From Project: Redcap
Portable Document Format or PDF is an electronic file format widely used in publishing, both within and beyond the role-playing hobby industry. Many Ars Magica products are available for sale in PDF format.
Obtaining Ars Magica PDFs
Please support Atlas Games by legally purchasing your PDFs, instead of illegally copying or downloading them.
E23, the electronic download store of Steve Jackson Games, sells PDFs of most Ars Magica products, except very old or very new ones. This includes the Ars Magica Fifth Edition rule book and the free PDF of the Ars Magica Fourth Edition rule book.
The Atlas Games website has free, downloadable Web supplements for some Fourth and Fifth Edition books: for example Book of Mundane Beasts for ArM5 or Secrets in Sand from Blood and Sand. These Web supplements are listed in Project: Redcap's Product List or you can find them by browsing or searching the Atlas Games site.
PDF Release Policy
Atlas Games' current policy is to keep the latest four Ars Magica books as print-only. About a month after a new print product becomes available, a new PDF - of the product that is now fifth down the line - will become available for purchase. As Atlas publishes four Ars Magica products a year, this means that PDF releases are about a year behind print releases. Much to the dismay of the digital-only fans (like Yair).
Reading PDF Files
Software for viewing PDF files is widely available. See the List of PDF Software at Wikipedia.
Advantages and Disadvantages of PDFs vs. Printed Books
PDFs have both advantages and disadvantages compared to print books.
Some of the advantages include:
- They take up no storage space and are easy to carry on a DVD, USB drive, laptop, or other device
- They are easy to search (which is especially useful for books that lack an index). Windows users, Andrew Gronosky has an article on enabling Windows Search to search the contents of PDF files
- They cost less than print books
Some of the disadvantages are:
- They are hard to pass around the gaming table
- It is easy to lose them if you are not careful about keeping backups
- Some readers find print books easier to browse and skim
- See this post by John Nephew, on July 16, 2013.