As you probably already know, I’m working my way through a pile of game products. I’ve been wading (no pun intended) through the Savage Worlds Sci-Fi World Builder’s Toolkit the last few days.
I’m going to post a larger review when I actually finish it (probably in a couple of days) but I had one complaint I wanted to address up front. Since it’s a fairly universal complaint about the current market, I didn’t want to include it in the actual review.
My complaint is this — pdf books suck; plain-and-simple. I realize the industry is attempting to strip down to meet demand and, at the same time, make sure they can meet their overhead. I understand that, and I’d much rather they do what they have to do to survive than simply go under due to cost overruns.
But honestly, there’s absolutely nothing I love about these things.
I realize a lot of gamers enjoy them because you can keyword search them. I also realize that others like them because you can have your entire collection in a digital format (either on your computer or burned on a CD/DVD), allowing you to easily port your “books” from one session to the next.
Unfortunately, this is one of those times when the industry needs to be taking a page from the rest of the print industry. Have pdf/ebooks ever caught on with any real success? No. Is there a greater demand for print-on-demand today than there was 20 years ago? No.
Because no one enjoys reading a book-length manuscript on a computer screen (whether its 300 pages or 64 pages). This means that most of us are printing these things out and then binding them in some way (either with plastic sleeves or stopping by our neighborhood Kinkos). In a way, this is money I would much rather spend on an actual book, as the time involved is rather inconvenient.
This is why I have a new collection of pdf books that will likely not be read for a few months. I simply don’t have the time to spend turning a bunch of pdfs into an actual book.
In my opinion, the pdf might be saving the small and medium sized game companies for the moment, but it’s a trend that’s decreasing my interest in the hobby. Actually, I’ll change that comment and say, it’s driving my interest in the hobby towards companies that offer me a “complete” product.