Bits And Mortar

Bits And Mortar 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!

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

8 thoughts on “Bits And Mortar”

  1. I have not benefited because the games I own from participating companies have not been purchased at my FLGS. I must admit that my FLGS has gotten better at carrying more diverse games these days. I need to talk to them about this.

    1. As Fred Hicks (@fredhicks) just reminded me, you can directly contact the publisher with evidence of your purchase and they may be willing to provide you with a PDF copy.

  2. I’m all for this – it not only promotes the books across the board (i.e. a book is a book, whether it’s electronic or in print), but as you point out it helps with the piracy aspect. With POD services, I’d love to see more of this sort of integration between small press and local game stores to promote the hobby. There’s so much great material out there that folks simply won’t run across in their local game stores…

    Great article and good news for the hobby!

  3. Small correction perhaps – and maybe this only applies to NMP, but I think this is the general idea as well – the free PDF _ONLY_ happens when you buy the book in a brick & morter store FLGS. For example – if you buy our PRINT+PDF bundles from … say…, you get the PDF for 1/2 price. Still a great savings, but not free. When you buy our books in a store though – you're guaranteed to get our PDF's for free either directly from us or from the store (not all stores participate in B&M due to logistics or other reasons; so we're willing to supply the PDFs for purchases made from any FLGS). We feel that this should be a strong push for people to make the trip to their gaming store and save themselves the $5 or $10 for the PDF.

    Nice post Michael – thanks for the link love. It's nice to be in such good company.

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