RPGNow and DriveThruRPG merge

The tabletop game industry’s two biggest sellers of electronic products, RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, have merged to become a bigger gestalt robot called OneBookShelf. The new company website will eventually take the place of the original two sites, and publishers formerly only at one or the other will get a wider audience. Strategic partnerships with RPGnet and ENWorld were also announced, as OneBookShelf will operate online stores for each website (RPGNow already runs a store for RPGnet). Some downtime for both merging companies is expected in the days ahead as preparations are made for the unified website. The full press release is below.

RPGNow and DriveThruRPG Merge

Atlanta, GA, Thursday, October 25, 2006 – RPGNow and DriveThruRPG announced today that the two leaders in the digital delivery of electronic roleplaying games have merged together to form a new company called OneBookShelf.

OneBookShelf will continue to operate both the RPGNow and DriveThru websites while a new, fully integrated site is developed that will replace the existing sites. Publishers and titles that were once exclusive to one site will now conveniently be displayed on both sites so rpg fans can find all of their favorite titles on their preferred site.

Steve Wieck explained DriveThruRPG’s desire to merge, “Our goal from day one has been to offer consumers their choice of any roleplaying game ever published available for instant download 24/7 world-wide. We will be able to meet that goal sooner by combining forces with RPGNow.”

The merger is being treated as a merger of equals with all employees and owners of both companies carrying on with the new OneBookShelf company. DriveThru’s latest digital delivery site DriveThruComics is also now part of OneBookShelf.

“The focus of the merger is providing the best experience for rpg fans. Combined with DriveThruRPG, we will now offer consumers over 9,000 titles from over 500 different publishers. Many of the titles have never been available in print or are no longer available in print,” said James Mathe at RPGNow.

Both RPGNow and DriveThru will be down for a few hours tomorrow as the content of the sites is cross-listed.

OneBookShelf also announced that it has formed partnerships with the two largest rpg community sites, RPGnet and EN World to operate download stores connected to those community sites. Fans can support their favorite community site by purchasing from the new EN World and RPGnet download stores.

Shannon Appelcline of RPGnet said :”I think it’s great for the rpg community that RPGNow and DriveThruRPG are joining forces. Once the new RPGnet download store is unveiled, it will give the RPGnet community even more convenient access to instantly get the best top brand and indie rpg titles available, while supporting RPGnet at the same time”.

Russ Morrissey, owner of EN World described the new partnership with OneBookShelf: “This is a winning situation for everyone involved – customers, publishers, OneBookShelf and EN World. We should have done this years ago! Now EN World’s members can support their favourite publishers and EN World at the same time! And EN World can support those publishers without worrying about who’s buying what where. In addition, we at EN World get to concentrate on what we do best – D&D news, and a fun community.

“EN World has been a fundamental part of growing the RPG PDF industry from the outset, as a great source of information and reviews for the customers and a fantastic source of marketing for the publishers. We’ve decided to partner with OneBookShelf for the operation of the EN World download store because they can provide our community more title choices, from Wizards of the Coast to EN Publishing, to the newest independent publishers, and they can provide the level of customer support to which we feel this wonderful community is entitled.”

“We are in discussion with more potential partners as well,” said James Mathe of OneBookShelf. “Our goal is to allow all publishers to load their titles with us and be assured that they are reaching every corner of the rpg community world-wide. Publishers can devote their time to creating great content and communicating with their fans.”

One consequence of the affiliate stores is that the RPGNow site which had been divided into a main site and an RPGEdge site devoted to small press rpgs will now combine all publishers into a single RPGNow site.


  1. well, i looked at both pages and it seemes to me that for the most part people are basicly giving away their games.
    the pricing is just stupid low or am i wrong about this?
    It looks like the d20 related stuff is a little higher in price (which makes sense if they sale more).
    Are pdf games equal to the bargin bin at the games store? Is this where I would hav4 found games liek Kill communist bastards (second edition; which actually plays rather well?
    I wonder who’d but time into a 100 page document then give it away for 2$.

    any one have any thoughts on this?

  2. Small print presses and self-publishers.

    They don’t do it full-time, so they must have their “day jobs” (and accompanying paychecks) to make their means of living.

  3. Timmpod, I have never been a big fan of the model, myself. I think you should always value your work at a realstic rate…but I am bizzare like that.

  4. *Han Solo*

    “That’s no moon … that’s a PDF game distributer …”

    */Han Solo*

    Introducing the Death Star of publishing!

  5. ok, so these people get their games out. Do they have any self worth? if something is to low price, i always question it, thats why i don’t shop at mart stores (i left the wal part off)

    when you by a pdf, is it just a text file? or is there art in there?

  6. Timopod,

    Some PDFs have art while some don’t. Most of the time they look like pages in a book.

  7. A PDF book has no printing cost to the publisher, no hassling with printers to get a quality print job, very low distribution costs, no retailer discounts (assuming the PDF distributor gets a standard distributor discount only), no remainders/returns, no warehousing, no postage costs. Removing these things removes the majority of the cost, hence the low cost to you.

  8. And how much do you make on the business a month, Philip Reed?

    If there is a PDF distributing program similar to Amway, I’d sign up.

  9. low cost to me? I still dont’ get it. If you make a 100 page pdf, charge 10 dollars for it, I mean common, don’t you even respect your own creativity that much?
    I don’t liek the idea of passing the saveing on to consumer, firswt thats a myth thats only used for sales gimmicks

    secondly if your the only one (no middle man), shouldn’t you charge a price worthy of your time.
    I guess that the tough bit about working for yourself, short changing yourself

  10. timopod,

    Let’s say I buy the GURPS 3e Revised book for $30. The 3-tier system says $9 (30%) go to the publisher, $12 (40%) to the distribuitor and another $9 (30%) for the retailer. So, if SJG sells the same book in PDF format for $10, they are already getting more money for it, than from the physical copy I bought.

    What would be a worthy price? How do you know those PDF’s aren’t already priced to be worth the author’s time? Heck – let’s make the price be a cool billion.

    PDF publishing might be a kind of vanity press, but if the author wants her/his product to sell lots and lots, then they’ll have to charge for it what the market will bear.

    If their product is so good that they can get away charging more for it versus comparable competing products, more power to them. But I don’t think many people are gonna pay ego-boosted prices just for the sake of the author’s sense of self-worth.

    Unless the product is THAT good, of course.

  11. Torquemada,

    Sorry to say but your “$12 (40%) to the distributor” is waaaaaayyyyy off. Distributor make like 10%-15%…they make up for it in volume though…that is the theory.


  12. Really?

    Well, sorry for misleading. Can’t remember where I picked up those percentages though.


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