Should Third Party Producers sell scans of their product rather than paper copies?

JoeArthur

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Should they?

The advantages would be:

These all reduce the price of the product:
  • no printing costs.
  • no mailing costs.
  • if sending abroad no sales taxes for the recipient (here in the UK we have to pay 20% sales tax plus a GBP£8 "handling charge" on stuff coming into the country).
  • the TPP is not left with a pile of unsold scenario packs.
These improve the product:
  • with paper you cannot amend the scenarios. With scans you just send out a new version with the errata included.
  • you can improve the scenario. When you send a paper scenario out into the world that's it - all done. With an electronic version if something needs tweaking after seeing the ROAR results build up then it is possible to easily do so. MMP are doing this with paper - re-issuing some scenarios.
The only TPP doing this is Vic over in Dispatches From The Bunker. He states moving from paper to an electronic version increased his sales. So why are other TPP not doing this?

When I receive a scenario pack it gets scanned in and the paper put away never to see the light of day again. I do not even print the scans out anymore - I view them on the monitor.

What does everyone else think?
 

von Marwitz

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I don't understand why the question is limited to TPPs.

Besides that, TPPs should do as they please and see fit.

On a personal level, I want paper, not files.
Files are all right to assist the paper version but not to replace it.

For me, ASL still is - and should remain - an 'analog' game in its core.

von Marwitz
 
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Jazz

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What does everyone else think?
What everybody else thinks is of little-no consequence compared to what the TPP themselves think. Some do it as you say, although none of them actually make maps. Not everybody in the market has easy access to printing something like a normal sized map. Not even gonna mention counters.

You are not the first person to think of this and I can assure you all the TPP have considered it and rejected based on what they perceive their market to be.

On a personal level, I want paper, not files.
Files are all right to assist the paper version but not to replace it.
Agreed
 
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Vic Provost

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  • Carl Nogueira @ Nor’easter sells PDFs
  • Kansas City ASL does also.
It has worked for me, and can for scenario packs but core modules and large HASLs are best done with a physical product. My newsletter lent itself to the pdf format and the vast majority of my subscribers approved, some mentioning the ongoing issues with physical storage when you have 1000s of scenarios in print. To each his own but the pdf format helped keep me in business and possibly the hobby, we were getting overwhelmed once I had 30 something issues in print, now we have 53 and much less stress for me. Look for #54 late next month.
 

hongkongwargamer

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Carl has no paper copies
You can check on Kansas City ASL, I dun know.

Personally, I don't expect to pay less for PDF copies. I pay for value. I don't pay for cost, i.e. if I don't think I am getting value, I couldn't care less how cheap the production cost is. If it's a USD25 pack and I feel I am getting USD25 of enjoyment or more, I don't care whether it's PDF/ cardboard/ audio version. I pay for the value I am getting from the research, the design, the playtesting and all the proofreading work.

Plus I already saved a bundle from not having to pay shipping.

I did not know that - thank you.

Out of interest do they charge the same price as the paper copies?
BTW.. it's the same way I think about games. A game is a game is a game. Whether it's analog or digital or whatever 10 dimensional framework it manifests on, it's immaterial. I don't agree that ASL has to be tied to an analog medium (or a digital medium etc).
 
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hongkongwargamer

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It has worked for me, and can for scenario packs but core modules and large HASLs are best done with a physical product. My newsletter lent itself to the pdf format and the vast majority of my subscribers approved, some mentioning the ongoing issues with physical storage when you have 1000s of scenarios in print. To each his own but the pdf format helped keep me in business and possibly the hobby, we were getting overwhelmed once I had 30 something issues in print, now we have 53 and much less stress for me. Look for #54 late next month.
You (and the Bunker crew) ROCKS. I wouldn't have gotten every single issue (and all the scenarios) had it not been in a PDF format.
 

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Personally, I don't expect to pay less for PDF copies. I pay for value. I don't pay for cost, i.e. if I don't think I am getting value, I couldn't care less how cheap the production cost is. If it's a USD25 pack and I feel I am getting USD25 of enjoyment or more, I don't care whether it's PDF/ cardboard/ audio version. I pay for the value I am getting from the research, the design, the playtesting and all the proofreading work.
This...
I value the work that goes into the product. For scenario packs I do not think the PDF version should be cheaper as the saving is merely the cost of priting a few sheets of paper.
If the pack has counters, maps etc. then maybe a PDF could be cheaper but then I'd be less likely to purchase it.
The huge and I mean HUGE saving for me comes from not paying the ridiculous US shipping charges and possible VAT and customs charges. Thos converys a $35 scenario pack inot a $80 pack. There are very few packs I'd pay that for. Of course I can get the pack from Sercond Chance Games for about $45 if they decide to carry it.
 

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Personally, I don't expect to pay less for PDF copies. I pay for value. I don't pay for cost, i.e. if I don't think I am getting value, I couldn't care less how cheap the production cost is.
I believe we could look at it from a different perspective. I fully agree we all look (hopefully) to pay the value of a product, but the producers have costs, and therefore I would not say that PDF should cost less, but rather that paper board should cost (only slightly, hopefully) more. The direct cost of the product and the indirect costs (interests, stock, etc.) could be material for a TPP.
I am like Von Marwitz, I prefer board card, and for the reasons stated above, I understand I have to pay a little more the board/paper products.
 

Paul_RS

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This...
I value the work that goes into the product. For scenario packs I do not think the PDF version should be cheaper as the saving is merely the cost of priting a few sheets of paper.
If the pack has counters, maps etc. then maybe a PDF could be cheaper but then I'd be less likely to purchase it.
The huge and I mean HUGE saving for me comes from not paying the ridiculous US shipping charges and possible VAT and customs charges. Thos converys a $35 scenario pack inot a $80 pack. There are very few packs I'd pay that for. Of course I can get the pack from Sercond Chance Games for about $45 if they decide to carry it.
Interestingly, I ordered a number of sheets of 1:600 decals from the USA for some planes I’m painting. Probably around 10-12 sheets. Thought I‘d get a biggish order in to avoid double dipping on postal charges. The order came to around $48. Postal charges $0. Ok it’s a much smaller package than your average scenario pack, but still…..
 

Paul_RS

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Carl has no paper copies
You can check on Kansas City ASL, I dun know.

Personally, I don't expect to pay less for PDF copies. I pay for value. I don't pay for cost, i.e. if I don't think I am getting value, I couldn't care less how cheap the production cost is. If it's a USD25 pack and I feel I am getting USD25 of enjoyment or more, I don't care whether it's PDF/ cardboard/ audio version. I pay for the value I am getting from the research, the design, the playtesting and all the proofreading work.

Plus I already saved a bundle from not having to pay shipping.



BTW.. it's the same way I think about games. A game is a game is a game. Whether it's analog or digital or whatever 10 dimensional framework it manifests on, it's immaterial. I don't agree that ASL has to be tied to an analog medium (or a digital medium etc).
The Wargame Vault ASL files are cheaper than the original price point for the printed copies and waaaaay cheaper than the cost to get hold of original paper versions via the secondary market.

Would you chase down the printed copies on eBay or go for the cheaper pdf downloadable versions? Each will provide the same play value.
Should MMP charge the current market value for the pdf versions? If value is the only driver it shouldn’t make any difference to the purchaser, other than the limiting factor of having sufficient disposable income to be able to buy them and thus reducing the potential market size in the process.

I wanted to buy all the back copies of JD Webster’s AirPower Journal, for the Fighting Wings Series of games, but all he had was printed paper copies. 52 issues, average 15-20 pages per issue. The cost would have been eye watering to ship them from the US. So I did without.
after many years he pdf’d them and they are now available via Wargame Vault. He has since produced a couple of small scenario packs also available via Wargame Vault.
I’ve bought them all. He’s made money that he otherwise wouldn’t have and I’m a happy camper.

just my thoughts.
 
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hongkongwargamer

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The Wargame Vault ASL files are cheaper than the original price point for the printed copies and waaaaay cheaper than the cost to get hold of original paper versions via the secondary market.

Would you chase down the printed copies on eBay or go for the cheaper pdf downloadable versions? Each will provide the same play value.
Should MMP charge the current market value for the pdf versions? If value is the only driver it shouldn’t make any difference to the purchaser, other than the limiting factor of having sufficient disposable income to be able to buy them and thus reducing your potential market size in the process.

I wanted to buy all the back copies of JD Webster’s AirPower Journal, for the Fighting Wings Series of games, but all he had was printed paper copies. 52 issues, average 15-20 pages per issue. The cost would have been eye watering to ship them from the US. So I did without.
after many years he pdf’d them and they are now available via Wargame Vault. He has since produced a couple of small scenario packs also available via Wargame Vault.
I’ve bought them all. He’s made money that he otherwise wouldn’t have and I’m a happy camper.

just my thoughts.
Hey, a business charge what they think the market can bear.

I said I don't expect to pay less for PDF copies. If they cost less, all good. If they don't, that's fine as well. Cost of production producer concern, not a consumer concern.

I love getting the Bunker issues, Nor'easter Pack & the Kansas City ASL stuff (all PDF) with NO shipping too

Was looking at David Chandler's "The Campaign of Napoleon". The Kindle version is $57.42 and the Hardcover is $53.59. Businesses charge what they think the market can bear, and in this case it's probably rather preferable to have that volume on your Kindle if you have to lug it around.
 
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JoeArthur

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I don't understand why the question is limited to TPPs.
Because MMP products all come with a map. After the issue of a GI's dozen that became their business model.


As Jazz mentioned printing counters and maps to a high quality is not possible for the majority of us.
 

Carln0130

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Just discovering this thread now. Here is my take.

First of all, as the OP said, no printing cost, no shipping cost, put out a high quality, graphically pleasing PDF. No paper copies. All you need is a printer. All that is appealing.
As for cost of the issues. I intend to charge 2.00 per scenario and variable rates for the HASL maps, which will be in printable pdf that can be taken to a printer such as Staples, Kinkos etc and knocked off for a reasonable rate. For that reason, the average cost of an item from me will be lower, to allow for the fact that if it does have a HASL map, the player will have to print it. Every item that possesses HASL maps will also have a VASLized version of that HASL map included. That way the VASL players get instant gratification too and if they are a primarily VASL oriented player, they don't even need to print the map.

Now some people, who I lovingly refer to as counter fondlers, ;-) enjoy the physical product and that is all well and good. None of my products will ever include new counters, as this is not possible in this medium. However, a player in say, Austrailia or Belgium will be able to purchase my products and pay the same freight as someone in the next town over from me. I think that is a huge advantage and opens things up for the international market considerably. We in the states don't quite get what a pain it is to get this stuff internationally. Click a button then print it out and it looks pretty isn't a bad gig.

As for quality, yes, there is a lot of work that goes into all of these. If you have never been part of a design team, then you honestly have no idea. I played competitively for years, still do on occasion, but I didn't get the whole picture for what goes into it, until I tried my hand at it myself. It is a lot of work and everyone on the team really does bust it to make the product better. Why? Our name goes on it. I'm a bit old fashioned, but that definitely matters to me and really, everyone I have worked with. (Fine almost everyone, but I won't derail a fine thread).

Should that reflect in the price? Well, here is the counterbalance to that. As the profit is 100% and shared equally among the design level participants, and where this is a far higher profit margin than if you did it by print, or through a publisher other than yourself, the quality/price aspect is already being compensated for as it is baked into the business model already.

Do I think it should replace traditional print publications? No. I think there is a niche for both. I just intend to stay in my lane and work my niche ;-).
 

Vic Provost

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Just discovering this thread now. Here is my take.

First of all, as the OP said, no printing cost, no shipping cost, put out a high quality, graphically pleasing PDF. No paper copies. All you need is a printer. All that is appealing.
As for cost of the issues. I intend to charge 2.00 per scenario and variable rates for the HASL maps, which will be in printable pdf that can be taken to a printer such as Staples, Kinkos etc and knocked off for a reasonable rate. For that reason, the average cost of an item from me will be lower, to allow for the fact that if it does have a HASL map, the player will have to print it. Every item that possesses HASL maps will also have a VASLized version of that HASL map included. That way the VASL players get instant gratification too and if they are a primarily VASL oriented player, they don't even need to print the map.

Now some people, who I lovingly refer to as counter fondlers, ;-) enjoy the physical product and that is all well and good. None of my products will ever include new counters, as this is not possible in this medium. However, a player in say, Austrailia or Belgium will be able to purchase my products and pay the same freight as someone in the next town over from me. I think that is a huge advantage and opens things up for the international market considerably. We in the states don't quite get what a pain it is to get this stuff internationally. Click a button then print it out and it looks pretty isn't a bad gig.

As for quality, yes, there is a lot of work that goes into all of these. If you have never been part of a design team, then you honestly have no idea. I played competitively for years, still do on occasion, but I didn't get the whole picture for what goes into it, until I tried my hand at it myself. It is a lot of work and everyone on the team really does bust it to make the product better. Why? Our name goes on it. I'm a bit old fashioned, but that definitely matters to me and really, everyone I have worked with. (Fine almost everyone, but I won't derail a fine thread).

Should that reflect in the price? Well, here is the counterbalance to that. As the profit is 100% and shared equally among the design level participants, and where this is a far higher profit margin than if you did it by print, or through a publisher other than yourself, the quality/price aspect is already being compensated for as it is baked into the business model already.

Do I think it should replace traditional print publications? No. I think there is a niche for both. I just intend to stay in my lane and work my niche ;-).
Well said Carl, pdf is the way to go for scenario packs and your idea of sending VASL maps for anything you do that does have a map in it is brilliant, other than when I go somewhere for ftf play, I am playing almost exclusively in VASL now, hardly break out my own counters anymore. Yes, if you have not published an ASL product, you have no clue how much time and effort goes into it, a labor of love is what we do...
 

hongkongwargamer

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Yes, if you have not published an ASL product, you have no clue how much time and effort goes into it, a labor of love is what we do...
THIS

I mean ... Jezussss .. the number of times I hear people going over and over about how pretty (or not pretty) the counters are and/or the production value of the map etc etc.

YOU ARE BUYING METICULOUSLY RESEARCHED SCENARIO DESIGNS WITH CAREFULLY WORKED OUT INTELLECTUAL CONSTRUCTS.

You are not swapping money for colored cardboard here .. well, you shouldn't be anyway, not at our intelligence level.
 
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