It has been a while. This time around I want to talk about a question that has been bothering me as of late. Should I get a real book or an eBook version of the various RPG products I would like to get? As it turned out at times this can be quite a tricky question. At least for me. What lead to my dilemma?
Most of the products in question are adventure modules. Quite sizeable adventure modules at that. On one hand the electronic version is, as is quite common, is at least a bit cheaper than the printed version. Usually these products are delivered as PDFs. With them I have an easy time printing hand outs, no matter if they are maps, letters or character portraits.
On the other hand I'm the kind of person who does not like having a full sized laptop or even a big tablet computer at the gaming table. For the record I don't mind if my players bring them for their character sheets and other odds and ends, but for me anything that would be really useful at the gaming table is too expensive. Batteries running out halfway through a long gaming session or the device in question crashing are other reasons I'm not using them.
I have considered using less powerful devices like a Kindle. Reading on my Kindle is, in my opinion, easier on my eyes, it is not prone to crashing and it would have to be a very long RP session indeed for its batteries to run out. But I have a different kind of problem with those. The root of this problem lies in the formatting of RPG products. You might have noticed that two or more columns are very common. A page formatted like that, displayed on a small handheld device is downright impossible to read.
What options do I have left? I could print the adventure module! Sadly with adventures weighing in at up to two hundred pages, with a lot of nice illustrations that is not really an option. Printing a book like that at home is prohibitively expensive. If I were willing to spend that amount of money I am better off just getting the nice hard cover version with built in bookmark. By now you probably can guess that I got the print versions of the books in question. Even if I have to put in some extra work creating all the necessary handouts, this was the better choice.
For shorter adventure modules or short scenarios I probably would go with the eBook version though. I'm fine with PDF versions of rules books and campaign books as well, as I more often than not read them only on my big screen when preparing for a game session. But, enough of my opinion on the matter, how would you decide? For what reasons?