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Designers & Dragons vol. 3 now available to Kickstarter backers
August 28, 2014 | 10:54 pm

ddvol3A quick update on the Designers & Dragons Kickstarter, whose first volume I reviewed a few weeks ago. The second volume in the 4-volume series, covering the 1980s, has been available for a while to those (such as myself) who kicked in at least $15. Today, the ‘90s volume came out. The second and third volumes are PDF-only for now, since the EPUB and MOBI versions take time to craft, but they’re coming. The fourth volume will be released in a preliminary draft form without an index sometime before the Kickstarter completes. I haven’t had the chance to look...

Review: Designers & Dragons Vol. 1: The ‘70s
August 8, 2014 | 5:23 am

designdragon70s I’ve finished reading through the first volume of the RPG history from that Kickstarter I mentioned the other day, and I have to say that I’m very impressed. In fact, I plan on nominating it for the “Best Related Work” Hugo when the 2014 Hugo nominations come around. It’s just that good. As I explained in the last article, this history is split across four volumes, divided by decade. However, the decade only refers to the period in which the company was founded. The approach the book takes is to trace the history of each company from...

Evil Hat Kickstarts Designers & Dragons, a four-volume history of role-playing games
August 6, 2014 | 2:18 pm

designdragon70sHere’s an intriguing Kickstarter from Evil Hat Productions, the folks who ran a highly successful KS for pulp tie-in novels to their Spirit of the Century game, and several other Kickstarters besides. This one is for a four-volume history of role-playing games entitled Designers & Dragons. Previously published in a single volume, it has been revised and expanded by its author to four full books. And this Kickstarter looks like a great example how to do things right. For starters, they set the goal to $7,500—a reasonable level for printing and shipping the first volume. Perhaps unsurprisingly, just a...

University of Chicago Press offers Liberace biography for free this month
June 2, 2014 | 2:54 pm

liberaceThe University of Chicago Press free e-book this month is Liberace: An American Boy by Darden Asbury Pyron, a biography of, yes, Liberace. It’ll be free throughout the month. The interesting thing to me is that I haven’t looked at University of Chicago free e-books in a while. Last time they were only offering them in PDF. But this time, they’re offering the book in Adobe-DRM-locked EPUB instead, which is definitely an improvement for people who read on devices. There’s also a promo code for 20% off any book in the 2014 Reader’s Catalog....

Bundle of Holding offers Spirit of the Century pulp RPG at a great bargain
April 30, 2014 | 4:08 am

I’ve mentioned the pay-what-you-want independent-published role-playing game bundle the Bundle of Holding before, but this time they’ve got a really good one up for grabs. There’s just over five days remaining to grab the Spirit of the Century bundle, which is a collection of books related to the pulp role-playing game Spirit of the Century. Spirit of the Century is based on the FATE game system, a modification of the free-form FUDGE. It’s one of the best-reviewed pulp games to come out in recent years, with the flexibility to model just about any character from the pulp genre. It’s...

Simultaneous print/PDF and EPUB publication stymies publisher
April 28, 2014 | 4:33 am

the-magazine-book-volume-I-1Found via a blog post by Adam Tinworth: The publisher of The Magazine ran a Kickstarter project to put together a hardcover book and e-book of the best of The Magazine’s first year. When it came to producing the print book and the PDF, the going was easy. But they found converting it to EPUB considerably harder, because whereas PDF is concerned about replicating the print format precisely, EPUB must by necessity be more free-form. Which meant effectively having to undo all the fancy formatting they did for the PDF version. Said publisher and his helpers consulted with...

GenCon 2013 Interview: M. Sechin Tower, Lead Developer at Exile Game Studio
April 15, 2014 | 9:00 pm

GEDC1287During GenCon 2013, I had the chance to speak with Sechin Tower, Lead Developer at Exile Game Studio and author of Mad Science Institute. I asked him about Exile’s use of Kickstarters for publishing its game products, and this is what he had to say. Me: Tell me what Exile’s been doing with Kickstarters. Sechin: Exile has been a recent comer to the Kickstarter market, but we’ve found it extremely useful to not only jumpstart a project that would take a little longer to get going, but to also get the word out and to give people a...

‘Steam in the Willows’ all smoke, no fire?
December 5, 2013 | 3:26 pm

steam-in-willowsRan across this Kickstarter project on GalleyCat. Australian writer Krista Brennan is raising money for “Steam in the Willows,” a “steampunk version” of the classic Kenneth Grahame novel The Wind in the Willows. It will be published in PDF, print, and (if a stretch goal is met) audiobook editions. Since the original book is in the public domain, people can of course publish or self-publish any version of it they like, and Brennan will be doing just that. Her project has successfully met its AU$6,600 goal (about US$5,985 at current exchange rates) with a week to go in the Kickstarter....

GenCon 2013 Interview: Phil Reed, COO of Steve Jackson Games
October 6, 2013 | 5:00 pm

GEDC1300I last spoke to Phil Reed, COO of Steve Jackson Games, at GenCon in 2011. We discussed e23, Steve Jackson Games’s DRM-free PDF e-book store, which had expanded far beyond its original intended goals of just republishing out-of-print stuff to publishing in-print stuff at the same time as or even before it came out in print. I caught up with him again at GenCon 2013 for another brief interview. We touched on e23’s ongoing success, but Reed had more to say on the subject of Kickstarters—something that was on the minds of a number of other writers and industry...

The Internet Archive’s Open Library is violating authors’ copyrights
July 10, 2013 | 8:53 pm

Open Library is a project of Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive. We’ve written about Kahle, the Archive, and Open Library a few times, including some times I’d forgotten about. Kahle’s Internet Archive was first founded as a way to keep a historical record of the ever-changing Internet for the benefit of future sociological and cultural researchers; it later expanded into archiving other media as well. More recently, Kahle started collecting print books, and scanning them as well as archiving them; it was his intention to collect and save one of every print book ever published. These scanned books would also...

Ten years after publication, The Time Traveler’s Wife to come to e-books
June 10, 2013 | 5:09 pm

the-time-travelers-wifeThe Guardian reports that author Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, is finally giving the go-ahead for an e-book version of her popular 2003 novel to be published through new independent e-book site Zola Books that her agent is starting. She is also writing a short-story-length sequel for the site. Niffenegger said that she was sitting on the book not because she was a “weird book luddite,” but because she was “preserving [her] ebook virginity” because she didn’t feel e-books had lived up to their full potential yet. Then Zola Books came along, based on the principle...

Wizards of the Coast starts selling D&D PDFs again
January 23, 2013 | 3:31 am

ScreenClip(45) Remember how, back in 2009, Wizards of the Coast pulled all its PDF products from on-line gaming store Paizo and announced it was ceasing PDF sales altogether? Apparently it only took about four years for the company to change its mind again. Wired’s GeekDad reports that WotC has launched a new e-book store site, dndclassics.com, in conjunction with on-line RPG e-book seller DriveThruRPG. The site currently offers over 80 products ranging in age from the old red and blue books up to the latest 4E stuff, with prices ranging from $4.99 for older products to $17.99 for...