Monday, June 29, 2009

A Book By Its Cover

So readers, I'm asking for your input once again, but this time on a more specific issue. As detailed in a previous post I've changed OVA's size from the traditional RPG standby 6" x 9" to the A5 format more common to various Japanese oriented publications. I'm wondering how far I should take this...

Essentially, I'm considering a dust jacket. If you do any amount of importing Japanese books or, at least, have seen a copy of such translated volumes as "How to Draw Manga," you've probably noticed a Japanese penchant for printing even paperback books with a dust jacket. The dust jacket features full color art, but underneath the actual cover is usually printed in a monochrome color. Sometimes this "hidden" cover features small comic strips, secret artwork, or other nifty things. So my question to you all is this: Would such a thing be a clever nod to OVA's roots in Japanese media? Or would it just be an obnoxious addition that's difficult to deal with at the table?


  1. Actually that would be a nice nod to the anime roots. Also, it would be unique for an RPG as far as I know.

    Cost is going to be a factor (as in final retial price). So, if the 128 pages is going to run $50.00, you might consider offering a budget version. This way collectors can get a special signed and numbered dust jacket deluxe edition or they can grab a couple copies to play with.

    Just my two cents... :-D

  2. From what I gather, a dust jacket isn't a HUGE expense. You're essentially paying for the cover twice, which tacks on perhaps $.75 or so. May even be a wash if you print the real cover in a single ink color like the Japanese tend to do.

    Printing the whole book in color, on the other hand, is a big financial concern. I'm crossing my fingers, but it's by no means a sure thing.

  3. personally, as nice as the dust jacket idea is, it would be rather annoying at the table.

    however, one thing I would like to see is something that was done in the Steve Jackson Sorcery game books. The books had at the bottom of every page, 2 six sided dice with various roll results, so that if you were lacking dice, you could open the book to a random page to get a roll result.

  4. I don't care one way or the other about a dust jacket. They're just an extra fiddly bit that I never use, but feel obligated to hold onto for some reason.

    Full color, though, is kind of important. Even if you have a main black-and-white run, do POD or whatever you have to do to make it at least available to those of us who are willing to pay the extra. Seriously. B&W kinda sucks.

  5. Where exactly are these going to be sold? I mean, I don't exactly imagine me being able to pick up a copy of this at my local Borders Express while tiptoeing though teenagers plopped in the middle of the aisle reading all the other hip manga RPG's. (Damn kids)

    While I think being creative and all isn't a bad thing, per se, ideas such as this need to be tempered with reality to make sure it's really worth it, cost or otherwise.

  6. Actually, that very much was the intent. I had a tentative agreement with a large fulfillment company to get OVA in bookstores. But after numerous delays on my part and the economy bottoming out, I'm not sure where that deal stands.

    That aside, of course I'll consider costs to ensure OVA retains an affordable price point and a decent profit. But I'm not convinced a dust jacket will make or break any budget. But having to fight a paper sleeve at the gaming table may not be worth the novelty. Which was the point of asking those of you planning (I hope!) to buy it. On the other hand, you could take off the jacket, use the book to death, then put it back. Almost like new!

  7. You should ask said fulfillment company about that.

    I've realized now that the dust jacket can double as a GM Screen, if that makes you feel any better.

  8. In this age where PDF documents are taken for granted, having a distinctive print product to offer can be a large draw. I think the dust jacket would be a great idea, and also second joemello's comment that it can double as a GM screen, or at least have lots of cheat sheets on it.

  9. I like the idea of a dust jacket/quick reference.

  10. Well, I guess that settles it! Thanks for the excellent idea about using the dust jacket as a screen, Joe. Hopefully printing on the inside of a dust jacket is a feasible idea.

    As for the fulfillment company, the problem is I still don't have a concrete release date. Writing them with "Hey guys, are you still on board? You are? Great, I'm still taking my sweet time over here..." is not exactly the most delightful conversation to have. So I'm just going to cross my fingers until the book is well on its way to being done.

    ...*crosses fingers*

  11. I will cross my fingers too. But I need them most of the time, so I will just cross them at night right before I fall asleep. I figure that's a good 15-45 minutes of finger crossing a night which will add something to the pile. Of finger crossing.

  12. I'm late to the discussion, and only found this new blog tonight because I was recommending OVA to someone else -again- and forgot the url to the original site =P

    I love the quick ref/dust jacket idea.

    Although [thinks].

    I know referencing text in OVA is different than in the other rpgs I play, but there's something primal and comforting about a book that will lay open on the table in front of you.

    Maybe it's different with OVA. I mean, it just takes a quick flip through to find what you need... and a handy manga-style version would certainly be easy to hold and flip through... but I wonder if anyone else feels the way I do about their books?

    Maybe there could be an option for the dust jacket? Maybe you could sell copies with GM-specific refs and one for the players? That's probably big-time overkill, but it would be neat =)

    Or, people like me could make our own dust-jacket versions to upload to your site. People could print them off, laminate, or whatever, and go on their merry way with some info that applies to the character (or gaming role) they have for that session.

    O.k., I'm rambling now. It's the drugs. I admit it. I'll be quiet now.

    I'm just excited about the new version =)

  13. I'm afraid optional dust jackets, at least of the officially produced and printed variety, is not monetarily feasible. However, offering a "blank slate" template you can download yourself is a very nice idea. You'll have to make sure I do that. ;D

    As for laying it flat on the table, I have to admit I'm the sort of guy who never breaks the spine on even the cheapest paperback. *laughs* But if you're so inclined, you can take the dust jacket off. The book will have a cover underneath still, after all. :)

  14. I'd delight in a combination GM screen/dust jacket. I also tend to use jacket shoulders as impromptu bookmarks, which is actually an asset at the table. I also agree OVA is twice as spectacular in color.

  15. Blank slate template: I'll make sure to remind you if I remember to remind you... [ummmm]... Yup. Will do.

    Broken spines: I hate 'em, too... but sometimes I have to count my pennies and buy a second copy to put up =)