I hate PDFs. Let me rephrase that - I hate reading PDFs. Maybe its because I use a computer all day for my job, but when I get a book that I want to read, I want the physical thing in front of me. There's nothing like the feel of the paper between your fingers or the smell of the freshly printed ink. This is especially true for RPG books.
Don't get me wrong, I understand that the PDF market has created a huge boom in RPG material - allowing anyone to publish something that in years past might have been difficult. However, when I want to read, or reference, an RPG book I want the physical copy in front of me.
The obvious answer to this is to print out the PDFs. This is possible on my crappy printer at home, but I will be wasting paper and ink, and the quality won't be what I want. Therefore, the only option left is print on demand (POD) services.
For my first review, I had the Call of Cthulhu book Monophobia from Unbound Publishing printed by the FedEx Kinkos online service (now called FedEx Office). I chose this book because its free, its a great supplement, and is a decent size to judge quality and pricing (61 pages including the cover).
For my printing process, I chose 32 lb paper, clear vinyl cover, solid black vinyl back, double-sided pages, spiral bound, and black & white, except for a color front page. In total, the charge was just under $15. Within 4 hours, I received an email that my book had been finished and was ready to be picked up.
It should be noted that the Monophobia PDF size was slightly off from the normal 8.5" x 11" format, but the online site formatted it down to the correct size for me (after asking if it should). I was able to preview online how it looked to ensure that it was what I wanted.
The Finished Product
|UBB Logo in printed form.|
The color cover looks amazing. I don't see any bleeding of ink that I honestly expected coming from a print/copy shop.
Inside, the pages were printed exceptionally well. Lines and corners are sharp, even in the most detailed pictures, such as the logo and the inside handouts. Text is also well-defined and sharp, allowing it to be easily read.
|Closer look at the printed pages and handouts.|
If I had to complain about anything, I would say that I would have liked to see more options to choose from. Kinkos offers laminating for the covers, but I could not find any way to choose the first page of my book to laminate. I would have gladly paid for this. I would have also liked to see an option to have a heavier card stock for the cover with staple-binding.
However, I am nit-picking here. I am very happy with the cost, quality, and speed of the printing service that Kinkos provided. I will gladly use them in the future.
Know of a POD service I should review? Send me a message and let me know!