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Ronin Round Table: Bill Bodden on Pre-Order Plus

Green Ronin has a problem. Frankly, it's no different than any other RPG publisher's problem: how many copies do we print of any given title?

It's an old problem. Print too many and we'll be sitting on the extras for years—either that, or keeping ourselves warm in the winter by burning them. Print too few, and we run out, killing any buzz and the momentum that buzz can generate. Plus, the more copies we print at one time, the cheaper each copy is and the more likely it is we can turn a profit from that book. It's basic economics, really, but not everyone knows how it works.

To help alleviate this problem, we look to retailers and distributors to snag pre-order numbers for us, but that doesn't work too well; people understandably don't want to commit to a book they haven't seen yet, and given the track record in the games industry, they also don't want to tie up their money too long before the book will actually show up—if it shows up at all.

We think we've come up with a way to solve this problem from both our angle and from that of the consumer; we call it the Pre-Order Plus program. It's simple: customers can go to their Favorite Local Game Store (FLGS for short) and pre-order one of our upcoming books. In exchange for paying up front—or maybe only leaving a depositt—the consumer can get a code which they can then use at Greenronin.com to obtain a PDF copy of that same book NOW for only $5. While the customer is waiting for the book to come in, they have the PDF to read in advance to help prep for their game. We don't offer the PDFs for sale until the book is actually finished so customers know that, barring a shipwreck or a major train derailment, that book will be in their hands as soon as its printed.

This program serves two primary purposes. One, it helps us plan our print runs a little better by knowing a bit more about how many copies we can sell. Two, it also helps retailers because with a deal this good, people are more likely to buy the book through them in order to get that cheap download copy.

Not all consumers (or stores) know about this program, despite that it's been running for a couple of years now. For retailers to get more info on the nuts and bolts of the program, they should go to http://www.greenronin.com/retailer/. Feel free to ask your FLGS if they participate in this program. If they don't, encourage them to do so, and offer to be their first customer for the program. Nothing makes a retailer's heart soar more than a customer ready to drop cash in their shop.

If the store still isn't willing to participate in the Pre-Order Plus program, consumers can still take advantage of it by buying the exact same deal directly from the Green Ronin webstore. We'd really rather have you buy the book from your FLGS, but if all else fails, we want to make sure that you were able to get our books.