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Price point on HC RPG Books

E.T.Smith

A Most Sincere Poseur
Validated User
It has to be remembered that the audience for hardcover corebooks is much more niche than it used to be, and has shifted from adolescents with little cash to adults with a steady income. That sort of marketing model encourages fancier product at a higher price point (just look at single-issue comicbooks for a similar trend over the decades). The exception that proves the rule is D&D, whose mass-market appeal means the PHB (the only corebook most people who try roleplaying will ever buy) regularly sells for $25 or less.
 
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DavetheLost

Registered User
Validated User
Running the D&D 5e core books and the AD&D 1e core books through one of those online calculators for prices at different dates told me that the 5e core books actually cost a bit less in adjusted dollars than the 1e core books did back in the day.

For a comparatively small print run, full color, hard cover book, RPG books are not all that expensive. Look at the prices of books for artists or other specialty books for a price comparison point. Mass market novels and such are not at all the same thing.
 

komradebob

Registered User
Validated User
What percentage of a day's income does a hard cover book cost?

That's my gauge on whether something is expensive or not :D
 

Adam

Posthuman
Validated User
Literally the only comment beyond "I'll take it!" on EP2's $59.99 price at Gen Con was "Really? That seems like too little."

(I think as prices for hardcover core books gets higher, publishers need to be careful to release lower-priced introductory material, of course!)
 

baakyocalder

Member
RPGnet Member
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$70 for Kenzer & Company books, but they are excellent hardcovers and a fairly small run. $80 for Stars Without Number Revised in hardcover (with PDF as well) for again, a beautiful and well-written book.

Hardcovers are more for prestige, or because you are getting a fairly full game and that's the one tome you need.

I grew up where there were both hardcovers and softcovers but most of the books I bought were softcovers. I'm fine with either in print as long as the book holds together well and has what I want to game with.
 

I. J. Betty

Registered User
Validated User
It feels incredibly expensive, but $70 in 2018 money is only $45 two decades earlier, which sounds like a pretty reasonable piece to Isaac '98 for a large new hardback.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
It feels incredibly expensive, but $70 in 2018 money is only $45 two decades earlier, which sounds like a pretty reasonable piece to Isaac '98 for a large new hardback.
The 3.0 Players Handbook for D&D came out in 2000, for $20. That was artificially low and the price jumped after the first printing, but $45 would have been considered extremely high at the time.

That's what people miss about the prices of RPGs. It's true that cover prices have trended below inflation, but it hasn't been steady. There are sudden bursts in price, and then long periods where things don't change. This gets confused a bit by changes in format and technologies, but the price in 1988 was probably fairly close to the price in 1998. But between 1998 and today there have been a couple big jumps, and while I don't remember what year they happened, they were fairly sudden. I remember when people were complaining about $40 and then it became the new norm, then the same happened to $50. It's a weird mix, and seems driven by tentpole releases.
 
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