DriveThruRPG enters the Print on Demand market, and I got to beta test and review it

[Full Disclosure: Not only am I a featured reviewer for DriveThruRPG but they also carry my products.]

DriveThruRPG, has recently entered the print on demand market, offering a small but rapidly growing number of PDFs as actual, honest to goodness physical books.

I was recently asked to participate in a beta test with this new offering, following the print on demand process from ordering right through to receipt of the physical product.

The process itself is not that much different than ordering up a PDF of your choice, but the options available now include print products.  They can range (at the author’s discretion) through soft and hard covers, black and white or color.  (Click on any of the images to make them larger).

The options have expanded!

Once your selection is made, you settle up as normal, using a credit card, Paypal or any credit you have with DTRPG.  You’ll receive an email confirmation of your order, and if you’ve purchased an option with a PDF, a link to download that PDF.

We were offered a set of product to choose from and I went with Brave New World, an alternate history supers game.  The game itself looks like a lot of fun but that’s a subject for another review.  Today we’ll focus on the print product and the process that goes in to obtaining it.

Several days later, I receive another email stating that my product had been printed and was ready to ship.  In less than two weeks, a package arrived and I had my first print on demand book from DriveThruRPG!

It is a Brave New World!

I was immediately struck by the quality.  It’s exactly like any hard cover RPG title I had picked up at my FLGS.  I was frankly impressed.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect but this book met or exceed all of the preconceived notions I had in my head of just what I’d be getting.


The stock for the cover is quite thick, and resistant to bending.  Weighing in at over 220 pages, it’s got a nice hefty feel to it with a good, solid binding.  This book isn’t going to fall apart anytime soon.

Solidly bound
Inside front cover
The goods inside

The end result is a great, solid product that you can hold in your hands for a lot less than I’d expect to pay for it.  It is of course up to the author or publisher to determine pricing, but this gives a good deal of flexibility to them.

The spine

We touched on this a bit in our latest podcast – I really feel that this is the future of small press role playing games.  The ability to quickly distribute PDFs at a cost far lower than print products, where the publisher and author receive much more of a percentage of the sale.  Add to that an easy way to get a print product out to those who want it, without having the overhead of a funding a print run, storing the product and shipping it out – it’s small press gold!

Once I get all of my ducks in a row, I can realistically expect to sell perhaps a thousand PDF copies and a hundred print copies of my Aruneus book in the first few months.  That may be a gross overestimation as well – this being my first full length product, we’ll have to see.  The ability to produce the PDF once, put it online and then allow anyone who wants a hardcover copy to have one – that’s amazing to me.  It’s a huge windfall as far as budgeting is concerned.

It also means I can realistically look to price a softcover, 100+ page book at well under $20 and the hardcover at well under $30, and still be able to make something of a profit, turning that back to the team who are helping me assemble this whole thing – and to future projects.

I’ve just heard from The DTRPG folks – here’s how shipping works:

These books ship worldwide. LSI (our print partner) has printing facilities in the USA and the UK and will ship from whichever facility is closer.

We’ve already had customers from Germany, Japan, Australia, Israel and several other countries.

In the tradition of my mini-reviews, I’m going to give DriveThruRPG’s print on demand offerings 5 out of 5 stars.

[tags]drivethrurpg, rpg, role playing games, print on demand, small press, pdf, review[/tags]

7 thoughts on “DriveThruRPG enters the Print on Demand market, and I got to beta test and review it

Add yours

  1. Shoot, Eden Studios’ books don’t seem to be available as POD. I hoped this would be an end run around the interminable delays of the print version of The Extraterrestrials Handbook for Conspiracy X.


  2. That looks pretty excellent. I’m glad that companies have the PDF option to get their work out there, but I sometimes miss having a book in hand. Sounds like a great solution to that problem.


  3. @Thaumiel – I have no idea! I’ve asked the folks at DTRPG about it though, and I’ll post a comment when I have their answer.

    @Jim – it’s stitched (and coated in a layer of glue).

    @Tyler – it’s up to each pub/author to set up their product to print. If you contact Eden Studios and let them know that you’d buy print copies of their products, that may nudge them in that direction.

    @Tracy – I feel the same way!


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