Vincent Baker posed an interesting question on Twitter today:
“Hey, fellow RPG publishers, I’m thinking about PDF pricing. How do you price your PDFs compared to your books, and why?”
I haven’t been a publisher for a number of years, so I’ll leave the ‘why’ part alone. I thought it’d be fun to poke at product pricing using statistics, though.
I track sales of roughly 6,000 individual product titles while producing the RPG Countdown podcast. If I treat each individual product as a separate item, regardless of sales volume the average MSRP is $9.40. If I weight based on gross sales per product, the MSRP becomes $19.97. If I weight based on percentage of units sold, the MSRP becomes $10.47.
Sales Greater Than 100 Units
Here are the same stats for products that have sold more than 100 units:
Average MSRP: $9.95
Weighted by Gross Sales: $19.78
Weighted by Units Sold: $11.06
Sales Greater Than 250 Units
Average MSRP: $11.45
Weighted by Gross Sales: $20.79
Weighted by Units Sold: $12.08
Sales Greater Than 1,000 Units
Average MSRP: $14.45
Weighted by Gross Sales: $23.16
Weighted by Units Sold: $15.62
So what about print vs. PDF MSRP?
I’m going to assume for a moment that Vincent wants to sell more than 100 copies of his games. He may or may not care, but by limiting my sample size I only have to compare the prices of roughly 500 products. And in truth, many of the products I track that sell less than 100 copies, are PDF-only releases. As such, they fall outside the scope of what Vincent wants to know.
Discounts off MSRP range from 33% to 89%. Typically, larger discounts are given on Core Rulebooks, with lower discounts available on setting books and adventures. Statistically, though, the discounts appear to be fairly consistent when you look at the whole group – the mean, median and mode all land in the 50%-55% discount range. This holds true whether I discriminate based on percentage of gross sales or percentage of units sold.
Hope that helps, Vincent.