I’m a bit of a collector and because of that I have a large collection of Role Playing Games filling up my bookshelves. What’s the problem with that? Nothing at all, except I move so much it’s become quite a hassle to pack and unpack so many books that end up sitting and collecting dust. Because of this, I don’t buy as many RPG’s as I normally would.
Enter RPGNow, where you can buy PDF copies of RPG’s, I have started collecting again. There are two big reasons for this; First is Price and selection! With most PDF’s being, roughly, 50% of cover price I can save money but with the huge selection I end up finding some great games that I didn’t even know existed. Second, of course, is I don’t have to pack and move them.
Recently some manufacturers started converting their rulebooks into ePub or Kindle formats. I was pretty curious about this until I bought one and took a look at it. Meh. I am going to compare some screenshots from my Nook Color and post them in the native 600×1024 resolution.
NOTE: This is nothing against the manufacturers of the games themselves. I use the Castles & Crusades example below only because it’s the first eBook version of an an RPG that I bought! I love Castles & Crusades and it’s my preferred fantasy RPG. In other words, don’t get your panties in a bunch!
Barnes & Noble Nook Color (7″ screen), rooted with CyanogenMod 7.1 with the processor overclocked to 1.2GHz. This custom ROM turns the Nook Color into a poor man’s tablet.
This would be considered a very low end tablet but I still get decent performance out of and I’m able to read larger, graphics intensive PDF’s without too much trouble. On an iPad2 or similar Android tablet it would be quite responsive.
Aldiko eBook Reader – My prefered eBook reader. It allows me to import my purchases from Barnes & Noble.
ezPDF Reader – A great PDF reader with some really nice features that you will see below.
Below is page 1 of the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook. Strangely there was no cover included with this eBook.
As you get further into the book it looks like any old digital novel and not a nicely formatted RPG.
Size: Very small, thereby not taking up much space.
Less processor intensive: The fancier the PDF the more it taxes the cpu.
Easier to read: Mainly because you can size the text to what you want.
Good for older hardware: Older Kindle’s or Nook’s can take advantage of this format.
Below is a screencap of a PDF zoomed out. As you can see the text is small and hard to read but you get a better overall view of the format of the page.
A quick double tap of the text zooms you in on it. The nice thing about this is it keeps the text locked in position. In other words if you swipe a little to the left or right it won’t drag what your reading around with it. You’ll notice “sf < >” superimposed over the bottom of the screen. Clicking “< >” will scroll you to the next section of text to the right or left respectively.
Formatting: This is the big one. RPG’s are a visual medium too. There are some full color books that are almost works of art in and of themselves.
Portability: PDF’s can be viewed natively in most operating systems and can also be printed out.
It’s quite clear that I prefer PDF’s over eBook’s for my RPG’s. While I can understand why publishers are going the eBook route I’m hoping it will be a moot point soon with Android based color eBook readers like the Nook Color and Amazon Fire coming out at affordable prices.