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zslane

Policy on printing PDFs?

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Well, the point could be to view/read the PDF(s) on computers and mobile devices, and that's it. There are DRM settings that can be set to restrict PDFs in exactly this manner by whomever creates them. Even if the creator/publisher doesn't do this, it may be their wish that hardcopies of the content not be made, or only made with their permission. I'm fairly certain such attempts to abrogate Fair Use rights are legally unsupportable, but I still like to know the publisher's stand on the matter.

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This subject may start coming up less and less often as people get more used to tablets or similar devices and taking them around to game and cons. Printing out a book like Champions Complete is expensive -- often prohibitively so. The only real reason to do it is if there is no access to a hardcopy at all in the marketplace, either because it is out of print or because they never made one in the first place.

 

Years ago I used to print out PDF copies of books I owned that I couldn't get hardcopies of otherwise. Now I don't bother. Too much money, too much trouble, and not really neccessary.

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I don't print the whole PDF, just certain pages. It has been handy for background and package deals to provide handouts for players.

 

Yes, Michael, it is prohibitive - unless you are running of 20+ copies.

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How much do you imagine it would cost to print, say, the 6E1 and 6E2 volumes as non-color softcover books? These books are, and will forever remain, out of print, making them attractive candidates for private hardcopy.

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It will vary greatly depending on the type of binding, the quality of the paper, and where you get it done.  If you know someone who works at a print shop and gets a discount you could probably get them spiral bound for relatively cheap.
EDIT: You would probably do better either using Google or actually calling around locally to find prices than asking here...

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For many people the cost of printing, even in black and white, and binding (in anything other than cheap spiral binding), added to the cost of the PDFs would cost more than buying the full color books.  So yeah, I could understand how that could be considered prohibitively expensive for many.

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An earlier incarnation of this website -- before the change to the current software and format -- had a Policies section which specified that the purchaser of a PDF book had the legal right to print one copy from the file for personal use. If you want to know whether that's still the company's official stand, I would suggest sending a Private Message to Jason Walters requesting clarification.

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For many people the cost of printing, even in black and white, and binding (in anything other than cheap spiral binding), added to the cost of the PDFs would cost more than buying the full color books. So yeah, I could understand how that could be considered prohibitively expensive for many.

How does one compute the cost of buying full color books that are no longer in print? If going by average used prices on eBay or Amazon, then I would submit that the cost of the PDF + the cost of perfect-bound softcover b&w printing is potentially much less, particularly since copies of 6E1/6E2 have slipped into the realm of collectibles.

 

I'm pretty sure we can agree that "self" printing (from PDFs) copies of books still in print is kind of a dumb idea. But when it comes to obtaining hardcopies of books no longer in print and difficult to obtain in like-new condition for anything less than collector prices, well, I think the cost metrics deserve closer inspection.

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On another board I was posted to this service, which offers a fairly decent price for comb-bound, black-and-white prints off PDF. They also do color for an additional fee. They'll only do one copy, of course. Of course, the legal and ethical issues remain, especially if you are trying to print an older PDF that might not have the "personal use" exemption (which even for the out-of-print titles is not something I'm sure should be implied in the purchase of a PDF).

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How can a PDF's age impact whether or not it grants the fair use priviledges accorded to all copyrighted works in the U.S.?

 

A little bit of quick research: at printMe1.com, a 464-page b&w comb-bound book with simple clear acetate cover would cost $23.26. The same book printed as a b&w perfect-bound softcover with full-color wraparound cover by lulu.com would cost $15.32, and that's before you apply a 30-35% discount code that Lulu frequently makes available. That means a Lulu version of 6E1, indistinguishable in form from the other core library volumes available from RPGNow.com, could be had for around $9.95. Personally, I find this neither cost-prohibitive nor particularly controversial. In fact, I'm surprised that Hero Games never made 6E1/6E2 available in this form (via RPGNow if not directly).

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How can a PDF's age impact whether or not it grants the fair use priviledges accorded to all copyrighted works in the U.S.?

 

A little bit of quick research: at printMe1.com, a 464-page b&w comb-bound book with simple clear acetate cover would cost $23.26. The same book printed as a b&w perfect-bound softcover with full-color wraparound cover by lulu.com would cost $15.32, and that's before you apply a 30-35% discount code that Lulu frequently makes available. That means a Lulu version of 6E1, indistinguishable in form from the other core library volumes available from RPGNow.com, could be had for around $9.95. Personally, I find this neither cost-prohibitive nor particularly controversial. In fact, I'm surprised that Hero Games never made 6E1/6E2 available in this form (via RPGNow if not directly).

 

Interesting.  The last time I looked into a Lulu book it was extremely expensive to do just about anything.  Of course that was years ago and things change.

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On the printMe1.com/Lulu price comparison, which is good work, there are a few things to note.

 

-printMe1.com includes US domestic shipping in their prices, whereas that is an additional charge at checkout for Lulu.  (+$3.99 for US Mail at lulu.)

 

-a more similar comparison would be to compare durable lay-flat binding options.  Lulu's coil costs more than perfect binding. pM1 doesn't offer perfect binding but includes GBC Comb in the basic order. 

 

-Overall,  the lowest pricing between the two services varies based on the number of pages in your pdf and a comparable binding choice. For ex:

 

...For 464 pages & lay flat binding, Lulu at 17.92+$3.99= pM1 at $21.21 vs $23.62, lulu is lowest 

but for 175 pages w/non-perfect binding, Lulu is $9.25+3.99=$13.24 vs pM1 at $11.99. printMe1 is lowest.

 

-printMe1.com has a "printguild" promo code that discounts 10%, and is simpler to use. No password, no log-in, hassles, etc.

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I hope the take-away from all that is that there are very affordable options out there for printing single, private copies of large books from PDFs, whether you want lay-flat binding or perfect binding, or even hardcover (Lulu's hardcover prices are also very reasonable). The only question I really have is how Hero Games feels about it. Hence post #1.

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Hero 6th books are probably too high a page count for perfect binding.

 

Edit: Hmm. Lulu is saying up to 740 pages. Guess they have good glue. =) Of course, it could depend on the size of the pages. The high figure may be for paperback sized books, vs the larger format of the Hero books.

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The figure of 740 (softcover) and 800 (hardcover) also applies to 8.5x11 size books. A quick jog through their project setup wizard amply demonstrates this. Plus, I've made such books through them in the past and the results have been exceptional.

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For many people the cost of printing, even in black and white, and binding (in anything other than cheap spiral binding), added to the cost of the PDFs would cost more than buying the full color books.  So yeah, I could understand how that could be considered prohibitively expensive for many.

Having printed out 6e1 and 6e2 doublesided on 24# Laser Bond, and gotten it spiral bound, WAS far more expensive than the later Hard Cover books cost. One advantage that that "cheap" spiral binding has, is that I can lay my book flat without worrying about Damaging the binding.

 

BTW 6e1 is way too big for Coil Binding (That was my first choice). I ended up having to use a Spiral (plastic comb) binding instead for that book. My 6e2 is Coilbound and it's really wonderful. You can get one off prints + binding done at a Kinkos/OfficeDepot/Staples. Sometimes you can even get it done while you wait/shop.

 

I THINK that 6e1 MAY even be too thick for Perfect (AKA Softcover Glue binding). IIRC the shipped hardcovers are stitched together, which also contributed to the books' high cost (that and the color printing on the near cardstock thickness semi gloss paper).

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6E1 is not too thick to be printed perfect bound. I don't really see the value of perpetuating that myth.

 

But none of this is germaine to my original question. And frankly, there is little point in hashing out how to make personal hardcopy prints of these PDFs if Hero Games is going to take legal action to stop it from happening.

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6E1 is not too thick to be printed perfect bound. I don't really see the value of perpetuating that myth.

 

But none of this is germaine to my original question. And frankly, there is little point in hashing out how to make personal hardcopy prints of these PDFs if Hero Games is going to take legal action to stop it from happening.

Talk about perpetuating a myth.  No one has claimed Hero would take legal action if you print your own copy of the book (and how would they!?) but more importantly someone posted information about them giving permission to print a personal copy and told you who to contact to get an official answer about if that is still the case.  If anyone is "hashing out" something that has little point, it is not those of us talking about what format, and how much it would cost to, print.

 

For the record it seems Print on Demand prices must have really plummeted in the last year or two.  I remember when 6E 1 and 2 were both still available in print and some people who didn't care about hard cover or color were talking about just buying the PDF and printing their own copy and it was cost prohibitive at that time.  Several print companies still limit perfect bound to 600 pages depending on the paper thickness, so if someone claims they are too long it is out of ignorance of current options available, not some attempt to knowingly "perpetuate a myth".

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Unless that "somebody" is an official Hero Games representative who is authorized to speak for the company, then we have yet to get an answer to my question. I am puzzled as to how my quest for an answer constitutes perpetuating a myth. I am not claiming that Hero Games will pursue legal action, merely stating that they could, and that is not a myth. Nevertheless, their public silence on the matter is worrying. I could send private email, but I would like the answer posted in a public forum, and expressed in the form of official policy. I don't find that unreasonable, do you?

 

I realize that historically, print-on-demand has not been a terribly cost-effective endeavor, especially for one-offs. But things have clearly changed (at least for b&w interior print). I guess maybe some folks think I'm just lying or something, or that Lulu's website is being downright deceitful. I can only say that such individuals are incorrect and urge them not to perpetuate an outdated, invalid understanding of the current state of print-on-demand services, because that isn't helping anyone.

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There is a good chance Jason hasn't stumbled upon this thread yet.  Perhaps if you actually ask him you may get a response (though this close to the holiday I doubt it).

I find the idea of "their public silence on the matter" being "worrying" laughable at best.  You posted the question 2 weeks ago.  You didn't post it in the Company Questions forum where it would have a significant chance of actually being seen by "the company" which at this point is basically one person.  Do I find the fact that the one person who runs this company hasn't responded to your thread that isn't even in the appropriate section of the forum as worrying?  No.  I don't.  

I don't think you wanting a official policy publicly posted is unreasonable at all.  I think the way you are going about it and the time frame in which you are expecting an answer is unreasonable, especially since it's just before the holidays and he runs Indie Press Revolutions, a distribution company and is probably extremely busy (as so many of us are) with both work and family.

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When I first posted, I tried to pick a forum that most closely matched the subject of my question. I didn't realize I had so badly missed the target. Nor was I aware that early December was entering a period of proverbial radio silence for the company. My expectations were misaligned, but in my defense I had no way of knowing that. I appreciate you setting me straight.

 

Which forum in particular would be a better place for my question?

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