Dear Alderaac Entertainment Group (henceforth AEG):Having just received notification from DTRPG that Imperial Histories is finally available in PDF, I thought I would write this brief, and somewhat humorous letter. This is a complaint letter. When I purchase Imperial Histories in PDF I will have spent $65 (plus tax, which I will not count as this varies state to state) to own copies of your book in a format I can use as well as a format I can acquire on release day. I understand your business model is predicated on people buying things, and I do not begrudge you the sale, truly. In fact, I will even accept responsibility for having purchased a hard copy of the book which I will be allowing my fiance to use even though it was my hard earned money.
However, I would like to make the following modest proposal/humble suggestion, based on how well my transactions with other game systems available in both PDF and Hard Copy have gone.
Have you considered participation in the Bits and Mortar program? Such luminaries as Evil Hat Productions (home of the Dresden Files RPG) participate in this program, which grants purchasers of the hard copy version of a book to recieve a PDF free of charge with proof of purchase (often via the very same store they bought the book at).
Or perhaps you would be willing to consider the option of offering a PDF/Book bundle, where one pays a nominal charge to recieve a PDF when purchasing a hard copy? White Wolf does this through DTRPG, and one must assume that it is successful for them, as new books keep being issued that way.
Even if you found some alternate method of distribution through your own store, along with its fairly outrageous shipping fees for books (I should not be paying half-again the cost of a book for ground shipping…but that is a rant for another day) I would appreciate it more than the half-baked system you currently employ.
Why is that you might ask? Because no one at AEG or DTRPG knew the date this book would be released in PDF, and each member of this vague alliance assured me that the other side should know the answer. I am going to assume, because I am generous and kind of spirit, that what happened is that the customer service person at AEG did not know when the commercial PDF would be finished, due to the design team or some such withholding the date from him.
However, since the hard copy had a release date and that could be obtained, if nothing else, I have to ask why your calendar is so disorganized. Perhaps the commercial PDF needed more work from the In-Design document it was generated from (I must assume this is the case even though my iPad reliably tells me that my L5R books are named such things as “first chapter.indd” which feels like much of an oversight for an additional month’s worth of polishing between printing and PDF release…). Perhaps you simply wished to push hard copy sales as they generate more revenue for your company (although one wonders, since a PDF has fewer over all production costs…).
Nonetheless, if you will not offer concurrent released (which would be my greatest hope), will you at least consider getting on one page with regards to knowing when things come out?
A Girl Gamer who Likes Your System but Thinks She May Not Buy Anymore of Your Books