No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

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No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

I thought well, I should at pick up the PDF version of this just to have as a possible reference. I can't find it on WotC nor Drivethru. Are they REALLY going dead tree only on 5th Ed? WotC, you have a call from the 21st Century...
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Traveller »

Unfortunately for them, PDFs of the books are likely already on torrent sites, even though they offer the basic PDF for gratis.

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Treebore »

Yeah, I read something a few days ago, the free "gratis" version is all we get in PDF. The old "We don't want PDF's to interfere with print sales" excuse.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

Oh, that idiocy, again. I remember that 4th Ed pirate PDFs were "out" before my preordered hard back editions arrived in the mail.

Oh well. No PdFs for ME = no money for THEM...
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by seskis281 »

Doesn't really matter for me - already have the PHB and while I can see myself playing in a 5e game sometime I won't be running it ever, so no need for the DMG or MM for me (I can glance through on a shelf in a store)...

As I've said elsewhere, the nicest thing will be adventure material and "fluff" side - I can see buying some mods, especially Goodman and Necro 5e adventure products, that I can use with my C&C games :)
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by seskis281 »

But the no PDF thing is, I think, somewhat unresponsive to modern markets and demographics....
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by DMSamuel »

They are working with an outside company to produce electronic "tools" that will allow you to access the content from the core books electronically. This was called Codename: Morningstar up until the release of the PHB, at which time they released info indicating it will officially be named DungeonScape. Here is a link to their page: DungeonScape Home Page

Also, Mike Mearls has indicated that they are actively working on licensing information and electronic release information, both of which will be revealed in December or January, after the official release of the final core book (the DMG).


I do think they should have started selling pdf copies of 5e products from the date of release - it seems rather short-sighted (or should I say backward-sighted) to ignore the demand for RPG products in pdf format.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

DMSamuel wrote:They are working with an outside company to produce electronic "tools" that will allow you to access the content from the core books electronically. This was called Codename: Morningstar up until the release of the PHB, at which time they released info indicating it will officially be named DungeonScape. Here is a link to their page: DungeonScape Home Page

Also, Mike Mearls has indicated that they are actively working on licensing information and electronic release information, both of which will be revealed in December or January, after the official release of the final core book (the DMG).
This (above) isn't about PDFs. It is about server side content that the customer can pay for.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by DMSamuel »

Arduin wrote:
DMSamuel wrote:They are working with an outside company to produce electronic "tools" that will allow you to access the content from the core books electronically. This was called Codename: Morningstar up until the release of the PHB, at which time they released info indicating it will officially be named DungeonScape. Here is a link to their page: DungeonScape Home Page

Also, Mike Mearls has indicated that they are actively working on licensing information and electronic release information, both of which will be revealed in December or January, after the official release of the final core book (the DMG).
This (above) isn't about PDFs. It is about server side content that the customer can pay for.
Yes, but the customer gets digital access to the core rules, and, unfortunately, it may be the only way to get digital access in the foreseeable future, so I think it is relevant to the discussion.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

DMSamuel wrote:
Arduin wrote:
DMSamuel wrote:They are working with an outside company to produce electronic "tools" that will allow you to access the content from the core books electronically. This was called Codename: Morningstar up until the release of the PHB, at which time they released info indicating it will officially be named DungeonScape. Here is a link to their page: DungeonScape Home Page

Also, Mike Mearls has indicated that they are actively working on licensing information and electronic release information, both of which will be revealed in December or January, after the official release of the final core book (the DMG).
This (above) isn't about PDFs. It is about server side content that the customer can pay for.
Yes, but the customer gets digital access to the core rules, and, unfortunately, it may be the only way to get digital access in the foreseeable future, so I think it is relevant to the discussion.
It's relevant of course. I was simply clarifying that there are no known plans to release in PDF form. All this will do is drive pirating. They still refuse to sell older core books as PDFs too.

I believe (although no stats I can show) that PDF sales account for at least 50% of RPG sales nowadays.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by DMSamuel »

Arduin wrote:
DMSamuel wrote:
Arduin wrote:
DMSamuel wrote:They are working with an outside company to produce electronic "tools" that will allow you to access the content from the core books electronically. This was called Codename: Morningstar up until the release of the PHB, at which time they released info indicating it will officially be named DungeonScape. Here is a link to their page: DungeonScape Home Page

Also, Mike Mearls has indicated that they are actively working on licensing information and electronic release information, both of which will be revealed in December or January, after the official release of the final core book (the DMG).
This (above) isn't about PDFs. It is about server side content that the customer can pay for.
Yes, but the customer gets digital access to the core rules, and, unfortunately, it may be the only way to get digital access in the foreseeable future, so I think it is relevant to the discussion.
It's relevant of course. I was simply clarifying that there are no known plans to release in PDF form. All this will do is drive pirating. They still refuse to sell older core books as PDFs too.

I believe (although no stats I can show) that PDF sales account for at least 50% of RPG sales nowadays.
I agree.

I think the only older rules they have sold via pdf are the Mentzer Red Box and the 1991 Basic D&D Rules Cyclopedia. All 1e and later core 3 books are reprinted in hard-copy and not available in pdf.

I would love to know their sales data from dndclassics.com - not the dollar amounts as much as the pure numbers.

I consider the OGL to be the major innovation that changed the RPG industry in the early 2000s, and it follows very closely that pdf distribution is a major change in the RPG industry. Almost every other RPG company has made an attempt at providing digital content of their product - WotC seems out of touch for not embracing it for their core flagship products.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

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DMSamuel wrote: I consider the OGL to be the major innovation that changed the RPG industry in the early 2000s,
Without a doubt, in my mind.
DMSamuel wrote: and it follows very closely that pdf distribution is a major change in the RPG industry. Almost every other RPG company has made an attempt at providing digital content of their product - WotC seems out of touch for not embracing it for their core flagship products.
I can't figure out the sales strat for this. No matter how I dice & slice, it equates to LESS net revenue for WotC...
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by DMSamuel »

Arduin wrote:I can't figure out the sales strat for this. No matter how I dice & slice, it equates to LESS net revenue for WotC...
I think they are (stupidly) hung up on the subscription model for digital content. That is the only way I can explain their decision and still seem halfway reasonable. Because honestly, it doesn't seem reasonable to NOT offer the core digitally. Those that want to see more can buy a reduced price PDF and if they like it, they can buy the hard copy. If they don't like it, WotC still made $$ on the pdf sale. Without it, a curious person is very unlikely to shell out $50 for a core book they don't even know they will like.

Granted, they do have the basic PDF and the DM Basic PDF... but - I just feel like they are missing a segment of the gaming population that would shell out 15 or 20 bucks for the pdf rather than 50 for the hard copy. It would be better if they sold the pdf for $10 like Paizo, but I have seen WotC's pdf prices for some of their products and that price ($10) is way too low to expect.

Like you - no matter which way I look at it, they are cutting out a segment of potential consumers by not offering a digital version of the core 3. It just doesn't really make sense.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

DMSamuel wrote:
Arduin wrote:I can't figure out the sales strat for this. No matter how I dice & slice, it equates to LESS net revenue for WotC...
I think they are (stupidly) hung up on the subscription model for digital content. That is the only way I can explain their decision and still seem halfway reasonable. Because honestly, it doesn't seem reasonable to NOT offer the core digitally. Those that want to see more can buy a reduced price PDF and if they like it, they can buy the hard copy. If they don't like it, WotC still made $$ on the pdf sale. Without it, a curious person is very unlikely to shell out $50 for a core book they don't even know they will like.

Granted, they do have the basic PDF and the DM Basic PDF... but - I just feel like they are missing a segment of the gaming population that would shell out 15 or 20 bucks for the pdf rather than 50 for the hard copy. It would be better if they sold the pdf for $10 like Paizo, but I have seen WotC's pdf prices for some of their products and that price ($10) is way too low to expect.

Like you - no matter which way I look at it, they are cutting out a segment of potential consumers by not offering a digital version of the core 3. It just doesn't really make sense.
Yes. I would pay $25 for a Core book PDF. I think that you're right. Someone at the apex of decision making there (maybe HASBRO level) doesn't understand current market. It was the main reason 4E was turned into a P&P version of a video game.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Treebore »

If the freebie version ends up having all the core rules, I won't care about not offering a PDF of the full color, full art books. However, if they aren't going to offer the full rules in the free PDF's, and only make it available through a subscription model, yet again, THAT alone will piss me off enough to not even play 5E, regardless of how much I like it. Which will also mean, like for 4E, I won't buy a darn thing until I see it in a used book store, knowing that WOTC won't see a penny from my purchase.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

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Treebore wrote:If the freebie version ends up having all the core rules, I won't care about not offering a PDF of the full color, full art books. However, if they aren't going to offer the full rules in the free PDF's, and only make it available through a subscription model, yet again, THAT alone will piss me off enough to not even play 5E, regardless of how much I like it. Which will also mean, like for 4E, I won't buy a darn thing until I see it in a used book store, knowing that WOTC won't see a penny from my purchase.
The free player PDF is version 0.2 so maybe they will make it complete at some point. Otherwise, I'm of the same mind.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by REHowardfanatic »

I have a pirated copy, but it's in black and white.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by serleran »

Publishing is lose lose in every direction.

1) Make a PDF... sell it for nothing (to appease the claims that PDF prices are stupid high) and make no money on it.

2) Make a PDF... sell it a high price (to try to get your "money's worth") and sell none of them.

3) Make a PDF... someone shares it and you make nothing anyway.

4) Don't make a PDF... someone does it for you.

And we haven't even considered the print costs.

But, in any event, I can understand the "don't make a PDF." I'm OK with that. I won't buy one (PDF) anyway.

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

serleran wrote:Publishing is lose lose in every direction.
Not really. They make MORE net revenue if they offer a PDF at a slightly discounted (vs. the dead tree version) rate. Hence the head scratching at their money losing position...
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by serleran »

Arduin wrote:
serleran wrote:Publishing is lose lose in every direction.
Not really. They make MORE net revenue if they offer a PDF at a slightly discounted (vs. the dead tree version) rate. Hence the head scratching at their money losing position...
Not from any anecdotal evidence I've come across, but I am not a large publisher. Results skew with perception.

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Treebore »

serleran wrote:
Arduin wrote:
serleran wrote:Publishing is lose lose in every direction.
Not really. They make MORE net revenue if they offer a PDF at a slightly discounted (vs. the dead tree version) rate. Hence the head scratching at their money losing position...
Not from any anecdotal evidence I've come across, but I am not a large publisher. Results skew with perception.

http://news.cnet.com/2100-1023-898813.html

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201107 ... ales.shtml


http://venturebeat.com/2009/04/21/study ... ore-music/

http://gigaom.com/2009/11/02/419-resear ... sic-sales/


If you don't want to read all the above, and I have more such links, it ALL says piracy increases sales, by a LOT.

Also, NOT offering PDF's, in my opinion, punishes the "legal" customer, and entices them to do pirating.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

serleran wrote:
Arduin wrote:
serleran wrote:Publishing is lose lose in every direction.
Not really. They make MORE net revenue if they offer a PDF at a slightly discounted (vs. the dead tree version) rate. Hence the head scratching at their money losing position...
Not from any anecdotal evidence I've come across, but I am not a large publisher. Results skew with perception.
?? Logic dictates that NOT selling product = less sales (money).

1) You've come across no evidence that shows refusing to sell to someone (like myself) makes a company MORE revenue. Rather than LESS.
2) Please list your anecdotal evidence that supports that equation.
3) In the REAL world example we are discussing, there is now a PDF available for EASY download...

N.B. I managed, back in the day, consumer s/w sold through the channel (IngramMicro, ect., wholesalers, down to retail shops for all of North America) AND download e-version at the same time. I'm REALLY familiar with the costs and the profit margins of physical vs. electronic versions.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

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serleran wrote:Not from any anecdotal evidence I've come across, but I am not a large publisher. Results skew with perception.
From the SJ Games 2004 "Report to the Stakeholders":

"So far, we are pleased. Gamer reactions have been good and sales are encouraging. As of this writing, we have around 250 files on sale; some are original content, some are the creations of third-party publishers, and a few are electronic reprints of out-of-print SJ Games books. Our goal is to offer 1,000 files for download by the end of 2005. This may be ambitious, since it works out to an average of about 18 a week . . . we'll see how it goes.

"One thing you will not see in e23 is PDF versions of our new GURPS books. We know that some publishers are issuing their new books simultaneously in hardcopy and PDF. We are concerned about the effect this will have on the retailers, and unless something happens to remove that concern, our hardback books won't be available in PDF. Support products, of the sort that aren't normally economical for retailers to carry at all, will appear in PDF and not hardcopy."

From the 2005 report:

"Our digital-product division, e23, has been in operation for more than a year now. Sales continue to grow. Our original goal was to offer 1,000 files for download by the end of 2005. As of mid-2006, we have not reached that goal, which is disappointing . . . at this writing, we have 932. But we are continuing to create original releases for e23 and to contract with more third-party publishers of quality PDFs.

"Last year, I said, "One thing you will not see in e23 is PDF versions of our new GURPS books. We know that some publishers are issuing their new books simultaneously in hardcopy and PDF. We are concerned about the effect this will have on the retailers, and unless something happens to remove that concern, our hardback books won't be available in PDF." Well, over the last year, we saw continued fan interest in buying the new releases in PDFs, and retailers did not report any drastic bad effects from the availability of other publishers' products in both PDF and hardcopy. So we compromised. For now, at least, the GURPS Basic Set will remain available in hardcopy only, but other GURPS hardbacks will be released in PDF three months after they are available in stores. We may tighten or loosen this policy further as time goes on and the market sorts itself out."

From the 2006 report:

"Our digital-product division, e23, has been in operation for two years. It is now the second largest seller of downloadable files for the gaming community. This is not just due to increased sales – though they have increased! Our larger competitors all merged into a single company, OneBookShelf.

"As 2006 ended, we had just over 1,400 files available for download. We are continuing to create original releases for e23 and to contract with more third-party publishers of quality PDFs. The original releases are better-selling and more profitable, but we will continue to offer other publishers' material. We don't want e23 to become a pure company store, and we DO want to take advantage of the "long tail" effect.

"We'll continue to offer PDF versions of our new GURPS books, but only after they are available in stores for three months. This was an experiment in 2006, and nothing bad has come of it."

From the 2007 report:

"Our digital-product division, e23, is now three years old, and the second largest seller of downloadable files for the gaming community. A 2007 goal was to have 2,000 files available for download, and we made it with more than a day to spare!

"We are ramping up our efforts to create original releases for e23, since those are better-selling and more profitable than third-party material. We intend to release at least 25 significant originals in 2008. However, we don't want e23 to become a pure company store, and we DO want to take advantage of the "long tail" effect, so we will continue to sell quality PDFs created by other publishers. At the moment, our third-party contract offers dramatically better royalties than does our competition, and we'll do our best to continue that.

"The PDF versions of our new GURPS books will now be available after the hardcopy has been in stores for a month. We continue to see no evidence that PDF and hardcopy sales interfere with each other. In fact, PDF releases have created demand for short-run hardcopy editions of several GURPS supplements."

After that, they started releasing GURPS products either exclusively as PDF, or PDF simultaneously with print editions. In a few cases since then, the PDFs have been released, and a print run was setup later because of demand.

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by tylermo »

I never thought we'd be back to this with WOTC again. Anyway, it amazes me how little old Cubicle 7 can sell (for example) Doctor Who rpg books with a free pdf copy, and WOTC can't risk selling the phb pdf separately? :lol:

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

tylermo wrote:I never thought we'd be back to this with WOTC again. Anyway, it amazes me how little old Cubicle 7 can sell (for example) Doctor Who rpg books with a free pdf copy, and WOTC can't risk selling the phb pdf separately? :lol:

The real insanity lies in the fact that the 5th PHB is ALREADY available a a PDF in the wild. Ya can't fix stupid.
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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by tylermo »

Thanks for pointing that out, Arduin. No suprise at all.

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by moriarty777 »

You know... generally speaking I am in favor of PDFs and, as a consumer, prefer having a complementary or, at the very least, a reduced copy of the PDF of physical books.

I know not everyone agrees with this sentiment and pricing is certainly an issue.

This is one of the FEW cases where I am happy with the direction that WotC has taken. While some people would be happy to pay anywhere between $25 and $32 for a PDF of the Player's Handbook, a lot of other folks would think WOTC is crazy to price things as high as that. Especially if you were one of the many that bought online to get a huge discount on that shiny new PHB. However, all the necessary rules to play are all in the freely released PDFs. This isn't the same thing as a Quickstart or Starter set. It's pretty much the whole thing but condensed to only include the key four general archetypes.

I really don't have an issue with this since the stuff is FREE and pretty much complete and frankly, they get an approval from me. They could have done and offered FAR LESS. The fact that this it continues to get updated and there is now a free DMG book as well just makes this effort even cooler.

For those of us that already play one of our favorite games (like C&C), I think the basic files they provide are excellent. So much so that I had little issue on shelling out $25 for a physical copy of the PHB. WOTC has been making an effort and it does look like their keeper (Hasbro) has loosened up the leash as well. They are taking time to stagger the core book releases, and once done, we will likely find out more about what is happening as far as licensing is concerned and have a larger picture of what might amount to be a comprehensive set of free rules.

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by thenorthman »

This might be a strange analogy....

My dad was a cop and he always said a "locked door keeps an honest person honest."

Having a PDF done by a publisher available, it keeps the honest people honest. They'd rather just buy the official PDF which is good quality and no risk of it having a bug or other malicious thing attached to it.

If one isn't made by the publisher people will find a copy of it in the format how they want it. Which means a pirated copy.

Plus the music industry does lend proof to this as well. Napstar...people wanted it in a MP3 format so they "shared" the songs. Then cam iTunes with the ability to get the music, yes pay for it. Yes there are still file sharing sites but few and far between because people would rather just get a good copy with out the risks of pirated copies.

How did that relate to original quote I don't know...I am tired... :D

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Treebore »

Yeah, as I think my links above more than adequately show, this fear over offering PDF's is just that, fear. Over nothing. Which I think the post above from SJG affirms that.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Re: No PDF version of D&D 5th PHB?

Post by Arduin »

Treebore wrote:Yeah, as I think my links above more than adequately show, this fear over offering PDF's is just that, fear. Over nothing. Which I think the post above from SJG affirms that.
Yup. I think I can pretty well guess that the fear comes from the Exec suite at WotC rather than the RPG Division itself...
Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill

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