You've probably already heard me proclaim the possibilities of our popular On Demand program, which brings out-of-print, difficult-to-get, and/or never-in-print items to your gaming bookshelf. But we're proud to announce something a bit different. Namely, nearly the entire GURPS Fourth Edition library of books that were originally published in color are now available again in color.
The short version is that, if you visit our On Demand page, you'll see a section devoted to color reprints of those long out-of-print hardcovers. Poke around and fill your collection if you'd like. (That "color" tag in the corner isn't on the printed volume; it's to make it obvious what you're buying.) Keep reading for a more-detailed explanation . . .
As some background: GURPS Fourth Edition has been around for a while. We've gone through a couple different desktop-publishing software packages (and who knows how many software versions), several different printing methods, and the rise of PDF. Throughout the years, many of those GURPS volumes – which were originally printed in color – were reprinted through traditional methods in black and white (since small-scale color reprints using traditional printers remains uneconomical). As required by the printers, we couldn't use the full-color files to create monochromatic books, because the art and color text too often looked terrible when converted.
When we went to do PDF versions, we had another difficult choice: We could maintain two different sets of files (one color, one B&W), implementing errata on both items, because we still needed the monochromatic files for traditional reprints. Had we gone this route, this would have doubled the work of any errata efforts, as well as introduced the possibility of version drift or other issues. So the route we chose was to just maintain the current print version, which meant just maintaining the black-and-white versions.
Times change, software evolves, we learn stuff, and staff gets more awesome. Last year, our GURPS production guru Nikki Vrtis realized she could "uplift" our current printing (B&W) print-on-demand files with the original color data and images. So she did just that, making some of these volumes available again in color – without usurious online prices – for the first time in years.
We still have one more book we hope to release in this format (GURPS Powers, we're looking at you). But in the meantime, it's good to welcome these volumes part of the On Demand family.
-- Steven Marsh