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The problem is that for the particular game which I am playing (Star Wars Saga Edition) the books are out of print.

I am relatively new to Star Wars RPG. If the books were on shelves in stores I would buy them without hesitation. I can't say I have bought a second hand book before (ever, even novels) and what books I do buy (new) I keep in really good condition.

  • Has anyone else come across a similar problem (with other systems)?
  • What would you recommend I do? (For example wait for a reprint? Will that happen?)
  • Is it normal, that a few years after print the availability of books dries up?

I am wondering what happens in other systems also, surely this problem is not unique to the Star Wars game books.

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Do you have some sort of ethical objection to second hand books? If not, then you should buy whatever books you need from wherever will (legally) supply them. Most books go out of print eventually, especially niche publications like RPGs. –  Mark Booth Jan 10 '12 at 12:29
    
No ethical objection. I think I would be disappointed with a book which has stains or tears. Its my first RPG experience where books aren't easy to come by. –  bennygold Jan 11 '12 at 2:07
    
Boy, you must have a really conscientious RPG group if your player books aren't spattered with coke spillages or crisp (chip) oils after a few months. I learnt not to be precious about RPG books years ago. *8') –  Mark Booth Jan 11 '12 at 11:29
    
I've had great luck with halfpricebooks.com (though I normally visit local locations). –  Toast Jan 11 '12 at 16:07
    
I own all but two of the Saga Edition books. That's 11 books and I think more than half of them were purchased used. They are all in great shape. The two I don't own are the rare ones, they were rare before going OOP so now they run about $75 used to $300 new. As far as reprints go it will never happen. Wizards of the Coast chose not to renew the license and it has since been purchased by Fantasy Flight Games. They are rumored to be working on an RPG but it'll be quite a while before they'll have anything out. PDFs were never legally available for Saga Edition. Awesome game BTW. –  Steve Hiner Apr 29 '12 at 4:39
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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Most of the books I've purchased have been used, and purchased from eBay. I seem to have the habit of getting very interested in out of print games :)

Wait for a reprint? Will that happen?

Once a system has been out of print for a while, it becomes practically unheard of for a reprint to happen. The odds are good that if the property has any remaining appeal to publishers that a new edition will show up, instead of a reprint of the old one.

This is particularly true of properties that have been licensed from a third party (like Star Wars). Odds are that the license has lapsed, transferred to a new publisher, or is otherwise making things difficult.

Is this the normal, a few years after print, for the availability of books to dry up?

Generally speaking, no. Prices for both the WEG edition of Star Wars and 7th Sea remained pretty stable for the entirety of the time that I collected them (a period of around five years).

The core books will generally always be cheap, with hard to find "chase" books slowly creeping up in value.

The main issue is finding the books: At the moment I'm hunting for the Vendel splat book for 7th Sea, but can't find it for a decent price.

Condition?

Most books will be in good condition. They'll appear worn... There'll be thumb creases in paperback covers, scuff marks, and perhaps the occasional scratch.

I have yet to receive a book that was seriously mangled or stained, however. I have no issues passing the books around the table, although I probably wouldn't put most of them out for display on my coffee table.

Of course, you're dealing with individuals. I've received copies that looked like they came right off a bookstore shelf. I would imagine a few people have received lemons. But by and large books are pretty durable and don't degrade much over a time-period of decades.

Should I buy a second hand core rule books?

Sure, if the price is right. If shipping costs are prohibitive, you may want to look into buying a PDF instead (although I'm not certain that Saga Edition is currently available in that form).

Off topic aside: If you can't get Saga Edition, you can always try adapting D6 Space; a refinement of the engine used in the original Star Wars RPG.

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+1. As for your own dilemma in addition to the OP's: I typically set Amazon price watches for this kind of thing using timberfrog.com. They've worked pretty well so far. And yes, the best offer I can find for Vendel at the time of this writing is $50 on Amazon. –  MrGomez Jan 12 '12 at 17:52
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You can probably find unused editions online, or in RPG stores that never sold them in the first place, but why not buy used? At least here in Austin, we have about 12 Half Price Books locations which have RPG sections; you can look and make sure the previous owner didn't use it as a sneeze shield or whatever. If you're looking to use it instead of just have a showpiece, it's OK. Or if you have some kind of anxiety issues with used, buy PDFs.

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Probably relevant, im in Aus and shipping can be $40+ ontop of what I would pay for a book. I have searched about half a dozen local and within 100km retailers / game shops and found none locally new or used. Thanks anyway –  bennygold Jan 10 '12 at 2:22
    
@bennygold make that clear in your question :) –  Pureferret Jan 10 '12 at 11:11
    
+1 for Half Price Books. I buy 50% of my gaming stuff from them. They have a location right near the university downtown in my area so there's always a good supply of gaming materials to pick from. –  BBlake Jan 10 '12 at 12:49
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