Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Dolla Dolla Bills

Posted by Nathan P. on September 1, 2007

This may be of interest to some of y’alls.

When I released Timestream, it was partly a grand experiment to see how different price points, for the same content but different presentation, would work out.

The Basic PDF is $8.00. This is because, though there’s two versions in the package (screen and optomized-for-print), they’re both in grayscale, and there’s no PDF hyperlinking (kind of by accident, but that’s how it turned out, and whatever).

The Standard PDF is $12.00. Again, with the two versions, but it’s much prettier, with the full-color interior border and color pics. Also, the hyperlinks work. So there’s a little bit of value-added, plus the increased prettiness. I decided that this was worth an extra 4 bucks to those who cared about such things.

The Reference version is $16.00. It’s in print, it’s a grayscale interior, and it’s coil-bound. I really, really like coil binding, because it’s easy to reference at the table. So, the idea is that it’s a little less pretty, but it’s more utilitarian, and cheaper. I figured, since I’m charging 4$ more for the pretty PDF, I’ll charge 4$ more for the next “step up”. By accident, it’s also pretty much at the standard markup from the print cost (which I discovered later, when I started doing short digital print runs).

The Premier version is $26.00. Same content as the reference version, but the full-color interior (by which I mean, color borders on every page!) color pics, perfect binding, etc. So it’s more of a “real book”, right? I was gonna charge 20$ for it, keeping with my 4$ markup pattern, but then I printed them with the intent of going into distro (via Key20), and, um, that would have lost me a lot of money. I managed to figure out how to get the full-color down to something manageable, with the help of Lance at Avalon Innovations, but the 26$ price point is the lowest amount that gives me a whole dollar margin on sales in distribution. So, like, whatever, I priced it there, and I decided to see what would happen.

carry, on the other hand, is just the one version, with no plans for any others, and no fancy printing shenanigans. I looked at other games on the market, thought for a while, and decided to price it at $15.00. I was going to put it at 20, but I felt wrong about doing that, because, while I don’t think that anyone who would buy it at 15 wouldn’t buy it at 20, I don’t expect anyone except me to play the game more than once. So, 15 bucks for one evening of entertainment, that sounds fair to me, and I make enough off of that to pay for things.

Interestingly enough, while sales of all versions have slowed to a trickle, the general trend for Timestream is that the Premium far outsells the Reference, and the Standard PDF outsells the Basic PDF.

So, there’s some thoughts, from the publishers end, about pricing my small-press games.


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