Following on Fred Hicks’ recent post about on-line marketing of small-press RPGs, I just to add a belated thought on the effectiveness of distributing PDFs at low cost: my most frequent purchase of print RPG books is for items I’ve already checked and liked in PDF form. Examples off the top of my head include Truth & Justice, Faery’s Tale, Seven Leagues, The Zorcerer of Zo, Questers of the Middle Realm, Legends Walk!, Mutants & Masterminds, Freedom City, Hard Nova, etc.
The most ironic example: as some may recall, for April 1, 2006, Jared Sorensen launched a controversial “prank” on RPGNet, that presented his business as being in dire straits. Like several other people, I initially took the story as being genuine and I bought the PDF versions of three of his games in order to give a little support (Lacuna, octaNe, and InSpectres.) When the prank was revealed, Jared offered to reimburse anyone who had bought the PDFs, letting them keep the files. I got my money back, but I did read and try the games… I liked them enough that since then, I have bought all three in print.