January 25, 2011: RPG Buying Habits Survey: Results!
As promised, here are the results from the RPG buying habits survey we ran earlier this month.
Of the 1,389 responses, 56% indicated their RPG purchases were mostly physical printed material. The "about even, print and PDF" option took 25.6% of the vote, and "mostly PDF" got only 18.4%.
(Interestingly, in the open responses section, a significant number of people indicated that once a digital reader appeared that fit their needs, they'd be switching over to 100% PDF. On the other hand, ten times as many comments indicated they prefer print over PDF, although many acknowledged advantages to the digital format.)
As for "where" you buy your RPG materials, 54.5% bought mostly online, and 40.1% mostly from a hobby/comic shop. The remainder indicated their primary shop was a bookstore (only 5.4%). I was a little surprised to see "bookstores" getting such a small response, but otherwise these numbers fall in line with the "common wisdom." Specialty retailers still have a big chunk of RPG business, but not as much as the days before the internet.
Overall, the survey results weren't a major epiphany, but it was consistent with what we've been hearing from other discussions. The proliferation of portable digital readers is likely to have a major impact in the very near future, so expect another survey in the next couple of months.
-- Paul Chapman
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