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2014: The Bundle of Holding year in review

2014: The Bundle of Holding year in review

Friday 2 January 2015
In our second year of operation, the Bundle of Holding presented 62 time-limited offers of tabletop roleplaying game and RPG-related ebooks, more than twice our 2013 total of 25. Our revenue more than doubled over 2013, and we raised $79,851 for the many charities selected by our contributing publishers, designers, and authors. Since the site lanched in late February 2013, Bundle of Holding customers have donated a total of $123,349 to a huge range of charities. Thanks to all our customers for this spectacular success! Delta GreenOur most successful offers in 2014: the original runs of PARANOIA ($48,537), Delta Green ($46,060), Trail of Cthulhu ($35,637), Numenera ($33,189), and the just-ended Dungeon World ($30,973). Popular games make for popular offers — with one huge exception. Our offers of Pathfinder-related supplements haven’t yet connected with that gigantic community. But we haven’t given up, and we plan more collections of third-party Pathfinder titles in 2015. We were also proud to introduce brand-new titles. The February “American Freeform” offer featured the first publication anywhere of Lizzie Stark’s Pocket Guide to American Freeform. Our April Spirit of the Century collection marked the premiere of Pulp Hall of Fame by superstar historian Jess Nevins. Kevin Crawford of Sine Nomine Publishing honored the August revival of our Stars Without Number Bundle with the debut of Engines of Babylon, in the same way Relics of the Lost premiered during the SWN Bundle’s original October 2013 run.

DriveThruRPG integration

In 2014 we allied with our friends at DriveThruRPG to add many of our customers’ Bundle of Holding purchases to their DriveThru Libraries. The OneBookShelf technical staff even developed a new interface, just for us, to ease the integration process. Since summer we’ve made headway in integrating our new offers. The next phase is adding titles from some older offers. When you visit your Wizard’s Cabinet download pages at the Bundle of Holding site, we’ll notify you if we’ve added any books to your DTrpg Library since your last visit. (By the way, newly added titles show up as “New” in your DriveThru Library. They stay “New” until you download them from DriveThru.) Some customers have encountered difficulties because they use different email addresses for their Bundle and DriveThru accounts. As these customers contact us, we update their records. In the next month or two we hope to introduce an account settings page where you can update that address yourself.


Numenera-RulebookWe started and ended 2014 the same way, with revivals of many past offers. In January we revived five early offers because, during 2013, our mailing list had doubled. Many new customers expressed interest in seeing the early collections. Between February and October we brought back six more 2013 offers. In late November we improved the Bundle platform to present multiple offers simultaneously. Then in December, in the flush of enthusiasm (or madness), we somehow thought it would be cool to re-present ten past offers, along with three new ones. Sometimes we ran as many as five offers in parallel. Our holiday onslaught proved disappointing, not to say foolhardy. The stress of launching 12 offers in 23 days was bad enough; worse, average sales dropped steeply. It appears all those simultaneous offers cannibalized each other’s success. The revenue from all 12 December offers combined barely exceeded the May total produced by just three: Trail of Cthulhu, Numenera, and Deadlands Classic. It was a worthwhile experiment, but we don’t plan to repeat it, ever ever ever. Still, it heartened us so many contributors were willing, even eager, to let us revive their past offers. We’re grateful for strong support not only from our customers but from the publishers and designers who make our offers possible.

The year ahead

In the first months of 2015 we plan — well, we hope — to stabilize the Bundle site’s software code. In early 2014 it seemed every new offer brought a new crisis. Though things settled down in summer, the site went down again just two weeks ago. The good news, if that’s the way to put it: Each new crash happens for ever more obscure and esoteric reasons. In other words, knock on electrons, the obvious bugs have been fixed. Though we have 40+ items on the immediate to-do list, many of these are cosmetic fixes just waiting for an hour’s attention. The Bundle front-end, the site as you see it, is basically complete. We’ll spend most of 2015 overhauling the administrative backend. You won’t see anything different — but if you meet us, we’ll be less twitchy. In 2015 we also plan to add more payment gateways. On March 2, Google Wallet will discontinue its support for the sale of digital goods such as our bundles. By summer we’ll replace Google Wallet with several new providers, and some of these will be especially useful for our European customers. We may even try Bitcoin. “But what about the games?” This year promises exciting progress for the Bundle site. Of course we’ll keep presenting offers of new indie RPGs; traditional classics; the Old School Revival; and the Cthulhu Mythos. But we also hope to bring aboard some larger publishers of top-line bestselling RPGs. And we have plans for this blog too, or maybe the better term is “grandiose half-formed notions.” Stay tuned!