Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Brick & Mortar PDF Guarantee by Evil Hat and Rogue Games is a bad idea and here is why…

I have been reading a lot of forums of late of people talking about how Evil Hat’s Brick & Mortar PDF Guarantee  and Rogue Games Brick & Mortar PDF Guarantee is a great idea. Retailers love it.  The first thought that came to my mind was, “Of course they love it! You are providing a free service to their customers that they can’t and in most cases don’t want to do.” Retail stores don’t want their customers to go digital with PDFs.  That scares most of them to death.  The mantra I hear the most from retailers is, “If they buy PDfs, then they won’t by from my store.” Well if you give them a reason to buy may be they will buy from you.  For all you retailers that don’t understand what I mean and know what to do, let me direct you to Tates Comics in Lauderhill, FL winner of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing award.  They might give you some ideas how to do you business better.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of offering the PDF for free if you buy the hard copy is a good idea.  I just think you don’t need to do that on a retailer level.  You could do the same thing by using Lulu.com to do you printing, placing a code on the table of content page, keep a bigger percentage of each sale (by not having to split the money with the distributor and/or retailer) and gaining even more fan loyalty.  If the product is good, people will hear about it.

But back to the digital arena, As a PDF publisher, follower of Seth GodinGuy Kawasaki, and Robert Kiyosaki. I think a PDF company needs to service their customers directly and not through a third part source like a retailer.  They are your customers; you should provide them the best service yourself.  To me, Evil Hat and Rogue Games look at the PDFs as an afterthought, something they can toss to the fans as a “nice gesture” as a RPG publisher.  They think their “big money” is with the retailers.  I, of course, don’t think it is the case.  PDF publishing has proven itself not just to be viable but an actual way to build your successful business from the grass roots level.  You need to build your customer base.  Malhavoc Press proved that. Open Design proved that. Paizo proved that. Green Ronin even proved that. Stop looking for retailers to do your work, and sell yourself to your customers. Talk to you later…