Bits And Mortar is a “pro-retailer, pro-brick-and-mortar, pro-PDF, pro-eBook initiative” backed by several small-press publishers like Evil Hat Productions, Cubicle 7, Pelgrane Press, Nevermet Press and Rogue Games among others.
Usually when you want to buy a RPG product you have to pay extra if you want a PDF copy in addition to the printed book and you can’t buy PDFs at your local store. Not so, if you buy a product from a Bits & Mortar publisher. When it’s available as a Print+PDF bundle, you always get the PDF for free, even if you purchased the physical book at a local store. Participating stores may even give you the PDF directly after the purchase.
I recently realized that I bought several books from Pelgrane Press and Evil Hat Productions before Bits & Mortar was launched, so I contacted my favorite RPG store Sphärenmeister’s Spiele and asked if my order was still eligible for the Print+PDF offer. Within a couple hours the store could provide me with download links to the PDF copies – free of charge and DRM-free!
Preorder deals were often exclusive to the publisher’s online store. Especially when you live in Europe, getting those deals can be quite costly because of overseas shipping. When the publisher is part of Bits & Mortar you can now go to your local store and preorder there and still get all the goodies (like an early PDF version free of charge).
From a customer standpoint the Bits & Mortar initiative is just awesome. As far as I’ve seen most if not all participating publishers offer Print+PDF bundles now and you can get these bundles at your local store. And if you FLGS is not participating yet, ask them to sign up. It’s to their benefit, too.
In my opinion Bits And Mortar is a great idea. The customers gets more for his money and has the added convenience of getting the PDFs and preorder deals directly in their favorite FLGS. The retailer doesn’t have to compete with the publishers’ online stores anymore and can offer all that great bundle deals you formerly had to order online. For the publisher participating in Bits & Mortar is a great way to attract new customers.
I also believe this initiative may also help to reduce piracy. Often players pirated PDFs of products they already owned as a physical book. With Bits & Mortar this is a thing of the past – as long as it comes to products from participating publishers.
So what are your thoughts on Bits & Mortar? Have you already benefited from this initiative as a customer, publisher or retailer? Please post your comments below!