PDF's are great format for RPG's. Well, I prefer books, as you can see them, feel them and read them comfy in your bed. But what is good in PDF's that you can take them with you. Anywhere. You can stuck hundreds of RPG books in the size of your finger.
One thing I don't like in PDF's is that I have bought already that RPG book, and then again I should buy it again to get a PDF version of it. There are few bundled sets where you get also PDF after buying the book, but it is rare. Different case is if I first buy PDF, but I got several RPG books already bought, so it buggers me to buy them again to get kilobits on my hard drive. That sucks.
But anyways, I now have some spare time at work and I did read RPG Archive and got really, really inspired to do some NPC's. And I got those 1000 and 1 characters to do. So, I thought that yeah, I will do one, two or few of them.
Only problem is, that I am here at my work and my RPG books are at home. Hard to do characters without referral, meh. I could do one for Vampire: the Masquerade, as I can find character sheet to refer in internet and I remember how to share dots and what disciplines are, but I'd like to answer those character creation questions I don't remember. And my plan was to do a Nosferatu, so I'd also appreciate Clanbook Nosferatu for merits and flaws. So, no can do. Well, I could if I'd find both V:tM and Clanbook Nosferatu from Drive ThroughRPG or similar site and bought them. But I don't want to spend money to obtain two books just to make characters I have already bought (both as new btw if it matters).
I thought also making a jedi (why would I want to do space pilot, negotiator or such when I could do a JEDI) for Star Wars SAGA. I know basically how rules work and have read few pages from here and there, so I could for fun scrap a character for the game. But same problem as with Vampire. I got the book - at home - don't wanna buy another copy (well, different format but still) of it.
So, that basically sucks. I own many RPG's in book but not single of them in digital format. Freebies I have, even from commercial games (Witch Craft is free, as World of Darkness core was at the time).
So, there is a moral dilemma in copying a book. I could scan and print pages from my RPG books to use (you can print and copy for your own use amirite?) but doing this for my all books would be a pain in the butt. But there are torrents as someone has also done it. Torrents are illegal and violate copyrights though.
I clearly understand, that downloading a game as a torrent you don't own is morally unclear territory. Or if you don't plan to buy it. Well, if you aren't buying the book in the first hand, it doesn't make harm taking a peek inside it, but many people download illegal copies and then think they don't have to buy the actual books.
But in music and movie business I have heard, that those who download stuff the most also buy the most.
So, problem is, that if I have bought a book (in this case Vampire: the Masquerade, Clanbook Nosferatu and Star Wars SAGA) companies have had already money for the products from me. So if I want a PDF of them, I need to buy the products again. I could easily take a copies of them for my own use (or copy parts of them) but aswell I could just download them from internet to use. I know the format is different in book and digital media, but still, the content is same.
Checking the prices in Drive ThroughRPG I find that:
Vampire: the Masquerade (revised) is 14,98 money
Clanbook Nosferatu (1st edition what I own) costs 5 money.
And SW SAGA I couldn't find with quick find at all.
So, it would cost me roughly 20 money to create a Nosferatu character now. If I'd wait till home, I could do it for free (well not free as I have already bought the books for roughly 50 money total).
Situation would be different, if for example I'd like to have Vampire: the Requiem (or any other game) and download it for free and never buy actual printed book or PDF. That would be stealing. But if I just take already made copy of it so I don't have to copy my book, is it that wrong?
So, now I don't have Vampire books or SW SAGA with me. And I won't buy them. And I won't download them free. I just have to wait to get home to do those darn characters. I am a good person now, I don't pirate the books I own. But I will not either buy PDF's of them as I already own them and usage of PDF's for those games would be limited.
Someone could think that if I bought PDF's now I could use them again and again with my computer, but I don't like buying stuff I already got. Instead buying those two Vampire books again for 20 money I would rather buy new product(s) I don't already own.
This sucks. Literally, if I was a Vampire.