within a week. They sold almost as many copies of the Bestiary; not a single person complained about price or quality of the books, though most of them noted that they might have to resort to buying digital copies of future books to save their backs. All of this background provides context for why I made my original post.

I number of my players are balking at buying the new World Guide. Anticipating the same level of excitement for that hardcover, the owner of my FLGS purchased an initial order of 10 of these, less than half of what he ordered for the CRB, but not knowing how well they would move, he considered that a conservative number. Of those, he has only one guaranteed sale: myself. I’m a firm believer in supporting your local game store, especially if they host our organized play games. Already though, I’m hearing complaints from my player base about the value of that book. It is roughly 160 pages of content, of which less a quarter of which is actual mechanics; the rest is fluff about the campaign world. Essential fluff, but fluff nonetheless. In answer to this apparent disparency between prize and product, a number of them looked to Paizo for a digital copy... and found the cost there too high to justify as well. Now some of them are talking of staying with PF1, drifting into home games, or dropping out altogether. As much as Paizo doesn’t want to admit it, Pathfinder Society is the life-blood of Pathfinder: simply put, it is the marketing arm of the product. Right now, I am in danger of losing 1) my player base, and 2) continued store support over the cost of one hardcover book. Both are looking down the road and seeing this as an issue, with more product to come and no guarantee that the price point will skew toward what they consider a good value.

The breakdown of pricing is what causes the biggest issue. The hardcover of the new Core Rulebook has a value of roughly $.09 per page. Likewise, the Bestiary breaks down to roughly $.11 per page. Both of those are acceptable to my players and they didn’t even bat an eye on purchasing either of them. The Lost Omens World Guide though has a cost of $.22 per page... and not a lot of value when you consider that roughly 25 pages of that are useful for character building. And the Players Guide doesn’t look to be much better for the value, though I suspect the actual rules/mechanics to take up far more space. In most cases, this wouldn't be much of a worry; a chunk of the players would just purchase pdfs of the books direct from Paizo, the store would order less (based on pre-order information) and life would go on. The expense of the pdfs though will lead to players either 1) using the FREE sources such as Articles of Nethys, or 2) downloading pirated copies. Neither of these will help PFS play since a player is required to own the actual source materially, either in physical or digital form.

This isn’t a new problem either. We saw a similar dip in interest in Starfinder print sales based on much that same issue: too little content/page count for too much money. At least in that, the pdfs were still affordable—something that keeps it hanging on despite a seeming lack of product support.

With Pathfinder Second Edition, this problem seems to have escalated. There is no more affordable Companion line to appeal to a “for player’s only” ideal. Like Starfinder, the Campaign Setting is all there will be be. And apparently, it will be all hardcovers. At an escalated price.

I implore Paizo to consider the impact their pricing has on their overall sales BEFORE it has a detrimental effect of their ability to produce more. Pathfinder Second Edition is a FANTASTIC system, and one I have no problem promoting. But not at this price point—especially for digital/virtual product. Please reconsider.

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