Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rise of ePublishing

I was really disappointed when Hasbro discontinued PDF sales. It never occurred to me that they would do something so stupid, unfortunately the only PDF I bought was the 1st edition DMG. I had planned to buy more, but TOO LATE!

There is money in my bank account that would be in Hasbro's bank account now. Thanks Hasbro!

Every product ever published by TSR/Wizards should be for sale as a PDF on Kindle, iBooks, Smashwords, RPGnow, wherever! Each title may not mean a lot of money, but cumulatively that's hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars not flowing to Hasbro.

I guess I can't be too hard on them, many traditional publishers are having a hard time coming to terms with the new market. Random House is only just now starting to get a clue. The Kindle is cheaper than ever, the iPad is ridiculously popular and represents the future of computing for most people, and we RPG fans would just be happy to have all of our precious little books all on our devices of choice for instant viewing and enjoyment.

I have my old-school collection on my iPad, and that's the only rulebook I need to bring to the game table, with some paper, pencil, and dice and I'm ready to go.

If anyone doubts the power of epublishing they only need to look at new and upcoming authors. Amanda Hocking makes more than most of us will in a lifetime, and she's never been published by a "real" publishing company. All she does is sell her novels on kindle for 99 cents a copy.

What I am saying my friends is the OSR has a future. And it is ePublishing.


  1. Let me tell Hasbro exactly how to do it, step by step.

    1. Hire an intern for minimum wage.
    2. Set them in front of a cheap computer with an OCR scanner and Photoshop.
    3. Pile every TSR/Wizard's product ever published from the archives next to them. A week later you have millions of dollars worth of PDF files ready to sell.
    4. Upload the files to Amazon/iBooks/Smashwords/RPGnow
    5. Make money.

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

  2. Wait a minute, there were really 1st edition AD&D rulebook pdfs once available for purchase from Wizbro?

    When did this occur?

    Was it at the same time as the mini-books came out?

    Illuminate me, please!

  3. @Thomas: The worst of it is we *know* they've already done the 'give it to the intern' gruntwork. WOTC have all those PDFs in the archive and are just squatting on them like a miser hoarding his gold.

    @biopunk: WOTC only poisoned the well in April 2009. Up until then most of TSR's back catalogue were available as PDFs from Paizo, DrivethruRPG and similar. It was a semi-detatched relationship; WOTC would take the money, but wouldn't look the purchasers in the eye while doing so.

  4. I think the problem could be WotC's close proximity to MicroSoft. They pick up a lot of staff from there and that could explain why all their online stuff is PC only, MicroSoft Silverlight, and they don't seem to have any interest in Tablets yet.

  5. biopunk: yep, they had quite a few available through DrivethruRPG, then they abruptly pulled the plug a while ago.

    Chris: you're probably right, everything has probably already been digitized.

    Stuart: I work in software development, and have been around software projects Wizards was producing. They are sadly clueless to the process, every piece of software they've touched has been an unmitigated disaster.

  6. I've warez'd all the AD&D modules after they stopped selling them and would pay for them if they wanted my money.