Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Talk about whatever topic you'd like, RPG related or not. (But please discuss things related to our software in the Tools section, below.)

Moderators: dorpond, trevor, Azhrei

User avatar
Full Bleed
Demigod
Posts: 4558
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:53 am
Location: MD
Contact:

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Full Bleed »

Oh yeah... and just to be clear for those people skipping the walls of text...

$9.99 for the Bestiary is a GOOD DEAL!

It's a great product at a great price point that's well worth supporting. ;)
Maptool is the Millennium Falcon of VTT's -- "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

User avatar
Paradox
Dragon
Posts: 724
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:01 pm

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Paradox »

Full Bleed wrote:PS: Paradox, yeah, I wasn't commenting on the subscription system they have going... Only on their PDF business model.



Yep.. my bad.
I no longer believe that MapTools is usuable or intended just for programmers. MapTools is for everyone.

User avatar
palmer
Great Wyrm
Posts: 1367
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:54 pm

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by palmer »

Notsonoble wrote:I have no idea where you got your figures


OK, lets start here.

Wizards of the Coast Reported Salary for Editor - quotes $45-49k.

Amount of time put in by writers and editors?
My source is Sean K Reynolds, from his time working with WOTC. I'm inclined to take his figures as authoritative, since he was, you know, doing the writing in question.
http://www.seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/r ... nsive.html
His dollar figures are from 2001, and he's quoting $30k salary as high for the industry.

And if nothing else, he points out the very real Rule of Halves for retail price to publisher.

So out of a $20 item, roughly $5 of the money gets back to the publisher. And this is profitable.

So if a profit can be made at 25% of retail, why do PDFs (which do not incur printing and distribution charges, nor retail markup) have to be sold at 3 times that price point?

Also, the argument of "time needed to make the PDF" is null and void in regards to Paizo. Making the PDF is already factored into their production costs and final retail price, because their business model (subscription) requires the PDF alongside the print product. The cost has already been subsumed.

Azhrei wrote:Many of the PDFs out there are black and white, with less than stellar artwork, and less than stellar editing.


Nice try, but this straw man can stay in the field.

That 50% of retail price point mentioned? That's the pricing rate used by major publishers like, oh... White Wolf. One can hardly claim they have crappy art, no color and poor editing.
How about Green Ronin? The Mutants and Masterminds PDF is 50% the price of the hardcover.
Evil Hat Games charges just over 50% for PDFs (typically $8 PDF and $15 print).
Even the aforementioned Catalyst Game Labs sells their CthulhuTech core book PDF for 60% of the hardcover retail.

70% is a high mark among publishers for PDF versions. It has nothing to do with quality of the company or editing or any of that. Nice try, but wrong.

Finally, the biggest argument as to why Paizo is grossly overcharging for their PDFs?

The PDF is 30% off cover for electronic.
Or the subscription is... 30% off cover for print.
(I am explicitly IGNORING the free PDF in this)

Subscription being the very core of their business, and the vast majority of their sales.
So really, Paizo is charging the SAME PRICE for print and PDF.

And that makes the PDF grossly overpriced, no matter how you cut it.

Now, if it was 30% off of the "real" price... that brings a $20 adventure path down to $14 (subscription) and minus 30% makes... $9.80.
Pretty much 50% off. Fancy that.

And they will STILL make a serious profit on any PDFs sold.

I'm in absolute and full agreement with Full Bleed here, on all counts.
Including "Go buy PF, it's well worth it!"
(Take that, people who think I'm a 4E slave :p )

User avatar
Full Bleed
Demigod
Posts: 4558
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:53 am
Location: MD
Contact:

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Full Bleed »

palmer wrote:70% is a high mark among publishers for PDF versions. It has nothing to do with quality of the company or editing or any of that.


And that's what troubles me. PF fans should be grumbling. They have more power with this growing franchise then they might think.


The PDF is 30% off cover for electronic.
Or the subscription is... 30% off cover for print.
(I am explicitly IGNORING the free PDF in this)


It's fair to ignore it to make this case... but it is clear that they are trying to leverage a high PDF price to pump their subscription model by making it seem more attractive. It's a nice bonus, but I think PDF's should come nearly free or deeply discounted with dead-tree products anyway... so, I like the seed that's being planted here and I hope it grows. That said, over-pricing the stand-alone PDF isn't really necessary.


Now, if it was 30% off of the "real" price... that brings a $20 adventure path down to $14 (subscription) and minus 30% makes... $9.80.
Pretty much 50% off. Fancy that.


Yes, I think 50% off is the bare minimum discount they should be using. And 66% to 80% off could still match many dead-tree publication profit margins. But pricing them unattractively to push subscriptions isn't the way to do it, imo. They should be making *everything* as attractive (cost-wise) as they possibly can in order to maximize their market penetration, combat pirates, and increase their leadership in the (current) RPG PDF market.
Maptool is the Millennium Falcon of VTT's -- "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

User avatar
palmer
Great Wyrm
Posts: 1367
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:54 pm

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by palmer »

Full Bleed wrote:It's a nice bonus, but I think PDF's should come nearly free or deeply discounted with dead-tree products anyway... so, I like the seed that's being planted here and I hope it grows. That said, over-pricing the stand-alone PDF isn't really necessary.


You want to see a PDF class act?

Evil Hat Productions and their [url=http://www.evilhat.com/home/pdf-guarantee/]
Our Brick & Mortar PDF Guarantee[/url]

If you buy one of their books at a brick and mortar retail establishment, and provide proof of purchase (scanned receipt, although they will also take the retailer's word for it), then you get the matching PDF for free. No need to wring your hands over bypassing your FLGS and going to IPR because you want a PDF as well as hardcopy.

This is on top of pricing all their PDFs at 50-55% of cover, and offering print+PDF bundles with the PDF being free, or a token charge above print (in the most expensive case, $20 for print, and $21 for print+PDF.)

PDFs should not be a "mainline item". They should be market builders. When they're cheap (like, oh, $9.99), they pull in massive new users and drive demand for the print. Pricing them high doesn't help at all.

If nothing else, they should be discounting old PDFs. I won't buy Rise of the Runelords for 14x6=$84 - that's a lot. But say $8x6=$48 is much more appealing.
Hell, they have no more backstock for RotRL anymore, so it's not like low prices would "cannibalize" print sales.

User avatar
Full Bleed
Demigod
Posts: 4558
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:53 am
Location: MD
Contact:

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Full Bleed »

Evil Hat's got it right.

Paizo's got a problem with the 6 book APs. It's too hard to economically keep 6 single books in print and they'll have to move to a collected/super-module sooner-or-later. But until the entire run is out of stock they have to sit on the property and try to sell the back-stock, which is going to be almost impossible to do if people can't complete the series.

I think they should really underprint those AP modules and keep them subscription focused so they can go to a one or two volume collected edition 12 months later. Keeping one or two in print instead of 6 is a lot easier and more profitable.

Will it hurt subscriptions if people know that 12 months after the AP ends (18 months after it starts) that they'll be able to get the super modules? Maybe. But it's bound to happen any way... so why no standardize the process and set expectations?

The alternative is having a good property that's collecting dust in a warehouse somewhere because the print-run is incomplete. They should, at the very least, deeply discount the PDF version of the out-of-print books until they're back in stock so that they promote the sale of what's left of the AP's dead-tree run so they can get to a collected version.
Maptool is the Millennium Falcon of VTT's -- "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

User avatar
palmer
Great Wyrm
Posts: 1367
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:54 pm

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by palmer »

Out of print? Yeah. For RotRL, only 3 of the 6 parts are still available in print.
Which means they'll never sell them, frankly. Those modules would make great giveaways though.

Honestly, bundling the old Paths would be the best move they could make. Sell full sets of 6 for say $80 (buy 4, get the last 2 free!) and get the stock cleared.
Then work on making compilation editions.

The interesting thing about compilations would be page count. 6 by 96 pages makes 576, same size as PF Core. That sells for $50 in hardcover, although I expect Paizo may have taken the same approach WOTC did with core books, and knock $10 off the price at the source to encourage penetration. Given that Bestiary is just over half the page count (320) and $40, makes sense that Core really should be a $60+ book.

576 pages would be kind of unwieldy as a paperback.

My approach to the compilation issue would be...
A: Start compiling anything older than X. I would say leave the last 2 full paths as is.*
B: Have a sale on any remaining stock for the path due to be compiled. Half off, clear it out.
C: Reformat all old APs for Pathfinder, up from 3.5
D: Bundle them 3 to a book, making a pair of 288 page paperbacks
E: Price them at $30-35 each. Probably $35.

*Leaving 2 paths as is would mean, right now, compiling Runelords and Crimson Throne. Second Darkness would be up for compilation in January, when the now current Council of Thieves finishes it's run. This means that every path has 18 months as parts before being compiled, which means it definately has entered long tail.

That's not a huge amount of investment to "refresh" the product, puts it into circulation again, and at a size and price point that makes people go WOW.
A 300 page adventure that takes me from Lv 1 to 8, for $35? I'd buy that even though I play 4E!

And then, you need to drive traffic and awareness, right?

Take part 1 of the original AP (so a third of the new compilation) and offer it up as a PDF for, oh... 3 bucks.

Loss leader for sure, except you're not really losing anything on it. It's already earned itself out in past sales, after all.
But the traffic it would drive... "Complete 96 page adventure for only $3!"
People spend more on that for coffee every day. It's hard to justify NOT buying it at that point. I know I've dropped about $30 in the last year on nifty, sub-$5 products that I've never actually used.

Include a coupon code for $3 off the full 300 page product for anyone who buys the teaser PDF, of course. This makes it "try before you buy" and will seal the deal.

Oh, and cheap PDF bundling. But Paizo needs to do that, outside of subscriptions, already.

User avatar
Notsonoble
Dragon
Posts: 387
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:01 pm

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Notsonoble »

I'm expecting they'll probably clear hardcopy product sometime soon with half off sales... and the update the pdfs to PF, and just sell the pdf's at their current price. People who've subscribed to the APs late will knock another 15% (just by slapping their Pathfinder Advantage discount on them once or twice a month depending on how many subscriptions they have) off the pdfs the back purchase... and they'll be happy with the sales they get.
My D&D/Roleplaying Blog Making a new effort to update every two weeks!
Notsonoble's Samsung Galaxy S

User avatar
Paradox
Dragon
Posts: 724
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:01 pm

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Paradox »

For what it's worth.. I got my PDF today, and it's really nice. The art is awesome. Incredible indexes.. straight forward easy to apply feats. Additional animal companions.. and CR's that are actually accurate.
I no longer believe that MapTools is usuable or intended just for programmers. MapTools is for everyone.

User avatar
Stitched
Dragon
Posts: 274
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:56 am
Location: Uppsala, Sweden

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Stitched »

I'm sure the PDF discussion is informative and important to discuss.

However, my biggest problem with Paizo is not the PDF's - it's the sourcebooks. More importantly, getting the sourcebooks outside of the continental US. Sure, I can order from Paizo and pay 15 dollars for shipping or I can try many of the online retailers (like Amazon) but no dice. I am aware of their supply problems and moving warehouses, etc. but it shouldn't be THIS hard to find the hardcover book in Europe.

The largest gaming / bookstore in Stockholm (biggest city in Sweden) has never been able to get any stock (http://www.sfbok.se/asp/artikel.asp?VolumeID=85077).

Amazon UK told me it would take 1-2 months to send my copy (which I cancelled)

My local hobby store never got any copies.

Adlibris, the largest online Nordic bookstore, never have any copies (www.adlibris.se)

But man, the ease of getting 4e...it's everywhere. In quantity.

So price is one thing but availability is another and NO, I don't want the PDF's, thanks. I LIKE thumbing through a book.

Bah! This may be all moot. I never played 3.0 or 3.5, so maybe I will hate Pathfinder and love Savage Worlds more.

User avatar
keithcurtis
Giant
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 3:18 am
Contact:

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by keithcurtis »

Azhrei wrote:...didn't add in any artwork costs to your numbers...

Thanks, from all us artists out here.

FWIW, most RPG art is paid for at well under what the market would bear for more mainstream markets. With the exception of the top RPG publishers (and even then, only a few within that structure), no one is making buckets of money.

User avatar
Full Bleed
Demigod
Posts: 4558
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:53 am
Location: MD
Contact:

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Full Bleed »

Stitched wrote:Amazon UK told me it would take 1-2 months to send my copy (which I cancelled)


Sounds like most of your B&M stores didn't put in their order *before* the product was "sold out." Can't blame Paizo for that. If they had gotten orders that reflected the demand they would certainly have been able to meet demand and would not have had to reprint so fast.

It works like this (simplified):

-Paizo solicits a product with their distributors.
-Distributors put the solicitation in some type of magazine/order form and give it to all of the stores/outlets that use them.
-The stores usually have 4 weeks to put in their orders with the distributors.
-The distributor gets all of the orders and sends them out to the publisher.
-The publisher then takes those initial order numbers of books it knows it has sold, decides how much to over print, and then puts in an order with their printer. They usually have 30 to 60 days to deliver the product to their distributors (the expected delivery date is usually 30 days.)
-Once printed, the books that have been ordered go to the distributors and they distribute the books to their outlets.


If the B&M stores try to order *after* the initial orders have been sent in (a "reorder") then they haven't secured the product and their chance of getting any goes down. Paizo has already gone to print at this point and it printing to meet the demand of the initial order. And if the product blows up and massive reorders come in then the distributor is likely to distribute whatever extra books it gets from Paizo to the places it have the most orders and/or the highest profit margin. In this case, Alliance would have likely re-supplied US domestic locations first (but note that Amazon US went into a 1-2 month back-order after two weeks as well.) At any rate, the publisher doesn't get to make the decisions about who gets what. The retailers relationship with their distributor is the major determining factor.

Now, at some point (probably pretty quickly with the Core book), Paizo has to recognize that they need to go to reprint... but they are kind of stuck, because all they're getting right at that time is weekly re-orders... and they are coming in from all over the world. What they really need in order to get an accurate second print-run is to re-solicit the product (which puts them in the 2-3 month cycle I mentioned above... solicit, get distro numbers, go to print, distribute.)

For a smaller publisher, managing those numbers more tightly is important as an overprint can kill your profit margin in a hurry. A larger publisher can afford to double or triple down on their initial orders out of the gate knowing that they will eventually sell out... so keeping their product in stock is easier. But, even with big publishers a run-away hit can catch them off-guard... happens to big comic book publisher all the time.

So, in short, you should blame your B&M stores for not ordering enough on the *initial* solicitation... and waiting until after everyone on the planet wanted the product to look for copies. Or, if they were screwed by their distributor that cut them off for more profitable destinations, you should blame their distributors.

It's not Paizo's fault. They most certainly printed well over their initial orders and that's all any publisher can do.
Maptool is the Millennium Falcon of VTT's -- "She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

User avatar
Maccwar
Cave Troll
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:22 am

Re: Paizo Strikes again, Bestiary PDF to be only $9.99

Post by Maccwar »

Full Bleed wrote:Oh yeah... and just to be clear for those people skipping the walls of text...

$9.99 for the Bestiary is a GOOD DEAL!

It's a great product at a great price point that's well worth supporting. ;)


I don't intend to ever actually play PF but I've picked up both the bestiary and the core rulebook to browse through for ideas ... and for the artwork as well.

If only other companies would see discounted PDFs more as a promotion than a threat. I've ended up buying paper copies of other books after I bought the PDF in the past.

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”