The Price of Crowd-Funded PDFs

Posted on March 27th, by firstoni in Blog. 1 Comment

The topic of pricing PDFs is a constant one I’ve found. Not only is the idea of virtual/digital content having value up for constant debate but the market is pushing everything in that direction making the smallest adjustment of price a huge deal. Now, of course, kickstarter has come into the gaming industry and changed the game again. Now some people believe a crowd fused PDF should have a different value than one not crowd funded.

The idea of separating these two things is laughable. I have my own kind of picking that I do for Third Eye Games. I sell the physical copy of a book for one price and I sell the PDF for half that price. For example, Part-Time Gods is $30 in print and $15 for the PDF. The content has value in my eyes (and in many others’) and the half price cuts out all the file prep, printing, shipping and other costs that are paid on both ends of the equation.

However, there seems to be a gaining trend on the idea that crowd funded PDFs specifically should never be higher than $10. As if the content has less value because it is being crowd funded, that we put less effort into the material, that we pay less for the art, that it is less important to make money. All of these are laughably untrue, to the point of being offensive to the creator of the work.

I believe this may stem from the very idea of crowd funding. Some people view it as a viable purchase of something they hope to get. They want to help the creator get their vision into the world and hope that they can be a part of it in a cool and interactive way. Then there’s the other part of the crowd funding population that feel that they are “doing the creator a favor” by contributing to their project. As a creator, let me say that we are all hella-thankful that you take the time out of your day to check out our project and that you believe in us enough to pull money from your wallet and put it into ours. I know that I always pay special attention to make sure every backer gets the best customer service and I’ll bend over backwards to ensure everyone gets what they want out of the material and still retain the themes and direction I see for the project.

But I want to make it abundantly clear my stance on this topic. If you back one of my Kickstarters, IndieGoGos or whatever new crowd funding project that I come up with, we are entering a partnership. You are the patron and I am providing a service to you in exchange for your support, but you are not doing me a “favor”. You are not then “entitled” to cheaper product or that it is exactly what you want. By backing one of my projects, you are putting your faith in me and my team to deliver on an awesome project, which we have yet to fail at (which is good). That also means agreeing to the pricing that we put forth, which is pretty darn fair. We work hard to make sure it’s fair.

So, again, PDFs have a value unto themselves. One PDF is not necessarily going to be priced the same as another, even within the same company. Good thing is that Third Eye Games gives the PDF for free with the purchase of the print copy. Again, because we believe you are buying the content, in whatever form you choose.

Sorry this became a bit of  rant. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Until next time.

One response to “The Price of Crowd-Funded PDFs”

  1. Jacob Wood says:

    I am 100% with you on this. The price of a PDF should have nothing to do with whether or not it’s crowd-funded and everything to do with the amount and quality of content it provides.

    Personally, I think you’re being generous in offering the PDF for half the cost of the print product. I know that’s standard practice nowadays, but there’s a lot of work to be done in prepping a PDF for sale — just as much, if not more, than a paper book.

    Obviously I don’t have as much experience as you in this arena, but when you consider that a good PDF needs to be tagged for accessibility, bookmarked for ease of navigation, and (if you choose to go the extra mile) formatted in three or four different formats for a variety of screen sizes, that’s easily a lot more work than prepping a PDF without bookmarks that gets sent off to the printer.

    I am all about passing on the cost-to-print as a savings to the customer and rounding down to the nearest $5 or $10, but I’m not sure I’m willing to to accept that a PDF should be sold at half price for the same content.

    I firmly believe that a PDF should be thrown in with purchase of a print copy though. IMO, customers are paying for the content, not the medium.

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