Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 23:12:13 -0400
From: The Watcher
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
Haile and Fair Greetings All,
>No No No. Please don't listen to him TSR. I would pay a fortune to
>have the books printed, and the same for the supplements. Yes I like
>the electronic supplements, and they help my game, but I still prefer
>to have the book on my shelf and be able to read it
>with out worrying about the refresh rate on my monitor.
First off, folks, don't lose sight of the fact that I was musing over an effort long expended. I was merely relating in mock exasperation the process I once went through in attempts to see the work to print. It would be marginally naive to think that with all the revision and supplementary materials I managed into the pages of DRAGON, DUNGEON, and to the lists that I should "suddenly" have this idea now, without ever having pursued it. Apart from that, each gamer's views are their own, of course.
>> While not every gamer has access to the 'net, I think that MOST do
>(more so every year) And, although I know there are people out there
>who would buy a copy anyhow, I have to say that (speaking strictly for
>myself), you people are just WEIRD. :-)
Fair enough. But let me be the first to break to you that you assumption seems not to be borne out by what information has been available. By comparing the figures of sales (and I don't want to debate the actual figures or how I got them) v. numbers of members on various lists recognized by TSR, there appears to be a quite small segment signed on (a vocal minority, if you will). Certainly, materials are further
disseminated after they are downloaded, but those numbers can only be guessed at -- not even estimated. As it currently stands, the WotC doesn't have evidence to definitively indicate any particular bulk of its consumer base is actively on-line at its doors.
>> Why fork out $40 for a product that is free? Sure, the binding
>might be better (the map of course would be - sorry I didn't do a
>better job - maybe some day I'll do up an Acrobat version), but $40
>for a glued spine and some metallic ink to decorate the
>> borders? I can't see the attraction - it's no more usable (in fact,
>sometimes less so - the upcoming GH modules are listed as "perfect
>bound", which don't look so perfect after you have to nearly crack the
>spine to get them to lay flat).
First of all, the manuscript was not free. Everyone who was involved in it got paid. In fact, it took quite some effort to get the manuscript posted on the TSR site. As well, the product I mused did not contain solely the _Ivid_ manuscript, but additional materials including a "current" update of the region c. 591 CY -- a completely separate work which would eventually be done and distributed at some point, anyway. Think of it as similar to the like of the _Return to..._ series, which includes reproductions of the originals within; only this reproduction will also be properly edited.
Secondly, I find it somewhat short-sighted that one would look upon one's own resources and, upon finding them sufficient, declare the rest may eat cake -- which may be misrepresented here. Kent makes an excellent case for why he should not purchase such a compilation, citing spartan preferences. But, I don't think he means to say that because of any personal indifference to bindings and graphic elements, the art department of gaming companies should be out of work.
Lastly, in his own reverse-psychology way, Kent makes yet another excellent point in that most folks don't know how to actually own/use books. As we all know (we all know, right?), one is not supposed to "crack" the spine of a perfect-bound book as is typical of stitch bindery. What we all know is that with this kind of binding, one should place a straight-edge (a ruler is a good tool) along the gripper line of the spine and fold back the cover and a number of pages at a time along
this line; the process repeated on the other cover, in the reverse direction. This "breaks in" the book properly and preserves the binding. But, I figure everyone already knows this, so forgive me for stating the obvious.
>> I'd much encourage TSR go in the OTHER direction - release their
>supplements and modules electronically - cheaper, faster, and
>customizable to my campaign- I can cut, paste and print up tidbits as
>player information (and stop yanking the books out of the
>> hands of some of my nosier players).
This is a good idea. For those who do not wish to pay the exceptional costs of hard copies -- particularly our oft-out-of-mind brethren beyond the US, where cost are *significantly* higher (!) -- there should be the option of visiting the TSR-online site and purchasing a (possibly) reduced cost electronic copy (sans extraneous graphical elements). This way, those who don't care for the "needless" parts or those where no stores seem ever to have the products have a viable option. For those in Canada and beyond, it's merely a question of exchange rates on the US$ (versus foreign production or distribution, tariffs, etc.).
Of course, this leaves out those who well have the money but prefer not to possess credit cards (like myself). This would include the youthful gamer the industry desires to restore to the ranks of players, but this are reasons enough (along with the computer issues: hardware and access costs, user-illiteracy, etc.), certainly not only the maps, for the hard copy to survive for now.
Soft Winter and Sweet Flowers,
P.S.: Oh, and one more thing. I just took some quotes today on perfect200 +/- pages of 8.5 X 11 sheet in runs under 50 copies. The "median" quote was $150 for set-up and $1.50 per copy bound. Imagine how little per copy it is in runs of thousands.