Why do we have to rebuy digital books we already own?

I also love the look of nice hardcover books. But I don’t have room to add more books to my house. I wish I could.

Yeah, there’s just nothing a digital product can do to replicate how good a hardcover book feels in my hands - and honestly it feels silly that we pay the same amount of money for both (I mean, theoretically you do, they’re priced the same outside of sales and such I believe) because one is a physical, real thing that had to be printed, distributed, stored etc. and the other is just… digital information that was freely replicated and sent ad nauseum for no extra cost to the company. But, I get that it’s like… the norm - I just sort of wish that the market had adapted more deftly to the digital situation, and realized that they should offer digital versions that are a bit more ‘bare bones’ or only the information, and then hardcover, physical books with the glorious illustrations and beautification - that way if they charged a minimal price for the plain digital version it’d make sense but also incentivize people who like things to be pretty and look cool to buy the real books. Seems like a reasonable enough win win to me.

That and being able to access the content digitally after you buy it, but that’s key codes and all that stuff, I know it’s a nightmare. I remember the Warcraft 3 CD key drama of the early internet days lol so I don’t really begrudge them that.

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I guess we kind of have the bare bones version in the form of Archives of Nethys. No lore, no illustrations, but every rule is there.

@BadEye and @Paizo, do you wish to butcher the lambs or shear the sheep? Why follow the market trends set by WotC when you can do business differently to grow your customer base and thereby your subscriptions which is where the real revenue is?

Have you considered a single fee to port a customers digital copies purchased before official launch or the test with a 3, 6, or 12 month prepaid subscription (whichever one Demiplane chooses)? This will incentivize customers to your platform who own the largest digital libraries, let alone those wanting to try PF2e through the Humble Bundle. All the PDFs on Paizo already have purchase date records, so no fudging issues.

Then sell a Foundry VTT module that does two things: Live connection to the Nexus Character Sheet with rolls etc, and importing of digital content to the platform’s compendium. This can be done now for PDFs through a free module, but without the DDB Character sheet experience during gameplay. The VTT version on Paizo could also be sold on Nexus and automatically verified and available in Foundry, it would just work.

That live connector would be the requirement for non-members to be able to connect their player’s character sheets to Foundry. Many of whom may never subscribe or purchase a book as I posit your own DDB data probably has already told you.

You would probably need to amend the existing contract between you and Paizo, but wouldn’t capturing a large portion of the disenfranchised D&D customers be worth it? Especially if they prepaid their memberships for several months, if not a year? Think of the revenue difference in book sales as marketing costs with a 100% ROI realized in long term memberships.

You’re committing to your customers while they are also committing to you. You may be surprised how attractive this would be to those disenfranchised folks.

Be bold.

Do this.
I know it’ll be an investment and resource challenge with lots to sort with Paizo, but do this!

I hate to break it to you folks. RPG publishing is not a field where a company makes a lot of money. And it takes money to pay people to write… and even convert. A single fee to move over a vast library that people still need to spend their time basically creating new versions of the books is the fast road to bankruptcy. Unless you cut corners.

I’m a poor, disabled student. But I much prefer the added expense of these quality conversions. It’s just unfeasible to expect anything else. As customers… we still have to be realistic.


Creators should be well compensated for their work, which is the argument which led to many people, myself included, heading over to Demiplane.
The idea of being able to link digital content through multiple services doesn’t reduce anyone’s income, I’d argue the opposite; it introduces the various services to more potential customers.
If I buy the physical book from Paizo and get a free pdf version, rather than having to buy the same content, that would be great and a strong two fingered salute to a large, recently humbled company.
If the same content is available on Demiplane and I can pay the difference between their sale of the same pdf and online functionality and the price of the pdf on Paizo, I would. But having to buy the pdf yet again hurts.
I can buy Foundry VTT content on its own from Paizo if I already have the pdf, and I think people are hoping for a similar deal between Demiplane and Paizo.
The content creators don’t lose out, Demiplane still get paid for their translation into an online platform and players would have more to spend on addional products.

If the same content is available on Demiplane and I can pay the difference between their sale of the same pdf and online functionality and the price of the pdf on Paizo, I would. But having to buy the pdf yet again hurts.

Demiplane already offer this - if you buy from Demiplane, you get the pdf free on Paizo, if you buy on Paizo, you get a discount from Demiplane. You need to link your accounts, though!


My thought was not as an ongoing approach, but rather a limited time offer with controls in place. Yes, creators and coders should be compensated and it costs money to translate the content to Nexus with functionality.

The framework is coded once, the content is then formatted within it per item and should be more cost effective over time as processes are improved. This is a one time set up cost for the framework and one time per book. Demiplane knows the costs that need to be covered for them.

I was positing an idea to pay towards those costs towards a one time fee and pre-paid long term memberships based on PDFs owned by a date that makes sense and only applies to works in Demiplane.

If only the 50k of the #OneDND petition took advantage of this with a $60 fee, 12 month membership ($60), that translates to $6 million in pre-launch revenue with an assumable high renewal rate on membership and additional book purchases.

The fee could be scaleable based on quantity or other modeling variations such as a top limit of books or even which ones are eligible such as rules and settings only, for example.

If you asked Demiplane who bought more books, members or free access, which do you think they would say? How many converting free users to paying members conversations do you think they had while at DND Beyond?

Only suggestions, they will do as they see best, they know their business and whether the numbers work or not or even fits in their business model. I do know that when we launched business services subscriptions, a large subscriber base at launch of the highest frequency and volume customers that could substantially cover start up costs would be a godsend.

Yes but there’s no link to the physical books, that’s where the break is.

Agreed, but that would be for Paizo to remedy and in practical terms next to impossible to solve at scale for third party historical purchases.

A step forward, however small though, is still progress. New book purchases from local comic and 3rd party stores would be an easy fix though with a zero cost card that is scanned at the time of book purchase that activates the key for the PDF, additional costs for Nexus, VTT copies. Demiplane would be the ‘nexus’ for redeeming those activations.

Government toll passes, cell phone minutes, protection plans etc already have this process in place at retailers and pos systems.

Yeah it’s not going to have a retroactive fix. There are some difficulties like preventing people stealing codes from the books while perusing in a store or returning online orders.

They literally already let you pay the difference for new functionality on other platforms… whether it is Foundry, Hero Lab, or here… if you own the pdf… you get a discount.


Physical books wouldn’t work. It could lead to a situation with scalpers buying the books to sell the codes and books separately.


Protection Plans are tied to the purchase transaction in the Point of Sale system which must have the correct product tied to it. Those books could simply have a non-refundable flag or be activated at the time of purchase to a Paizo account. It would require structuring and set-up, both of which is highly unlikely for as I read thru the discussions here, the different companies do not see themselves in a mutually beneficial arrangement where the rising tides raises all boats. This is purely a transactional relationship built around licensing agreements.

No judgement on whether this is a good or bad thing, it’s simply what is. It turned out pretty good with WotC for DDB owners in the sale, and would not be surprised to see Demiplane follow suit sometime in the future.

Either way, the RPG community still gets a great tool to build and manage their characters for a price many are willing to pay. As a #DnDEx-pat, I’m not ready to invest that much yet into PF2e until I can determine if the system works for me and my campaigns.

I do really appreciate the discussion and varying viewpoints on this topic throughout the forums.

Good luck with Pathfinder, hope it works for you!
5e players who’ve tried my pf2 demo sessions have been surprised by how effective player cooperation can be, it’s so much more than a Guidance or inspiration, or flanking a foe. I find that dven more gratifying than how finely tou can customise a character.

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One, you’re not buying digital books when you purchase from VTT platforms. You’re purchasing the resource that can be plugged into a specific outlet like Demiplane. What you are suggesting isn’t unreasonable but would still add additional costs. Due to the current TTRPG demands and the licensing partnerships in the worlds like Black Flag and ORC, I’m sure there will be discussions about this. Until then, we should be grateful that Paizo offers their fans PFDs when syncing accounts.

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@blurootz , I couldn’t agree more about the market changes with the common license, black flag, ORC, and don’t forget the other players that weren’t there when DDB launched.

What are the additional costs? Coding a VTT verification key to be pushed to the platform through a link module (which is sold) since Foundry doesn’t directly sell premium content in system? This is was proposed to fund a live link (akin to Patreon) from Nexus to Foundry through sales to players and a small processing fee from Paizo for the one-click solution from Demiplane.

The credit for already owned PDF’s is only proposed for past purchases and could have been limited however Demiplane chose with a short window to utilize. The PDF discount is already in play enabled by the sync, no VTT credit and would continue as already enacted.

The purpose of my one time limited PDF credit proposal was #WotC Refugee conversion to grow long-term membership and revenue from the fee and subscriptions that could be realized while still in pre-launch, let alone renewals and future book sales. Consider having all those pre-paid subscriptions at launch and high renewal rates a few months after full launch. This, however, is not Demiplane’s business model based on @BadEye responses throughout the forum.

TBH, their strategy worked very well in building and selling DDB, I don’t hold staying the course against them. I’m watching right with you @blurootz to see how this all shakes out in the coming months.

Time to toss the dice!

  • Paying any license fees, Demiplane is using more than is released for free and have advised they have a license, so I’d wager they are paying for that right and possibly even paying for the right to call themselves the ‘official digital toolset’.
  • Paying coders to create the tool
  • Paying Data Entry employees to transcribe the content into a format that works digitally
  • Paying Testers to test all the things
  • Paying the ongoing support costs for the tool
  • Paying the ongoing hosting costs associated with the servers
  • Paying the ongoing marketing fees

End of the day Demiplane is run by a different company and companies have costs which are passed onto the users.


@sklore_jp I understand and agree with your entire post. I was only offering an approach to increase the long-term customer base. Pathfinder is not DND 5e which has 70% of the market if my memory serves.

There are three main drivers of profit, Cost, Margin, and Volume. Why do retailers offer sales? To drive profitable revenue, attract customers, and gain market share.

My idea only costs Demiplane money if the folks who took advantage of the offer would have paid full price anyway. Otherwise, it costs them nothing as they don’t spend any resources that are not already required to be spent.

If you could dramatically increase your customer base, would you sacrifice some singular purchase profit? Paizo has said , “Yeah” through their humble bundle offering. Toyota, Ford, GM etc say “Yeah” all the time with their low financing and cash back sales (where their real profits are driven).

Demiplane knows their business and has had access to detailed customer behaviors and buying patterns, @BadEye is very confident in their approach, and I don’t begrudge them in the least for holding to their strategy.