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Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






How do?

Rather than clog up not one, but two threads, thought I'd start this one for my ramblings.

In short? During their customer survey, I requested that GW make legacy rulebooks available Print On Demand. After all, they've produced a very lovely reproduction of the original Rogue Trader rules (complete with the S3 Bolter, S4 Bow!) for the 30th Anniversary - and seems to have gone down a treat. And that sod is only available at Warhammer World and Events.

Why not Waaaagh! Da Orks, 'Ere We Go, Freebooterz, Realm of Chaos (both volumes) et al? I mean, that's the genesis of the hobby we now play, the very original roots first laid down decades ago.

For those who want, it could become possible to play 1st Ed 40k with modern minis. For the rest of us, it's a nice little collection of early background and 'spirit' of 40k. And all in pristine, non-pagey-fally-outy condition (well, unless you're the unfortunate sort books like to detonate around)

Same could be done with the very early Warhammer books - provided there's no copyright issues of course.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Someone suggested they could make floor tiles available PoD. If that's possible, I'm all for it.

And being Print on Demand, surely it's a relatively risk free investment for GW? Just need a good quality original, and that high quality scanner they used for Rogue Trader. Get them pages scanned in, page set it, sling the file over to the printing service*, job's a good 'un. I know I'd be in for those just for the background.

But how else could GW better exploit Print on Demand technology? It's not something I'm very familiar with as a technology. Would it be possible to order articles/entries in Gang War/Death Zone on a 'per article' basis only? Say you only really want the Delaque rules, but not whatever else comes with. Surely if the article is made available as a file, we can create custom printed and bound books of the rules we do want? Just putting it out there. Again, I've no idea if that's actually possible/feasible.


*Probably more to it than that. But you get the gist.

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Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut




Interesting though. Although I imagine the (perceived at least) low quality of PoD publications will stop them doing this any time soon. Modern GW books are top notch quality (with a price tag to match) and I doubt they will see the relatively small income they'd get from PoD books would be worth the potential to risk to the brad's image.

Would be happy for them to prove me wrong though.
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut






Fantasy Flight use (used) a POD service for card deck expansion packs for games (for example, the expansions for Death Angel). I don't know how the economics work out, but it could reduce their need to hold stock of all the card decks they're starting to produce nowadays.
   
Made in gb
Courageous Grand Master




-

Well said OP.





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Made in us
Awesome Autarch






While it's all very cool, and I'd like to see it...it does come down to numbers. And a couple hundred or thousand nostalgia sales are a low priority in the tens-of-thousands of sales produced by current product.

 
   
Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






Which is why PoD is the answer

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Made in us
Awesome Autarch






Right, I just mean even the smallest amount of time/effort/work put towards that would be seen as wasted time in the grand scheme of making money.

Someone still would have to handle returns, issues, etc. Someone would have to scan/prep all the files for printing and work with their own printing studio (or if they farmed it out) etc. Even though it wouldn't be a crazy amount of work, I just don't know if GW would bother with side-lining staff to do something like that for such a small return.

 
   
Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






That's still quite cheap to get already existent books back on the market though. And a diversified stock is never a bad thing. Spesh when there's no need to actually maintain a stock of said stock!

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Made in us
[DCM]
Potent Grey Knight Librarian





Fort Worth, TX

They could easily just sell digital copies online for affordable prices. That's what WotC did with the old D&D library.

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Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






That'd be cool too. But for me, has to be alongside printed copies.

It's a touchy feely thing

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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




UK

I often wonder why print-on-demand services are not more widely used in the market; even in books there are few publishers that have a well known and large print on demand library for older publications. I do wonder if part of the issue is that behind the scenes the economics of print on demand just don't tend to work in favour of the company enough to make it worth investing and, worse, might actually wind up costing them instead of breaking even or generating profit for them (or what profits there are are inconsequential)

   
Made in de
Inspiring Icon Bearer






 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
That'd be cool too. But for me, has to be alongside printed copies.

It's a touchy feely thing


I think a comprehensive digital library would be the best starting point because half of the work is done and already making money. From there reformatting for print on demand to offer an additional avenue for customers to hand over their money is a lot easier leap than starting out with print on demand as the goal.

I'm not sure GW is happy enough with the historical presentations of their IP to actually do something like that. A collector's item like the Rogue Trader reprint is one thing, but now that they're spending so much time VerbNoun NounNouning everything, would they really want to spend time going back to Obiwan Sherlock Closeau? Would be cool for sure, but aside from actual sales I think they might be worried about the IP's perception.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/01 17:15:11


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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




UK

Another thought is that product identity is a LOT easier if you stick to one edition.

In their view if everyone is using 8th edition then everyone is on the same field. If they bring back legacy editions there's a riks that some clubs/groups might shift to fully legacy editions and as such sales of newer material might dry up (since new models won't get legacy rules; since legacy rules won't get new expansion rules sets and such).

So from a company perspective I can see why they want to stick to one edition. It's easier and simpler for a new gamer to know what to get and what is valid and it decreases the number of clubs that run legacy editions; thus helping to promote and keep their current version going.


also don't forget support. Legacy games even if on print on demand would still get GW getting emails and queries about them and could confuse customer service on that score.

   
Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






 Overread wrote:
I often wonder why print-on-demand services are not more widely used in the market; even in books there are few publishers that have a well known and large print on demand library for older publications. I do wonder if part of the issue is that behind the scenes the economics of print on demand just don't tend to work in favour of the company enough to make it worth investing and, worse, might actually wind up costing them instead of breaking even or generating profit for them (or what profits there are are inconsequential)


Could be simple cultural inertia.

PoD still feels very new to me - so it could be that Those That Are just aren't familiar enough with it's potential?

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Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

Well, POD isn't a magic technology. All it really means is "print on demand," and that is really quite literal--you don't keep a stockpile of things and only print them (and bind them) when they're ordered (DriveThruRPG/Cards/Wargames is a prime example of this).

While some of it can be fairly well automated, what is not automated is the preparation of the digital files in the first place. So this means that someone would have to assemble and layout the files for the POD service. Now, granted, if you're also doing digital layout for a book (which is very common nowdays), this really doesn't add much time to, essentially, "Save As..." in a different format/tweaked layout for POD book. It doesn't, however, mean that you can automat any kind of "per article" kinda thing--that would still require someone manually making that article separately, preparing the files for it, etc.

The benefits of POD is not eating up space in the warehouse with books that may never sell. There are some drawbacks though: generally lower margins, and unless your shop is very experienced with it (see my comment about DriveThru), it may be a huge hassle and quality may really be sub-par.

I'm not sure if GW has in-house printing and binding facilities. If they're outsourcing that part, then I really don't expect to see them do too much more POD stuff, especially not in any kind of piecemeal "pick these articles and bind them together" kind of way (in fact, I don't see that happening, period). If they're putting those facilities in-house, then we might see more options, but the most likely thing, I think, will be that we'll see initial releases of books, then instead of going to a second printing once sold out, they'll go to POD status (maybe).
   
Made in us
The Last Chancer Who Survived





Norristown, PA

I would bet most of the books printed in the last decade or 2 are all digital format and would be fairly easy to set up in POD with a PDF export. Really old books might require more work, but I don't think it would be a huge effort to set up a real POD service. I would guess they probably won't just because they want to stay focused on the current editions of their games to drive more new model sales.

   
Made in us
Painting Within the Lines




Seattle, WA USA

 Necros wrote:
I would bet most of the books printed in the last decade or 2 are all digital format and would be fairly easy to set up in POD with a PDF export. Really old books might require more work, but I don't think it would be a huge effort to set up a real POD service. I would guess they probably won't just because they want to stay focused on the current editions of their games to drive more new model sales.
Yeah, pretty likely that anything printed in the last 10 years has a digital layout file that would be easy to use.

The idea of picking individual articles/sections out of various books/magazines, though, is right out since that would require each thing to already be its own, separate file. I think GW can probably do this, and seems to be exploring it with the Necromunda POD thing they just did, but I expect it to take a while before they find a flow that works well for them.
   
Made in us
Mutating Changebringer





New Hampshire, USA

I'm not familiar with PoD. I'm assuming you mean just printing out a copy of their rule books?

A quick search online will find older files of the older books. I have ever single GW rule book on my phone and in multiple languages!

Some wouldn't even be worth the effort. Waaagh! Orks was reprinted a few years ago as the modern Ork codex of that edition.

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Made in us
Nurgle Chosen Marine on a Palanquin






I would buy both Realms of Chaos books the instant they were available.

 
   
Made in us
The Last Chancer Who Survived





Norristown, PA

 DeffDred wrote:
I'm not familiar with PoD. I'm assuming you mean just printing out a copy of their rule books?

A quick search online will find older files of the older books. I have ever single GW rule book on my phone and in multiple languages!

Some wouldn't even be worth the effort. Waaagh! Orks was reprinted a few years ago as the modern Ork codex of that edition.


Print on Demand basically means you are ordering a printed copy of a book that's not in stock. The company will print and produce the book when you order it so they don't have hundreds/thousands collecting dust in a warehouse. Wargame Vault does this, I've used them for my own game. They do print on demand books and cards, pretty handy and the quality is good.. not as high quality as a GW book off the shelf, but good enough for gaming. The paper in the books seems to be kind of like regular ole printer paper, but the cards seem to be much better quality. Game Crafter is another one and they also can make whole board games, but they get real pricey real fast.

So this method would be great for collectors who want old, out of print books. GW could use a service like this with minimal effort for some of the more recent things at least. How about a POD White Dwarf archive?

   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

It would be interesting to be sure (and i'd probably take advantage)

however the fallout of the Chapterhouse case seemed to show that GW didn't own everything they thought they owned as a bunch of stuff (especially art, but I seem to recall that rules were at least implied) was done without proper contracts by people who were not full staff

(and some of they stuff they did own was only 'paid for' for use in the specific place they originally published it rather than ownership transferring in full)

so it might well be expensive, risky or both to put out the really old stuff, chasing it down for a single, very hard to get hold of book like the original Rogue Trader for a big anniversary made sense (or just crossing their fingers and hoping), doing it for all of the old stuff probably doesn't

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/01 20:28:50


 
   
Made in nl
Moustache-twirling Princeps




We'll find out soon enough eh.

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
That's still quite cheap to get already existent books back on the market though. And a diversified stock is never a bad thing. Spesh when there's no need to actually maintain a stock of said stock!


I'm not sure GW have fully moved beyond the mindset that it is, in fact, a bad thing. Recall they spent well over a decade "consolidating" their product line down to just 40K and WHFB, then killed WHFB to launch a reboot with a fantasy game that was more like 40K. There still seems to be a fairly strong paranoia at GWHQ that every time they offer the possibility of buying something other than the company-mandated newshiny release customers will vanish down some rabbit hole of Oldhammer or 3rd party bitz makers and end up playing WarmaHordes instead of Space Marines.

You're absolutely right about PoD of course, it's ludicrous that they have such a vast trove of fully-owned novels and rulebooks sitting around on hard drives somewhere and yet the only access they permit to them is an occasional dripfeed of re-releases, often time- or location-limited. But then another attitude GW seem to be having trouble dropping is the idea that they don't just deserve to make some money, they deserve ALL the money, and they'll give up on some money now if there's even a vague possibility they could have all of it later - they'd rather retain the option to sell you a limited-edition location-specific foil-cover super-duper-shiny-limited-time-only reprint for five or ten times what a book of a given size & length & quality should cost than let you buy a PoD paperback right now for the price of, well, a paperback.

I was genuinely surprised they put the Necromunda novels up for PoD, but erring on the side of caution all I can discern from that move for now is that they don't have any intention to release those books again in the future in any format.

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Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






I really think it’s just people at the top who aren’t fully up on modern technologies.

And that’s really quite normal. It’s no surprise that the Tech Successes tend to be run by youngsters. They’re the ones properly getting to grips with it because they’ve no preconceived notions.

I was thinking earlier on the coach home, and it struck me that they’re happy to do models that way. Made to Order is yet to properly whet my whistle in terms of what’s on offer (I’m a slag for new), but surely if we keep talking about it and get a general buzz, they’ll latch that there’s at least some kind of demand.

Mind you, we can’t rule out that they have indeed looked into it. Possibility isn’t after all the same as feasibility.

Now, let’s all assume, just for a second and as wishful thinking, that said hypothetical study underestimated demand the way they did Blood Bowl.

I mean, there’s clear similarities. Blood Bowl is an old, old game. And the rules we’ve got now have been around for at least 20 years. And since they pulled it, imitators have sprung up to service that market. So one can understand a cautious approach that paid off big time. But instead of a 20+ year old game, we’re talking 20+ year old Rulebooks, albeit ones absolutely chock full of fluff.

The concept really isn’t terribly dissimilar. And for all we know, the Rogue Trader 30th Anniverdary Edition (which as touched on, is 100% a clean, untouched up copy of the original) is a testbed.

Once more, let’s make a rude assumption that is the case. If it is, I can well see why they made it event exclusive. After all, that’s a sales motivator of a kind. The sales aren’t afterthoughts, so much as ‘I’m going over there so I can buy this’. That’s a very different thing to point of sale merchandising.

Of course, none of us have access to the sales data, so we don’t know how many they’ve shifted. But it seemed warmly welcomed by the community as a concept. The only ‘data’ I have are anecdotes through my Loot Sharing Group. I’ve sorted five or six folk overseas with copies. Who knows how many have been shifted on by Filthy Dirty Scalpers. But there’s definitely some kind of demand.

Now, make that book Print on Demand? Minimum effort really. The files for Rogue Trader already exist. They must do.

As long as they can look to that data, and compare it to the cost to digitise a very old book? They could well see that whilst possibly not megabucks, it’s a favourable investment. Get hold of a clean copy (they’re bound to have them. I’ve seen the archive. Through a window in a door. But I’ve seen it!), and have Office Junior Dave or whoever do Very High Resolution Scans. From there, it’s just through the digital resizograph to make it into the right kind of file. Suddenly, Bob is your Aunty’s Live-In-Lover.

Hell, even if it’s scanned in a few pages a day when people have completed their tasks, it won’t take long to get the whole thing ready to squirt down the inter tubes to the printers.

And it starts with us, collective Dakkanauts. If you like the idea, tell GW. And then tell them again. And get your friends to tell them. And their friends. And their friends. And so on. And so on.

All they need to see is that the market exists, and for the cost it’s pretty much Phree Munneh.

I mean, think about the man hours. How long would it really take to take an old book and digitise each page? Work that out, and see how many copies you’d need to shift just to break even. I’m willing to bet it’d be in the dozens, tops. It’s all sat there awaiting the tender caress of modernity. Compare that to laying out a whole new book? Fraction of the time I’m willing to bet. Hell, Luddite I may be, I suspect there’s software out there to do much of the work for you, no?

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Made in gb
Monster-Slaying Daemonhunter







 Geifer wrote:
I'm not sure GW is happy enough with the historical presentations of their IP to actually do something like that.


I agree with you. Especially now they are retconing the name of everything so they can trademark it.

But of course this would be wonderful f it did happen.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/02 00:48:41


   
Made in nl
[MOD]
Indomitable hell rider of glorious renown






The muddy marshes and bogs of the Netherlands

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of the older stuff is lost to them or filed away somewhere very, very deep never to be found again. I mean, when I visited WHW the Rogue Trader book they had on display was quite tatty and used looking.

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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut






There was a lot of early books and miniatures on display at Warhmmer Fest, but most of those were from staff members' private collections. I wouldn't be surprised if they're missing a lot of early material; a significant proportion of the studio miniatures from the early 90s and before are now in the hands of Bryan Ansell, I've seen the Warp Runners titans featured in several photos in White Dwarf and Codex Titanicus on a third-party blog (the blog owner purchased them from the original painter), etc. The books would have been pasted up manually rather than on computer, and they were made one or two office moves ago - plenty of scope for them to wander off.

If I owned a pristine set of all the 2nd edition books, for example, I wouldn't want to donate them to a project like this. To get good scans, you're going to have to destroy the originals (by removing the spine of the books to separate them into individual leaves).
   
Made in fi
Fixture of Dakka





 Elbows wrote:
While it's all very cool, and I'd like to see it...it does come down to numbers. And a couple hundred or thousand nostalgia sales are a low priority in the tens-of-thousands of sales produced by current product.


Which doesn't mean it's not profitable and PoD is low overhead for them. Nor are they competing with each other. You can have sales of both at the same time without them eating each others sales and indeed are likely to get sales you wouldn't have gotten without it.

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Made in gb
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Cardiff

POD is easy as a third party does it all and you pay a fee for production, plus one for shipping if you choose to have it sent direct.

POD leverages your entire back catalogue, without having to risk money on a print run or hold stock.

POD is of comparable quality to litho printing these days. You won't even know in some cases whether a book in the shops is litho or POD. Random House has gone POD on it's entire backlist. A lot of publishers do 'short run digital' prints with same cover, barcode etc. whilst waiting for a litho run to come in. You probably own a POD book right now.

POD allows worldwide dropshipping via partners. Buy in the US? They print and send at a US partner. Buy in the UK? Do it at Gardners or Lightning Source here.

POD is not the shoddy thing it was and GW should absolutely leverage it as the best book publishers already are.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/04 11:19:11


 Stormonu wrote:
For me, the joy is in putting some good-looking models on the board and playing out a fantasy battle - not arguing over the poorly-made rules of some 3rd party who neither has any power over my play nor will be visiting me (and my opponent) to ensure we are "playing by the rules"
 
   
Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






Exactly.

The only costs are in digitise the product. Even compared to a couple of hundred sales, that's got to be a relative bargain, no?

And it likely wouldn't just be people looking for Pretty Books, but very old time gamers who might be looking to complete a collection, without breaking the bank.

GW do have an archive of their products. If you've been through the Warhammer Museum recently, you'll see stuff like boxed Battle Wagons from Rogue Trader, with an archive sticker on it. Now how complete said archive is? Well, who knows. But I suspect the books will be in there, and it seems possible that'll be more than a single copy.

But hey, why are we worried about the feasibility? Sure it's good for conversation. But if you're even slightly enthused for this as a concept, let GW know.

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Made in gb
Most Glorious Grey Seer






Minor threadomany due to related release.

Slaves to Darkness, the first of two Realm of Chaos books will be available once again at Warhammer World, and I presume GW attended events as of this weekend.

Makes me wonder when we'll get The Lost And The Damned once again.

See, between those two and the Rogue Trader reprint (no word if that's to continue mind), you can play your own Realm of Chaos warband game, including all the utterly hatstand rules and tables!

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