What Is This?

“Bits and Mortar is fantastic. We were very pleased to pilot parts of this program, and believe in it a ton. Working hand in hand with our publishing partners, we are better able than ever to actually share a customer base, rather than compete for it. I specifically have had people bring books up to the counter because they knew they would have a PDF waiting for them in the mailbox by the time they got home. I don’t know why any store wouldn’t want to take part in the program.

Chris Hanrahan
EndGame, Oakland Ca.

Bits and Mortar is a pro-retailer, pro-brick-and-mortar, pro-PDF, pro-ebook initiative backed by several tabletop game and fiction publishers (find out who). We love real, physical brick and mortar game and book stores, and we want to see them survive — and thrive — even as the digital content options for traditional publishing become more prevalent.

Plenty of customers out there want the best of both worlds. They want the easy portability of an ebook, and the lasting durability of one made out of paper, glue, and ink. They want to be able to support their favorite local stores, and they want to be able to support their favorite publishers.  The Bits and Mortar initiative is all about making sure they don’t have to choose one or the other. We want them to choose both, every time.

Here’s What We Offer

  • If a customer buys a book published by a Bits & Mortar publisher (see the list of publishers here) from their local game or book store, and that book is available online as a combined print and PDF bundle, we will give them the PDF at no additional charge.  It’s a free value-add and a thank you from the publisher for supporting their local store.
  • Better yet, we will make it possible for that local store to give the PDF to the customer directly, keeping the sale completely “in house”.
  • This extends to sales made by that local store on their online webstore, if there is any, so long as those sales are not discounted—after all, we’re here to make sure that specialty gamestores are kept as healthy as possible!
  • When a B&M publisher has a product up for preorders online, offering a free PDF for those who preorder, we will work with retail stores to provide that same offer in-store.  Your customers won’t have to choose between getting access to something early online and supporting their favorite store — they’ll get to do both in one place.

Interested? Read more on how to sign up.

32 Responses to “What Is This?”

  1. At Grim & Perilous Studios, we don’t believe in a grim & perilous economy.

    We are proud to announce that we’ve joined the bits & mortar program: https://grimandperilous.com/brick-mortar-guarantee/

  2. Rick Meints says:

    We are happy to now have 38 different products of ours available via Bits & Mortar. We love our FLGS and hopes this helps show it.

    • Liam Kelly says:

      Great stuff. I have signed up for the Chaosium cult. It will help me and hopefully I can direct players to my FLGS and avail of this extra bonus

  3. fred says:

    Cubicle 7 is still participating in the program, but they are having some trouble keeping their list of games current. There’s also some of their licenses that may not allow particular products to be in the program. It is recommended to contact them directly with any concerns, as each publisher is individually responsible for maintaining the offerings from their own catalogue.

  4. Paul Cooper says:

    Is Cubicle 7 no longer participating in the program?

    Still waiting for DWAiTS 2nd Doctor sourcebook and Rocket Age.

  5. Ken Doyle says:

    I just want to say thanks for this. I like supporting my FLGS and the ability of them to give me the PDF of purchases (13th Age most recently). I love browsing in shops and want to support them.

  6. Chris says:

    Thanks for adding the colour coding for the recent releases, makes it far easier to promote what is new…and find it 🙂

  7. Bookwyrm76 says:

    I love this idea! Having a PDF version book means that I can carry my RPG with me wherever I go without worrying that I’ll damage my “main” copy.
    Is there any way to find out which specific books are available via Bits & Mortar? This would be a big help in determining what I want to order at my local shop.

  8. fred says:

    The program absolutely is! Don’t mistake the relatively low-traffic blog for an inactive program. 🙂

  9. Chris says:

    Heck when did Mongoose get added I missed that!!! Nice Add! I really need to start giving more shelf space to the firms supporting Bits and Mortar!

  10. Paul Hillers says:

    My LGS finally got everything put together and joined the Bits & Mortar progam. I’m not the proud recipient of a number of pdf’s for the Mongoose Traveller line. This is a great freakin program. I win, my local gamestore wins, and Mongoose wins! Yay!

  11. Robert "Treebore" Miller says:

    What about Mongoose Products? They do not offer PDF “bundles”. So if I buy one of their Traveller books ate a LGS, do I get a free PDF anyways? If not, why are they even signed up as a partner? Plus when I asked my LGS about this they said I had to scan in my receipt and send it to YOU guys, and that you would then send me the free PDF code.

    • fred says:

      Hi Robert, your LGS is in error. If they’re signed up for this program properly, with an approved account, they can log into the retailer area and use the controls there to send any eligible PDF to a customer who’s made a purchase of the print product.

  12. Nick says:

    Just ordered fiasco and am super pleased with this offering. I whole-heartedly support this and will be honest in saying that this affects my desire to buy.

  13. fred says:

    Absolutely, Jean. That’s top of the list, but I haven’t figured out the best way to do that yet. We can’t do pure mass-emailing because of our hosting provider’s spam controls (reasonable), so I’ll either need to devise a RSS feed kind of thing, or a mailing list solution which retailers could subscribe to. Either way, I also need to sort out a clean way to notice when files have changed & track them. So there’s some technical work to be done, which will happen when I get the time for it (but I’m also a busy freelancer and publisher, so, time’s precious).

  14. Jean Seaborg says:

    How do we get update notices when new PDF’s are added here? That would be the biggest help you could give us.

  15. Marc Burnell says:

    Woot! I see The Laundry is now up. you rock!

  16. Marc Burnell says:

    Thanks for the reply Fred! I’ll keep my eye on here.

  17. fred says:

    Hi there Marc,

    As far as I understand it, Cubicle 7 is still working on figuring out how the B&M deal interacts with all of their various third-party and licensed properties. I don’t know what the status is of that on a product by product basis, so I’ve emailed them and asked them to drop by and weigh in.

    Titles get updated dependent on each individual publisher’s schedule, so that’s not something I can give a generalized answer on!


  18. Marc Burnell says:

    This service has been a big boost to our RPG sales! It’s awesome to finally be able to offer the PDFs to our customers.
    We actually email the files to them while they’re standing at the register. It’s very cool.

    How often do the titles get updated? I ask because Cubicle 7 is giving away PDFs with copies of The Laundry on their site. this title has gathered interest in the store but with the signs we have made advertising the publisher as one of the ones we offer PDFs from they are putting it back on the shelf since we can’t offer the PDF to them. Will it be available eventually?

    Marc Burnell
    Get Your Fun On Games

  19. Scott Martin says:

    The link in the last sentence, “Read more on how to sign up” is broken.

  20. Big thanks to you all for your efforts to put this together and make it work. We have been supplying PDF’s under the various schemes which different publishers have been offering for a while now and to have everything all in one place, with such an easy interface is making life so much easier. We are getting positive feedback from customers. Great job!

    We are printing up some coloured labels to stick on books for which PDF’s are offered, to raise customer awareness of the scheme.

    Mike Berry
    Leisure Games, London, UK

  21. Thanks for this opportunity guys. We have signed up and look forward to offering this service to our very deserving customers.

    -Gamer Dan

  22. Chris says:

    Our first Bits and Mortar benefactor was supplied with his PDFs today, which he is very happy about due to book one of the Dresden RPG still being stuck in shipping while book 2 arrived 2 weeks ago!!!! Happy Customer, Happy Store Owner!

  23. Being an avid fan of RPG’s and a stout supporter of the RPG industry, I find this to be a great movement within the industry to promote the idea that RPG’s are not only books or PDFs, but both. There are so many fantastic products out there that it is often hard to find them. Giving players these options helps to open their world to new products they either may not find at their local store or don’t understand the beauty of having a book in their hand. I plan on promoting this group as much as I can.

    Aaron Huss

  24. Chris says:

    We put this concent out to our players (who are presently in shock over White Wolf declaring that they are going fully PDF) and they are full of praise for the idea. While publishers like white wolf seem to be loosing touch with the fact that stores bring gamers together (not pdf files) this is an inniative our store fully supports! I hope more publishers will follow suit and join up!

  25. GamersGather says:

    This is great! We will fully support you and would love to work with you spreading the word about this. Kudos to the participating publishers!

    Mark Alicz

  26. Myriad Games says:

    Thank you to all the publishers supporting this movement! We’ve just ordered / reordered the entire line of each participating publisher. We’ll be featuring them in our stores and looking forward to giving expanded support to other publishers who participate in this initiative!

    – Dan Yarrington
    Myriad Games
    Your Friendly Professional Game Store

  27. Robert says:

    The idea and what you’re doing is great. What other publishers are you adding to your system? (Paizo?) This seems like it would be much more useful if Paizo and Woc were involved, but I can surmise why they won’t.

    • fred says:

      We don’t have a list of additional publishers yet — we’ll be taking on more in January. The last part of *this* year is all about prototyping before we go nuts adding more folks and more products to the roster. 🙂

  28. Matt says:

    Hell yes!
    Sharing and spreading the good word.
    Glad this is happening.
    Going to tell my FLGS about this.

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