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skeloric

Everyone knows how I hate PDFs but...

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I highly doubt that. I'd guess it would be available to consumers for roughly $600-$700. still very expensive, but not too bad if you use PDFs a lot and have the money for trinkers. Of course, that price will rapidly go down as other firms move to compete with them for large form factor reading devices.

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Funny, I think this is the same thing I posted about some days ago in the Settings D6 would be perfect thread. I saw a report about the new factory that is about to put out these beauties in 2009 and they said it is intended to be sold for about 300 Euro.

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Sorry, I just tried to find prove on what I said about the price but couldn't find it. Maybe I confused the figures they gave. It could have been they said in the report it will initially cost about 1000 Euro and could drop to about 300 but I am not sure anymore.

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...if I could read them on this thing I might have one less reason to hate them

 

Nah, I still hate them, but that tech is kewl!

 

Too bad that it probably costs upwards of $3000.

 

I hate them too Skeloric. I can at least say I gave them a fair shake. Tried running a game using .pdfs (multiple .pdfs for this one game) and using .pdfs slowed the entire game down.

 

For me, I am getting rid of .pdfs and it has to either be in print or I just wont look at it.

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I still don't understand how looking up material in a PDF can be any slower than doing so in a dead tree book. The PDF has search functions, usually has a table of contents, you can go back to your previous page after jumping to another through the search or clickable links, if you open up all the PDFs you need for the game before hand, you just have to click their tab in the task bar to bring them to the front and as someone else mentioned in another thread, if you need to print off some pages with tables or some such, you can do it easier than breaking the spine on a hard copy to scan it and then print it.

 

I fully understand nostalgia, wanting the feel of a real book in your hands is great for me too, but if I am the GM and having to go from one place to another, I'd much rather drag my laptop along than a wagon load of actual books.

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The only problem with "portability" of PDFs is when you don't have a laptop, or one of those fancy Plastic Logic viewers that was linked. (Pretty neat thing, by the way). If those viewers were affordable, meaning under a hundred dollars, I could see myself using PDFs and going to game sessions with one of those viewers instead of books. Until then, though, PDFs will never take the place of books as far as real portability for me.

 

I don't have a laptop, so taking my desktop computer places is out of the question. Putting a PDF on a thumb drive makes it portable to a point, but there has to be a computer where I'm playing, and it has to be in the same room as I'm playing, and easy to be at while running the game. Those things usually don't all line up, though. Computers might be in many houses, but not in the room where you actually play the game. Or they may be in the same room, but facing a corner or wall or and thus not conducive to running a game and easily accessing the information when I need it.

 

Having a book handy is therefore much easier. Usually thinner than most laptops, doesn't require electricity or is limited by battery life, and can be easily placed in front of you while you're facing the players no matter where you might be playing. Yeah, if you intend to bring your entire collection along it might be a ton and a half of weight, but most GMs do a little work ahead of time and can determine the 2-3 books they might need for the session and only take those.

 

PDFs are good for reference when you're not gaming and for getting to view things for relatively inexpensive cost. I may grab a PDF here and there of something, and if I like what I see, I usually invest more money to actually get a real, much more usable (IMO) book of the game. PDFs can also be good, but only if coupled with a printer, by printing out needed pages or charts or something for the players. But if you have to start lugging around both a laptop and printer to fully gain the benefit of PDF during a game session, you might as well lug around several books. Use PDFs for the simple benefit of quick reference, easy "copying" of things, and cheaper peaks into a game. Use a real book for simplicity during a game session. Books can pretty much go everywhere, whereas PDFs aren't quite as reliable.

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The recurring problem with PDFs beyond the actual PDF itself is the "ooh, shiny!" factor.

Just because it is "progress" does not make it an improvement.

9 times out of ten, progress is the furthest thing from improvement.

People once tried to say that the fax machine would be the death of books.

After all, you could buy a chapter and have it faxed and you could read it and then dispose of it and order the next chapter at your convenience.

Guess what, it was not convenient except for maybe about 2000 or so diehard adherents to the process.

It took about 6 years to see that it was never going anywhere before they stopped.

PDF technology is only really successful as a means to distribute pirated book info across the entire world.

DRM failed as 4 or 5 companies cannot overcome a 100 million hackers trying to defeat their "protection".

Watermarking makes itself unobtrusive and therefore I have seen PDFs being passed around with minor evidence that the watermark has been similarly dealt with.

Most SERIOUS publishers will never seek PDFs as investment superior to publishing a solid physical object that they can point to as being truly theirs alone to publish and print.

It is a matter of moments to pirate virtual books, it is a matter of a huge investment to publish a counterfeit copy of the actual book -- time and effort most are not willing to engage in.

A single guy living in his mother's basement can create a pirated PDF and it can be everywhere within 20 minutes and it is likely that nothing can be done about it to equal the the financial loss that has already occurred.

But when it is a physical object being counterfeited, "Mr Cellar Dweller" is wholly insufficient.

It would take a large professional printing plant with thousands of employees several weeks of printing and shipping to achieve what the single hacker in the basement achieved with the PDF in 20 minutes.

Those weeks are fraught with peril as agencies have time to locate and shut them down.

Assets could be seized like the building and the equipment by which both the publisher and the government could be compensated for their efforts and annoyance/losses.

As such, it behooves anything even close to resembling something worthy of being called a company to produce a solid physical object.

The chances are much higher that they can guarantee the sanctity of product by being able to police the potential infringement upon their sole right to make that physical object.

Until PDF technology can overcome this stumbling block, it will remain a technological dead end.

Because the pirating flaw inherent to the PDFs cannot be overcome by the other (dubious) strengths in the financial arena in which the actual publishers dwell.

So, even if 51% of the nation decided that they prefer PDFs, PDF technology will still not be taken seriously by publishers as they must look at it through the lens of control of the right to contents remaining with those who actually PURCHASED it.

Essentially, PDFs are inherently prone to "shoplifting" to a degree that would be alarming to a book store.

Anything offered as a PDF is pirated within hours of it being available if ANYONE cared about the product at all.

While such is also true of any book physically published, the very fact that those desiring a physical copy must buy a copy which money eventually rebounds back to the publisher in which they achieve the profit they desire, but also the rate at which the physical copies might disappear in "shrinkage" is negligible to the book store and such shrinkage could never even noticeably diminish the profits of those publishers.

Grant again, a physical copy cannot "magically" reproduce a million copies of itself at all and certainly not in less than 20 minutes.

 

All of this gives me faith that PDF technology is DOA in the halls of the SERIOUS publishing industry, mostly as PDFs represent by their very nature of merely being available -- even only as a technological advancement -- lost revenue/profit, and I'd submit that publishers KNOW this very damn well indeed.

This more than any will deny PDFs any great role in history as it will be written.

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But then again, most RPG companies that solely produce PDF product are more of a pathetic attempt at a comedy act than that of a serious publishing venture.

 

Which explains why they have a customer base in dozens or hundreds or at most a single thousand or perhaps two while D&D has a customer base easily in the hundreds of thousands and White Wolf and others that deal in physical product still manage the tens of thousands even in D&D's shadow.

A physical product truly can reach the people.

The REAL people.

The people in their millions who walk into things called STORES to buy something called (generically) PHYSICAL PRODUCT.

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It's funny to me that so many of said mainstream publishers, retailers and the like seem to be heading toward ebook readers with PDF technology built into them. The aforementioned gadgets are just beginning to gear up to their potential, first it's simple black and white screens, before long they'll be in color (sort of like televisions), and prices will only continue to drop to the point where almost anyone can obtain them (again, like televisions).

 

Look at laptops, they have come way down in price for a simple unit. The example linked above is a no frills, low-ender that is only $349, yet that same set up would have cost you approximately twice that or even triple just a year or two ago.

 

I realize that a lot of folks don't have laptops and if they don't want one, that's their option. Books are fine, we've used them for centuries without much problem, I just prefer going digital when traveling to a game site (not that I actually do so anymore. I really hope to change that soon.)

 

The ease of pirating a PDF doesn't enter into what I was saying about them skel, so peddle that drivel elsewhere please.

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I have been using laptops since when the 386 was sota, but I was never really happy with them. You always have to buy new ones instead of grading up as you do with PCs and Battery times are still much too low. While handheld devices and mobile phones have developed quite a lot in the last years, laptops just keep lacking behind. Instead of becoming mobile devices you can use everywhere for a long time, they are still just lighter PCs that allow you to use them some hours while on the way from one socket to another. The EeePC is as step in the right direction but still has too few battery power.

 

I lost hope in PCs solving these problems and actually have bought no new one for some years, still using a 800 Mhz device. This is absolutely enough for working and using it to carry my pdfs around, to a con f.i. I have bought some versions of handheld devices and was always disappointed, as they are a pain to use. You get sore eyes and thumbs after a while. I thought about buying I-phone or blackberry as the price for both is dropping lately but they also have a monitor that is way too small. And with the announcements of reasonable E-ink-devices, I will postpone a decision for a while.

 

The hope to one day read pdfs on a light, mobile device that could store lots of my books electronically has stuck with me for at least 15 years. This was the reason to scan all my Torg books (apart from them falling apart) and I always fell to the sales pitch. When I see cool technology I seem to be losing my common sense.

 

Just some examples: a 386 laptop that was the size of a pocket book and had the cool feature (at that time) of a built-in microfone and tape for sound-processing (I even used it for playing sound bits during RPG sessions), a normal-sized laptop with a monitor you could take off and use it as a tablet-PC, a pdf-reader the size of an i-phone. No, I am not rich, I buy these things about one year after their introduction into the market when they are getting affordable. And I was allways disappointed.

 

I read about E-ink about 10 years ago and was hilarious. Now it is finally being introduced into the market. Amazon's kindle was the first device and this time I took pains to get really informed, in order not to be disappointed again. And it turned out, this is not what I am looking for. The same is true with Sony's librie (as it is called in japan, it has been introduced under a different name in europe). Philips has introduced the iLiad, a device that looks OK and there is a new version about to be published with colourized E-Ink. Philips' readius also looks cool, just imagine carrying all your books in your pocket but still the display is too small. I think, I will put my money into the Plastic Logic device but only after I had the chance to try it first. I was perfectly drooling when I saw the presentation video but have been disappointed too often in the past to stumble into a technology again.

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Just an FYI, but the kindle was NOT the first E-ink reader available. Sony's Ereader was using it before the Kindle was even announced.

 

All of the currently available ereaders aren't geared for large format books. They are designed for reading paperback formatted materials and work quite well for that task. Far more paperbacks are sold each year vs textbooks or RPGs. Since they consume no power except while searching or changing the display, they can be used away from the need for an outlet (no matter how slow you read you should be able to get through quite a few novels before needing a recharge).

 

As for laptops (more appropriately titled notebooks since they are a bit too hot to really hold in the lap) have never been about giving you tons of time away from an outlet. Notebooks have become desktop replacement systems, which means they are expected to do everything that a desktop can, but also be portable. The eeePCs and their ilk are trying for better battery life by cutting down on the features the system is capable of. I don't expect the eeePCs to be able to play games like WoW, but I do expect a notebook to be able to do that level of 3D work, as well as handle the other 3D stuff I play with. They also aren't upgradeable because that is one of the prices of everything be crushed down to work in the much smaller space factor of a laptop.

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I still don't understand how looking up material in a PDF can be any slower than doing so in a dead tree book. The PDF has search functions, usually has a table of contents, you can go back to your previous page after jumping to another through the search or clickable links, if you open up all the PDFs you need for the game before hand, you just have to click their tab in the task bar to bring them to the front and as someone else mentioned in another thread, if you need to print off some pages with tables or some such, you can do it easier than breaking the spine on a hard copy to scan it and then print it.

 

As I have said I have used .pdfs to run a game and the search function has been less then useful. With print games I am able to thumb through the pages very fast and get to where I want to be.

 

So I now no longer with use .pdfs. For me it's in print or I just won't look at a game.

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Funny how this seems to be such a heated debate.

 

I probably won't be getting one of those fancy PDF devices or a lap top any time soon. Maybe working with a PDF wouldn't be too bad with those. But I think I would still prefer to use a printed copy and not want to refer to the device during play. PDFs are better for researching and planning in between game sessions, IMO.

 

I'm not gonna hate on PDFs or PDF users. Whatever works for you. I've bought a few PDFs of small things that don't have a printed form available. But I prefer paper and pencil with my paper and pencil table top RPG sessions. Call me old fashioned.

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I own the sony e-reader which is awesome for reading novel type books. I am one of the biggest fans of paper books, but the device does having me read many more books than I normally would. It is so convient to carry around 1000 books in your pocket. I still own all the books on the e-reader in paperback. I am strange like that. i love my books

 

But for PDFS it is horrible. I am still waiting for the ultimate PDF reader to come out that isn't a Laptop. I was always have paperbooks, but I will definately also have them all on the reader as well. I do like the best of both worlds.

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I guess I'm greedy in that I want BOTH! LOL

 

Nothing beats the feel of a book in your hand, but at the same time when I'm working at my computer on a conversion or something, I don't want to have to keep picking up the book, thumbing through it and then going back to my computer.

 

As someone else mentioned, it's nice to have a PDF to be able to print out the one or two pages you need as player handouts.

 

Question tho... In the past, I had heard that it's legal to own a PDF of something that you already own in print. If this is correct, is there some way to prove to these PDF publishers that you, in fact, own the book and simply want a PDF for reference/backup?

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But then again, most RPG companies that solely produce PDF product are more of a pathetic attempt at a comedy act than that of a serious publishing venture.

 

Which explains why they have a customer base in dozens or hundreds or at most a single thousand or perhaps two while D&D has a customer base easily in the hundreds of thousands and White Wolf and others that deal in physical product still manage the tens of thousands even in D&D's shadow.

A physical product truly can reach the people.

The REAL people.

The people in their millions who walk into things called STORES to buy something called (generically) PHYSICAL PRODUCT.

 

Thats just a little bit extreme isnt it ?

 

PDF is not a pathetic way of publishing its just now a standard way of putting product out.

Quite a lot of Avenger's products are PDF only and it works for us, being one of the leading companies in the Traveller RPG field and very involved with Traveller's on going development with Mongoose isnt some flyby night setup.

 

If you dont like PDF products well dont buy them its a simple choice but its not on when you paint everyone who does make them with the same condescending remarks.

 

I dont want to upset the admin team so I will stop here.

 

Rog.

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Thats just a little bit extreme isnt it ?

 

PDF is not a pathetic way of publishing its just now a standard way of putting product out.

And only reach .01% of the population who actually want it in a substandard format.

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And only reach .01% of the population who actually want it in a substandard format.

 

Were you aware that 36% of all statistics found on internet forums are made up on the spot?

 

Seriously - based on the population of gamers and how many of them will buy a .pdf, your guesstimate is absolutely ludicrous.

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Skel is a very dogmatic and polarized character. If something isn't his preferred way, he tends to rationalize it as either a total waste, or a part of some great conspiracy to undermine his way of life. He doesn't prefer PDFs so anyone who uses the rapidly growing PDF distribution infrastructure to actually MAKE games is a vile and horrible amateur that doesn't deserve to exist.

 

Add to this that anyone actually producing said print games must sell them for nearly nothing (to a rapidly shrinking market) and if they don't, they are vile corporate monsters that exist only to steal money from the fans.

 

Skeloric lives in his own little world where the established laws of economics are totally irrelevant and no amount of logical explanation can convince him differently.

 

No, small publishers should continue to produce the games that make to make in pdf and if and ONLY if sales and reliable market research suggests, they should print their games as either a POD/Short Run and more rarely, traditional offset/ retail chain distribution.

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Were you aware that 36% of all statistics found on internet forums are made up on the spot?

 

Seriously - based on the population of gamers and how many of them will buy a .pdf, your guesstimate is absolutely ludicrous.

But then that truly would prove that humanity is becoming genetically inferior if "lots" of people wanted them.

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Skel is a very dogmatic and polarized character. If something isn't his preferred way, he tends to rationalize it as either a total waste, or a part of some great conspiracy to undermine his way of life. He doesn't prefer PDFs so anyone who uses the rapidly growing PDF distribution infrastructure to actually MAKE games is a vile and horrible amateur that doesn't deserve to exist.

 

Gotcha - I'll cruise over to other threads; not keen on banging my head into a wall.

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