I have recently been doing a lot of Print on Demand work recently and this set off a train of thought. Coupled with the fact that Ironcrown.com is broken again I started to think about physical copies of RMu.
Obviously, none of us have seen the final texts. Up until last week, it seemed that JDale was still open to making minor changes, based upon Hurin’s Gen Con feedback. So the books cannot be in editing if they are still in flux.
Assuming the text is finalized this week. Nicholas could get this edited in April.
May would be for commissioning art and final text changes.
June art would start coming back and the books could go into layout.
I would suggest that the earliest possible date to see RMu on the shelves is July 2020.
OK, I accept that that is an entirely arbitrary timeline. There is an awful lot of things that can slow it down. But assuming it not far off, we really could see RMu in 2020.
One of the things that got this thought into my head was a book I was preparing for Print on Demand. It was 123 pages and the printing cost would have been $13.12. It was my intention to sell the book for $14.99.
The print costs, in this case, were so high that I had to make a choice between increasing the sales price, to say $19.99 or making almost no money on the sale. The $1.87 profit would be split between DriveThru and me so I was really looking at less and $1.30 per sale.
The PDF has zero overhead costs and sells for $9.99.
The problem is that even selling at $19.99 I would make less money, not more, when offering a physical, and theoretically, premium product.
This book is almost exactly the same dimensions in page layout, page count and paper quality and weight as Navigator RPG will be. Selling a full game for $19.99 make more sense. I can see how that would be desirable. GMs love books.
But what would it cost to buy physical copies of the RMu books?
I am using the old Beta 2 page counts. I would expect the final books to have more pages than the beta books purely because we haven’t seen much taken out but there have been plenty of things added, Creature Law being the exception.
Arms & Character Law
The Beta is 188 pages. The final books will have art and we have seen a few more skills added. The books certainly needed some clearer explanations in places but the text held up pretty well. When I edit the page count often drops by about t10% and by the time you add in the art it typically grows by 10%. So going with the 188 pages there are two formats we could choose.
All previous Arms Laws have had black and white interiors, I have chosen the premium B/W paper.
The softcover, perfect bound Arms Law would cost $11.39, and in hardback, $15.89. That is the printing cost only.
The next book is TL. It comes in at 339 pages and there have been very few suggested changes to this book, so I think we can go with that page count. Assuming that editing and art don’t shrink or grow it by much either way.
Softcover would be $19.21 and Hardback $23.71.
Rather like TL, I don’t think this will change much. The bulk of the book is the spell lists and even if they are all updated the number of them and format remains constant.
Softcover $26.26, Harback $30.76.
This is the big unknown. We all know that the book has been split into two. I believe I read somewhere that the ‘core monsters’ come in at 600 pages. This would leave about 300 pages left over for Part 2.
All the previous core monster books were about 200 to 300 pages. So it is really hard to estimate. If it is at the bottom end then the cost would be on a par with ACL. If it is up around 300 pages then it would cost about the same as TL. If it is nearer 600 pages, after art is included it would be:
Softcover $32.73 and Hardcover $37.73.
A Full Set
To buy the books you are looking at $75 to $90 simply to print them. Looking at the existing Print on Demand titles, all these figures hold up. The pricing model used by ICE is that they make a typical $5 profit on each physical sale, which adds about $7 to the purchase price. It looks like the full set in print will be a $100 investment.
Where ICE makes its money is on the PDF version of their books. Typically they are set to about 60% of the print cost, in the $15-$18 range. Where most publishers give the PDF for free with a printed book ICE doesn’t. They charge full price for the PDF even when bundled.
Given their [ICE] past pricing structure it looks like RMu will cost about $75 to buy as PDFs, $100 to buy as books and $175 to buy together. ICE would make between $20 for a full set of printed books, $50 for a full set of PDFs and $70 for a full set of bundles.
The last question is, how much money does RMu need to make to be a success?