DriveThruRPG Pioneering Digital Distribution for Out-of-Print BooksBy
If you are into Dungeons and Dragons, Rifts, White Wolf, or a myriad of other gaming materials, you are normally out of luck in today’s digital world. Finding an online retailer to buy DND source materials is like finding a needle in a haystack. It might be easy to find a pirated version, but not the legit edition. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iBooks aren’t really in the business of selling source books or Monster Manuals. DriveThruRPG has been quietly corner-stoning the RPG market since 2004 and is betting on the future of digital.
In 2004, Mike Todd, Chris McDonough, and Steve Wieck started DriveThruRPG. DriveThruRPG and RPGNow’s combined efforts made both out-of-print and in-print RPGs easily available in electronic format to fans around the world. The company does business with a who’s-who list of the RPG worlds, including White Wolf, Wizards of the Coast, Palladium Books, and more.
The company’s main delivery method is through PDF files that are watermarked and do not have digital rights management. Long before most ebook stores like Pottermore and TOR adopted the watermark approach, DriveThruRPG did it first. This ensures that customers can easily transfer the PDF files between their smartphones, tablets, or e-readers by simply dragging and dropping the files.
All of the RPG gaming materials are not only available in English, but there are also editions in German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. There are hundreds of ebooks currently available, and the company has both out-of-print editions and all the new releases.
The prices on the website vary, as publishers choose their own pricing structure. DriveThruRPG recommends 30% off normal cover price for new books and 50% off cover price on anything over 6 months old. Almost half of all the ebooks available fall into the 50% off category, which amounts to hefty savings for RPG fiends.
I really approve of niche websites like this one, because it caters to a heavily populated segment of people that love RPG gaming material and are active roleplayers. DriveThruRPG doesn’t really get much publicity in the gaming world, but is a very solid website to get a ton of great material.