drivethru-pakistan In January, we covered a fundraising drive that DriveThruRPG put on to assist Doctors Without Borders’s relief efforts in Haiti, selling a $1480 bundle of RPG e-books for the budget-friendly price of $20. It ended up earning over $160,000—not exactly pocket change—and showed that gamers are willing to step up to help out in time of crisis (or, at least, are willing to take advantage of a great deal on gaming e-books even if they would otherwise have been opposed to donating).

Now DriveThruRPG has another charity bundle available, to help Doctors Without Borders’s relief efforts in the wake of flooding in Pakistan. This one isn’t quite as good a deal as the previous one—it’s $25 and you get $724 worth of books—but you’re still getting so much more than what you pay for that it would be ridiculous to complain. And DriveThroughRPG’s sister store, DriveThruComics, is offering a similar aid bundle of $174 worth of indie e-comics for $10.

A lot of independent RPG titles are available, some pretty well known in the gaming field, but there are also some well-known popular RPGs: the British RPG Dragon Warriors (MSRP $39.95), Exalted 2nd Edition ($39.99), Spycraft 2.0 ($49.95). Even though the DriveThru PDF editions of these books actually sell for well below the MSRP—$22.95, $19.99, and $19.95 respectively—that’s still $63 worth of popular RPGs for $25, and all the indie titles are icing on the cake. As far as I can tell, there’s not a lot of duplication of titles between this and the previous one, either.

As I’ve said before, these deals are made possible in large part thanks to the zero marginal cost nature of e-books.

Since it costs nothing to print and ship these items, game publishers can essentially “give them away” for free. They’re not out any printing costs, and the only revenue they’re foregoing is revenue they probably wouldn’t have received anyway—the vast majority of the people who buy the bundles would probably never have bought any of the individual games in them at full price. And the icing on the cake is that the game companies can (I assume) count each game as a charitable donation for tax purposes.

Gamers get a huge bundle of games for cheap, publishers get a tax break and exposure for their games to people who might otherwise never have bought them, and Doctors Without Borders gets funds to help its relief efforts—everyone wins. I wonder if we’ll start seeing other digital content for donation deals like this in the future?


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail