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    Paper vs. e-Book
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 14, 2009
    Posts: 170
    From: Laporte IN.

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:31 am  
    Paper vs. e-Book

    I work at a very large publishing company. Friday, we had a 1-hour video meeting about how the e-books are changing the publishing industry. Our sales for 2010 where projected to be at around 4%, but the sales where around 9%. Their projected sales of e-books by 2015 was around 20%, but now their thinking it could reach 50% in TOTAL sales. Over the past year alone, a estimated 15 million i-pads were sold world wide. Not to exclude all of the app's for cell phones, kendalls and so on.
    Now, I'm a old school gamer and I love my old books. I also love getting my hands on some of the new material that is being published right now. I was sad to see a few years back when dragon and dungeon magazine went to e-books. I just like the feel of having a book or magazine in my hands.
    My question is this: what is your thought on Paper vs. e-Books?
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 76
    From: Denton, Tx

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:54 am  

    I prefer dead tree books. I like the feel of them and they are easier on my aging eyes. But I do think e-books have their place at the gaming table. They have a smaller footprint and are way more portable. Who really wants to lug all the books that are needed to the game.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 13, 2006
    Posts: 654
    From: Frinton on Sea England

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:10 am  

    Got no plans to buy an e-book reader myself; but then I'm well known for my Luddite tendencies.

    I do have a fair collection of pdfs, however, for the same reasons of portability mentioned above.

    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 1
    From: Strafford NH

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:19 am  

    I like to have the book in my hands also, hell I'm 41 and I've never had a cell phone so I'm sort of a luddite myself.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 14, 2005
    Posts: 105
    From: SW Missouri

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:34 am  

    I personally like physical books. While I am interested in e-books, I would rather have them as a supplement and not a replacement to the real thing.

    Julian<div><br /></div><div><br /></div>
    Site Theocrat

    Joined: Aug 15, 2003
    Posts: 235
    From: WoG 2.0

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:22 pm  

    Playing Pathfinder exclusively now since it came out, I have all of the books in hardcover. I also get the PDF's as well. Because I don't my chronicles or companion books to get stolen at game days and con's I've had the PDF's printed and bound into one book (so all 5 races books are together). Same with the gods and the Inner Sea Region books. Works well enough.
    However for novels, I have a Galaxy Epic from Sprint phone. I have been reading Paizo's novels in e-Pub format for the past two novels and have been giving away the actual copies at game day. I will actually be canceling my subscription to the novels themselves as I already have one bookcase filled with books to read and the e-Pub format is just perfect. I never go anywhere without my phone.
    The ePub reader program also reads PDF's - so I have all the books in it as well. That and a netbook at the game table, I now only take the CoreRules and Advanced Players Guide with me when I'm playing. When I'm organizing the Game Day and Con's that's when I bring my printed copies. But even those, I won't be adding anymore - as Wiki's now have most of the material and I've found most players only use what they actually always have available to them.
    But I prefer having a hardcover core rules vs just having a PDF.
    Theocrat Issak
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2010
    Posts: 95
    From: San Diego, CA

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:38 pm  
    Wave of the future

    We all love our paper modules and books we grew up with. The tactile nature of it surely has it's appeal... I'm an artist and still need my paper, but paper is going to become a minority product within the next 10 years, if not sooner.

    I point to several things:

    With the amount of iPads, Kindles, smart phones, etc. being sold every quarter... it's the way of things to come. They are even using these items to entice people to buy cars. The use of these in hospitals, restaurants, and other locations where manuals, menus, and other things of this nature are becoming the standard. Anyone who disagrees, I point to my next statement...

    With major brick and mortar book sellers announcing the closure of many of their stores nationwide as they retool to figure out how to adapt to new ways of delivering old content. NPR had a huge story on independent book sellers a couple of weeks back, detailing the dilemma they are faced with as book sales are down dramatically and if they should offer books for download or just close their doors. Just this week, Borders announced in Wall Street Journal, that they are closing many of their stores (4 pages!) as they head into bankruptcy. It's like music stores all over again, publishing is the thing dying now, with television and movies being forced into their death throws as they figure out how to narrowcast and keep up with the coming tide.

    I think it would be smart to do small runs of actual books or print on demand for those that want to cling to that to keep down costs for your company, while optimizing your books now for PDF or eReaders as downloadable options. That's just smart to do so.

    On a personal level, I'm waiting until the next version of the iPad comes out. I've scanned in and converted many of my D&D books to PDF and use my laptop almost exclusively and it's kind of funny, but in order to save space on a table, I'd love an iPad right about now behind my DM screen... Razz

    Heck, there are even iPhone D&D character apps, so you never are without your character sheet for those dreaded moments when you've "forgotten it" somewhere...
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 11, 2009
    Posts: 351
    From: Aspedri

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:12 pm  

    I always liked the feel of books. While I use PDFs all the time recreationally and professionally, I just prefer reading from a hard document. I always feel as if I retain it better, and it is easier for me to find things by flipping through a book than through a pdf (though "find" is very helpful.

    That having been said, and not having gamed in a long time, I think I would not mind having my laptop and its library of pdfs on hand as a supplement at least. More importantly, I think that VBA could be used to make alot of those random tables we love so much far more accessible and less time-consuming to consult. While Excel had until recently a garbage random number genrator (you can upgrade to a Mersenne Twister online). This obviusly requires a bit of a front end-investment, but it could work out really well.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2586
    From: Ullinois

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    Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:16 pm  

    Welcome Cyrusalthantas and ULO.

    Nice topic BZ. How do I feel? Well I am in the PDF for reference, but not at the game table crowd. I have to weigh the pros with the cons. In the bookless scene, if a player needs to look something up they have to either A) have the document on their device as well or B) borrow yours which is tantamount to seeing the DM's notes IMO. Digital character sheets bother me too, for the same referential reason. Its easier to just grab the paper sheet and glance than have a file transferred, found, opened and read. I also firmly believe people who craft a character from a paper book onto paper have a better grasp of the rules behind their PC than someone who uses a generator to do the thinking/math for them. This is in my experience mind you. Then of course there is my #1 peeve, the ADD factor. A game book at the table is only going to distract a player if it is read, but it is on topic at least. An iPhone or iPad at the game table? Nightmare. Every player at my game table (Pelor love em) has one or more of these hand held devices now (I have none) and without exception all are doing something other than RPGs with them. Every little off topic conversation that once was 'looked up later' is now a 5 minute sidetrack to wikipedia or google. Once again this is in my experience, of the 30-40 year old crowd. I cannot possibly believe younger audiences would be better behaved at a game table with such digital toys.
    But I am a realist and yes, eBooks are the wave of the future. And once table top gaming with actual dice is strangled to death maybe us luddites will be able to enjoy a quiet distraction free game of D&D in the old folks home together. I can dream!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 13, 2006
    Posts: 654
    From: Frinton on Sea England

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    Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:38 am  

    Where are you planning to site this old folk's home, mort.

    Somewhere nice I hope.

    Perhaps you could call it retirecon; "check in, don't stop playin' 'til ya check out". Cool
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 490
    From: Dantredun, MN

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    Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:33 pm  

    Good topic! Long reply: 3 pros, 2 cons, and some thinking out loud. Here goes!

    Space. I filled up a six-foot-tall set of bookshelves with D+D books by the time I was twenty. That was ten years ago. Much as I love the hobby, I can't justify more space for books. Since then, I've had a "no net gain" policy for printed material and have made room on the shelves by sacrificing existing items (goodbye Forgotten Realms!). I like how PDF's grant me the space to "own" materials in which I have only a passing interest.

    Portability. I can't be bothered to DM a Greyhawk campaign outside of my living room because I want access to all of my materials. Maybe this will change as my electronic library grows.

    Preservation vs. IP. This one's tricky. On one hand, digital publishing has given us access to long out-of-print collectors' items like (most of) Mentzer's R series. On the other, it subjects us to the whims of the copyright holder and takes away the consumer's resale market. When WotC decided to pull the plug on Piazo downloads, they gave us what, one day to go and re-download any items we'd already purchased and may have lost? So much for consumer rights. In situations where the product was pdf only and never had a paper release it's even worse. Look at what Gygax Games did to the Trolls. Good luck finding a copy of the pdf-only Castle Zagyg: East Corner. I've been searching it on Google for two years with no luck; apparently the author never even got a copy.

    Screens suck. As do Mortellan's points about the ADD factor. I like pen and paper role playing because it's just that - not digital. It's one of the few activities I can do these days that doesn't involve staring at a screen. If some sort of Kindle or tablet eventually becomes available for, like, ten bucks, I'll throw it on the table as the Dragon Magazine Archive or Spelljammer rules, but it won't become the Player's Handbook.

    Finally, this is some speculation, but I think the collection and study of electronic documents may lead to a less thorough understanding of the content than one gets from reading the hardbacks. Maybe it's just me, but there seems to be more questions posted these these days, here and elsewhere, asking about basic details easily found in the core GH materials. Not that these questions are bad or aren't fun to answer; they just leave me wondering what the new Greyhawkers are using as a primary reference.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

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    Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:56 pm  

    True, searchable pdf's(not scans) are valuable as research aids, but nothing beats a hard copy; especially for somebody like myself who does not own a laptop. Prolonged reading of a computer screen also sucks(brightness, reading angle).

    Paizo has been rather smart in what they have been doing- selling hard copy books alongside PDFs. Some prefer one, some the other, but if you buy the hard copy direct from them you get the PDF thrown in too. Not only do you get the very comfortable to read hard copy, but also the very searchable PDF for reference- the perfect combination. That's called giving ALL of your customers what they want. Full service. Imagine that. Cool

    PDFs are nice and all, especially for the really hard to find things that not many copies were printed of, or for things that you just want to have for reference(but don't really intend to use that much), but I prefer hard copies of everything.
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 12, 2001
    Posts: 188
    From: Hanover Park

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    Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:56 pm  

    Hi all,

    The majority of my gaming collection is paper copy and always will be. And this coming from an E-book publisher (hobby-level). Occasionally I'll print out something new, but they tend to get tucked away somewhere and lost or never get used. There's just something about a book you can hold in your hand that lends it so much more legitimacy.

    Now, where the line blurs for me is on the availability of Judges Guild PDFs on DriveThruRPG of old products I don't have. This is stuff that already has tons of legitimacy. That's where my next spending priorities lie...

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Now, if JG had only produced more products with Yak-Man in them...
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 24, 2008
    Posts: 124

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    Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:26 am  

    Like many others, I prefer to read off of paper. But I prefer to make reference to the very same book electronically when I am putting together an NPC, dungeon or other item for play. I have a wide computer display, and I can have the pdf of a rule book open on one half, and the document open on the second half as I write up the NPC, monster, etc.

    I have yet to get an e-reader. But last night was game night, and just to carry the basic set of rules, the adventure with notes and revisions, and materials relating to the general game environment, took two brief cases. I would definitely have skipped bringing the rule books if I had them all on a portable reader, lap-top, etc., and I have been looking into getting such a device.

    There's my two cents.[/i]
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
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    Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:44 am  

    For me - both. I love my hardbacks for reading and running a game but PDFs make research and finding the odd reference I cannot fully recall so much easier.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 05, 2008
    Posts: 75
    From: Long Beach, California USA

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    Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:06 pm  

    I like the hardcovers particularly. E-books are frustrating for my older eyes. Although if I had to bring a crapload of books to the gaming table maybe a kindle type thing for that but I am doing old 1st edition AD&D right now so only 13 hardcovers LOL! ONLY 13! Laughing
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