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My recent experience with Baldur's Gate series have filled me with the urge to master (or play) with AD&D for once, instead of recent editions. However, I think neither I can pay a visit to stores with the reprint (I live far, far away from there, and when I say far, it means my airplane ticket will cost much more than the books themselves), nor I think I can endure expenses from international shipping. Thus, I looked at D&D Classics, and I found out that while they sold a bunch of digital editions of supplements, I didn't find out any core rulebooks.

So, here is my question: Is there any way to buy digital editions for AD&D 2nd core rulebooks, namely PHB, DMG and MM?

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Have you actually checked the prices for shipping to your location? Sites like offers second hand books from dealers worldwide with varying shipping costs. Might or might not work out for you but is worth checking. – Sven Feb 10 '14 at 9:02
up vote 15 down vote accepted

The second edition books have recently (mid 2015) become digitally available on

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Unfortunately, I don't think you'll be able to get your hands on a digital copy, legally at least. I've looked around some and every core rulebook of that edition that I've found have been physical reprints.

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If that is the case, I think I'd rather stick with my remaining campaign of D&D Next. Thank you for your research. – Arle Camille Feb 13 '14 at 4:34
This answer has been rendered invalid, as mentions. – Adriano Varoli Piazza Aug 28 '15 at 10:46

I checked and there seems to be no way to get it without the copy right owner reprinting or digitalising it, what they did not do for the last two decades, as far as I know. The did reprint it in 1995, but not without changing it. All physical copies I have seen so far have been inherited from one player to another or been bought for much money on the internet. And none of them was in a good shape.

On top of that, have a look at this copy right information, which explains how long the copy right will be up. To my regret I doubt it will end in our lifetime. In some cases they even made laws to make the copy right longer.

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This answer has been overcome by events, see accepted answer – KorvinStarmast Sep 4 '15 at 13:44

Technically speaking, you could buy a physical copy, at which point it should be legal to make or own a digital copy. Then the seller could just hang on to it for you, avoiding the postage fees. However, it would be hard to claim the seller wasn't using your copy as their own, while you were using the digital copy independently, which would violate the spirit of the digital/backup copy copyright exception.

About the only way I could see it working is if the seller had two copies (one for himself) and never loaned either copy to anyone.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, it's just my understanding of things.

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