Friday, November 1, 2013

POD Review: DriveThruRPG

In the last few months I was lucky enough to get a gift certificate to DriveThruRPG, an excellent resource for RPG materials in PDF format. DTRPG also does print on demand (POD) now, so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to use their service and review it here. The books I bought for this review are the hard-cover of Delta Green: Countdown, and the soft-cover version of Epoch.

Remember, my POD reviews are not about the quality of the content, but of the printed materials themselves. Also, I am not a photographer so the images seen do not necessarily reflect the quality.

DG: Countdown

First I want to say that DG: Countdown is a HUGE book at 439 pages! Without discounts, at this time it will run you $69.98 (the soft-cover is $39.99 and PDF is $19.99). For comparison, DG: Countdown has been out of print for a while now and original copies go on eBay in upwards of $100.

The cover is made of thick, sturdy card-board and the colors are fabulous. (My crappy photography skills do not do it justice.) The binding appears well glued, and the paper on the inside is good stock (i.e. not flimsy, but not very thick). In all, it appears that the construction of the book is well done, and it will last a long time. I have seen non-POD books that were of less quality than this.

The printing is another story, however. While the darkness of the ink is not too light, there is bleeding on the text and in the images. This causes the images to lose some of their quality.

However, I do not think this issue was caused by DTRPG for two reasons:
  1. The other book I received from DTRPG, Epoch, is in excellent condition.
  2. The description for this book at DTRPG states: "Note: Delta Green has been out-of-print for some time and this is a scanned image product." I suspect that the bleeding is a product of the scanning process, and not the printing process.
The bleeding is not really bad and did not affect my reading of the book. Admittedly, for the price you pay for this I would have expected a better quality inside. However, given the cost of an original, I am happy to live with this defect. Others may not agree.

Oddly, I looked at the PDF I received with I purchased the book. To me, the PDF is clear, the text is selectable, and I could not see any text bleeding. I'm not sure if this means the printed copy uses another version of the PDF or not.

Is this a good buy? That is up to you. If you really want DG: Countdown right now in hard-cover and are willing to accept the bleeding, get it from DTRPG. If you want it in perfect condition on the inside, save up your money and get it on eBay.


I did not know about Epoch until I saw that it had been nominated for some Ennie awards. Unfortunately, it did not win but it was enough to get my interest peaked. When I saw that DTRPG was selling the soft-cover for only $9.99, I purchased it.

The cover and binding of Epoch are very well done. The stock used in the cover is one that I expected to find - not too flimsy but not the same as a hard-cover either. The colors are well done, and no bleeding can be seen. The inside paper is of a good stock, similar (if not the same) to what was in DG: Countdown.

The quality of the inside content is excellent. The images are detailed and easy to see. The text is crisp. Overall, it is easy to see and read.

This is why I suspect the internal issues with DG: Countdown are with it's scanning process and not the DTRPG printing process. Epoch is beautiful inside, and Countdown has some bleeding. Assuming the same printing process was performed, the issue has to lie with the quality of the material being printed.

Is this a good buy? Absolutely. You get a beautiful book at a great price.


Overall, I am very happy with the POD from DTRPG. They have done an excellent job and I would be willing to purchase some of their books again. The quality is up there with professionally printed books. I only wish they offered more POD books, as I would be more than happy to buy them.