Thursday, October 07, 2010

Episode 82---The Future of Publishing Royalty...

In this week's episode Socar, Drew, Patrick, and Jeremy discuss digital publishing and the topic of royalty agreements along with the true purpose of the iPad.
Not to be missed!

We are a proud member of the Visual Artist Podcast Network!

If you have ever worked under a royalty agreement, please share your experiences with us!
What do you see as the future of publishing?
Do you currently own any game titles in digital format? What do you think of how it compares to printed materials?
Where do you see things headed for rpgs and board games?

And -- give Patrick a good experience with royalties and buy Starkweather: Immortal, available for immediate shipping from and other wonderful retailers everywhere!


Anonymous said...

The idea of print vs digital is changing. White Wolf just announced that they are going completely digital. Could be the beginning of an interesting wave...

just a thought

Ninja Mountain said...

Very interesting, Jon.
I do wonder what this development portends...

The optimistic side ( which is my usual stance) sees good things ahead for games if this gains steam.
IF this market opens up, perhaps we will see a fair-sized upsurge in publishing...
Hopefully with less implosive effect than the D20 boom.
Illustrators may find themselves signing many more contracts asking for "first digital rights" versus the current contract paradigm...

Ninja Mountain said...

Oops--I should probably note that the last post was from Jeremy McHugh...

Anonymous said...

on the issue of saving money for digital - it's a wonderful theory, but it doesn't seem to be holding water.

Print costs are minimal compared to resource costs. Print costs are also offset by the costs of digital distribution and e-commenrce costs.

Add to that the fact that you CAN"T charge the same MSRP. Everyone wants a digital product for free. They see little inherent value, and that drives the price point downward (the race to the bottom as was discussed).

Another issue...getting seen. Walk through a book store and you have the ability to attract eyes that might never have seen your product. Digital distribution means you are generally pitching to an invested consumer base (because they go to your website and know about the product releases). Think about it. When was the last time you went to Amazon and just flipped through ALL of the art books listed there. Yeah...never.

I try to be optimistic, but I'm bracing for the worst.

Great discussion!!

Ninja Mountain said...

IT's great to be getting your thoughts on the topic, Jon. Though, I am now bummed...;)

I've heard you and others discuss the digital age of publishing and would love to have you on the show to discuss it from the publisher's point of view.

As a jobbing illustrator, my own connection with a title's financial success begins and ends with my artistic contribution-- so my personal experience on the publishing side is understandably limited.

Given the cons to digital distribution, why do you feel any publisher would adopt the model? It sounds like a financial loser when one considers consumer feelings toward paid digital content and other inherent costs.

As for the digital shop versus brick and mortar retailers--it seems that the battle for consumer eyes remains the same as ever. Both can be overwhelming and the book store can hold on its shelves only a small fraction of what is available out there!

The battle for consumer eyes and hearts seem the two biggest obstacles.

One thing that the internet offers is longevity. Since book stores are seemingly loath to re-stock books-- titles remain available in the stores for a very short period of time ( generally).
While digital titles ( like embarrassing statements and awkward YouTube videos) can potentially remain in the public eye for eternity.... :)

Would volume and availability be the answer to the digital conundrum?


Anonymous said...

Just give me a call. I'm always open for you guys.

Just remember, this is my personal opinions - not Wizards. Wizards has almost daily discussions about the health of the industry and ways to help grow the industry (as well as our own bottom line, of course). I'm not privy to such high level discussions - they are outside of my paygrade.

My personal belief of why digital is the direction many publishers will be moving? Simple. That is where the audience is. The "boomers" are aging and becoming less of a economic force her in the states. The younger generations are increasingly digital focused - to the point of forsaking traditional medias in most aspects of their lives. The publishing world knows that they have to find a distribution method that taps into that market, and so far digital looks like the best bet. No one has really figured out a great way to make it work yet, but everyone is looking at it and researching it.

I think we will be seeing a increasing number of publishers that will be utilizing digital and print-on-demand publishing to start moving their companies to a new publishing model. Is that the ultimate answer for them? I don't think so. I think it still demands too much of the "digital kids". They are being raised by entrainment channels that have stripped the idea of personal creativity and imagination from their products, and instead feed the consumer every little bit of detail and information -- hyper realism in movies, photo-realism in video games, etc.

It's an interesting time to be in the publishing world...again. I experienced the industry change when the personal computer come on the scene. I believe we are looking at the foreshadowing of the next evolution in the industry...

Don't take my thoughts to be all doom and gloom though. I think there are some amazing opportunities out there for the person that is bold and willing to take a chance. That would be another conversation though...

Felipe Gaona said...

About the printing and distribution, RPG Books are much more expensive in other countries such as mine, distribution costs are higher when things are shipped from one side of the world to the other, you have to add resellers and you have the Player's Handbook costing 80 USD, our pay rates are lower too so it ends up being a very expensive item.

Digital distribution can be a lot cheaper in this case, and as mentioned on the podcast you don't have to carry around a small truck to play in the cases of RPGs.

CGriffin said...

I do covers for literary (ahem!) e-books, guys (and lady.) I can vouch for the fact the companies don't pay a fraction of what print publishers pay. I struggle to get $100 a cover. Patrick touched on a great many reasons why this is the case.

I love the idea that "when the tide rises, all boats float", but the fact there is no physical product, there are few ways to tell a good product from a crappy product, and there clearly IS a race to the bottom in terms of price per item, all these factors make publishers very reticent to pay artists a fair wage. Add to that any Tom, Dick and Harry can now self-publish their own digital book, it floods the market with more chaff than wheat.

If you think the relative cheapness to produce an e-product will impart more money to the art budget, well, that just ain't the case. It means less money is required to start a business (therefore smaller budgets overall) and there are SO many artists willing to work for peanuts, they'll find someone to fit their bill eventually.

Until there's a break-out best-seller to be published digital-only and nearly everyone has a Kindle or iPad or laptop, digital art will be undervalued. Maybe White Wolf's decision to go all-digital will shake that up a bit. Here's hoping, anyway!

My big fat two cents...

Shaun Patterson said...

I have tried to enjoy comics in a digital format and I have been impressed with the guided experience that you get from Marvel comics online. That being said, its just not the same as having the tactile object and the experience that goes along with it. I am definitely pro digital in a lot of ways, i usually carry around all my MBA readings on my Kindle vs destroying a whole forest for virtually every class. I also have tones of art related PDF books but I don't have a connection with any of them like I do with my printed books. I think in the end it will come down to "everything in its own place" and I hope that printed material always sticks around in popular culture and not just in museums.

fantasio said...

Trends come and go, the ipad isn´t a new medium, don´t believe the hype!
But fact is, it brings the medium of young and hip generation to the ones that are grown up with the traditional book for the reasons you´ve discussed in the podcast.

The reason I see why the big companies will have at least one foot in the digital realm, is that:"data is the new oil".

As illustrator I don´t care what the usage is, as long as the payment is the same, funny thing is that some publishers try to put the price down because its "just internationally" -they simply don´t know that there is a huge difference in national and international use.

My suggestion is to keep the prices up, (that keeps business sane for all others involved) educate your clients and don´t play too much games on the iPad;-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I couldn't read your comment; I was too busy playing games on the iPad. :-D