Sunday, February 2, 2014

Iron Kingdoms and pdf pricing

Privateer Press recently released the Iron Kingdoms rpg as a pdf on drivethru and related sites. This was after abandoning their own app designed for distributing the book as an ecopy. However the pricing immediately had some folks stepping back (including myself).

Iron Kingdoms RPG core rules

$41.99 for a 362 page book is rather steep when compared to many other games of the same size out there. It's only around ten bucks cheaper than a print copy at that. This breaks down to 11.59 cents per page that you are paying. Outrageous pricing? Well maybe, but lets take a look around.
Looking at other current popular newly released rpgs we'll see Interface Zero coming it a twenty dollars and running at 323 pages. Now this comes up to 6.19 cents per page. Major difference here and IZ is on the top ten sellers list, so maybe the pricing has something to do with that.
Shadowrun fifth edition cruises in even cheaper than this. 489 pages at 19.99. Even more significant of a price drop coming in at a hair over four cents per page. Again it's on the top sellers list as well although I'm sure some of that is from the game being a long running favorite with a large dedicated consumer base.
So with this it really looks like Privateer is pricing themselves way over what others in the market are charging on a per page basis. Or are they? When is the last time you saw a twelve page pdf for a game selling for 48 cents? Or even 72 cents?
Lets go on back to Shadowrun and pull up some of the supporting products. Shadowrun: Firing Line sells at 12 dollars and comes in a 66 pages. This breaks down to 18.18 cents per page, much more expensive than the Iron Kingdoms book on a cost per page breakdown.
The Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion continues this trend. Clocking in at 14.99 and 96 pages long. This results in the paying 15.61 cents per page. Again the cost per page is higher than Iron Kingdoms and their 'over pricing'.
The smaller the size the more the cost seems to grow. Vortex, one of the first books to come out for Numenera has a price tag of 5.99 for 30 pages. This sorts out to a hair short of twenty cents per page. Those must be some good pages.....
So is Privateer Press pricing themselves way to high? Depends on how you look at it. The trend seems to be the core book is sold cheaply and then the price cost per page rockets up on supplemental material where people aren't so keen to notice the costs. Most of this is perspective as people look at four bucks and forty bucks and can tell you which is costs less, they just fail at checking into what they are actually getting per cent in each case. Buyer beware, do your research and all the usual advice before making a purchase. Also never stand down when questioning prices but also don't go dismissing the prices before doing some actual breakdowns on the math.


  1. It's too high, which is a damned shame because I love the Iron Kingdoms setting and have all of their 3rd edition stuff as well as most of their miniatures books. Ah well, looks like I'll be waiting to buy this until it shows up in the bargain bin.

    1. I agree it is pretty damn high. But I'm still stunned that people will pay twice the amount per page for some of the small ten page Numenera supplements and nobody complains a bit. Guess I pay more attention to the amount I get for what I spend than most others.

    2. I haven't bought Numenera, 13th Age, or Pathfinder because I find their buy in costs too high in general. I'm just entirely too cheap for my own good sometimes.