Thursday, October 4, 2012

pdf patterns vs craft books

I'm sure this must be something that goes through most designers minds when they are working on a new pattern which they are intending to sell.  What form do you go about selling it as?

 
In the past, my patterns have been made into craft kits, featured in collaborative craft pattern books and magazines, appeared as a free tutorial both here and on other blogs and websites, in addition to having been granted a book all of their very own.  The avenue I am yet to personally embark on is into the world of PDF downloads.  The issue here is this... in my book Countryside Softies, there are a total of 28 patterns for a retail cover price of $19.95 or £17.99 (obviously, there are outlets online, who shall remain nameless, which will be selling it at a discounted price).  But split those 28 patterns and launch them separately as PDF's, you have got to wonder, from a designers point of view, which would bring in the most revenue?

So, what I'm asking is, what are your preferences when it comes to buying craft patterns?  Here's a little questionaire...

1.  When purchasing craft patterns, do you prefer to buy in the form of a book, magazine or PDF download?

2.  Are you more likely to buy a PDF pattern if it allows you to sell the items you make?

3.  If you buy a PDF pattern, does the fact you could potentially buy a whole craft book for a similar price affect your purchase?

I have been squirreling away with some new patterns, one of which, that stemmed from our visits to the Natural History Museum in London during the summer, there is a sneaky peek of in this post.  This one is most likely heading down the PDF route once the kids have finished playing with it to see how well it stands up to a bit of rough and tumble!

22 comments:

clare's craftroom said...

I'm a pattern designer in Australia and have been wondering about doing mine as PDFs but as a consumer I like to feel and hold the pattern in my hand .

My Little Corner said...

I don't mind getting PDF patterns, what I don't like though is when they take too many pages to print. It's nice to access additional information on line but when I'm sitting down to knit or crochet I only want a couple of pages to work with .
I like books but now I am shifting to reducing space and tend to buy PDF patterns.
Yes I do like to option to sell my pieces as that's often part of the reason that I make things. And there have been times when I've seen a "cannot sell" comment on the pattern that I just bypass it when I have no plans to make it as a gift then I don't want it in my collection.
Also I think you'll have a better opportunity to sell more when you sell your pattern individually - spreading them out over Etsy or Ravelry or your own site. Thanks for the opportunity to answer your questions.
Can't wait to see what you've been holding back!

Rebecca said...

1. I love purchasing patterns in all the forms! It does seem like my pdf pattern purchases are the ones that most often actually get made, though.

2. Not only more likely, I won't buy a pattern that doesn't include the option to sell. That said, I think I've only ever made one thing to sell from the billions of patterns I've bought. But I like to have the option.

3. No, not really. Each has its advantages. Sometimes just the immediacy of a pdf pattern delivered to my inbox right this second is worth the extra expense to me. Sometimes I'd rather browse at the bookstore and get a book or magazine filled with ideas that can sit on my bookshelf forever. Neither is better. Just different.

Wendy said...

I generally buy books and magazines, but I do buy patterns if it's something that appeals. I wouldn't spend more than about £4 on a pattern and I definitely wouldn't buy it if it didn't give me permission to sell what I make.

cupcakecutie said...

I sell my patterns as pdfs. I love the format as I don't have to charge more for having it nicely printed and packaged. Also I live in New Zealand and most of my customers are in the US or Europe so a pdf is an easy and quick way for customers to receive their pattern rather than waiting 2 or 3 weeks for it to arrive in the post.
I let people sell items made from the patterns as long as they provide a link back to my patterns.
Good luck with your decision!

treadlemusic said...

I have purchased in all forms but do have to say that my preference is a book or magazine. I have purchased your book and it's a beautiful addition to my library. Having said that, going pdf certainly makes the patterns immediately available to those whose residence is another country and would seem to be a HUGE plus!!!!! Your patterns/critters ROCK!!!

Amy said...

I like buying patterns as pdfs if there's only one or two items in a book that I think I might want to make. It might be more expensive to buy the patterns individually but if you're only wanting one or two,its often cheaper than buying the book. It doesn't bother me if I can't sell the item as I sew for myself, friends and family but I think that's a personal choice so you might need some market research to properly inform your decision there!

Tatkis said...

What an interesting post, it made me think!
1. I prefer to buy books and magazines, because I like paper, and sometimes just don't remember all my electronic staff - and always can go to the bookshelves and choose a book to look inside!

2. But I love to buy pdf pattern if I like exactly that design and can buy it from the designer (and don't know which book it is from for example)

3. And I'll still prefer the whole book to pdf, but would like the opportunity to buy a pdf too :)

Hugs,
Tatyana

littlewrenpottery.co.uk said...

I quite like PDF patterns too because I can print them out and not have to worry about messing up the original! I do tend to write notes and all sorts of things on patterns...

littleredscraft said...

Books are my favourite - they are full of inspiration, give great insight into a crafter's style and offer exceptional value for $. And searching through your own library of craft books is much nicer than rifling through papers! Oh and you get the good old fashioned advantage of lending and sharing books too :)

Elizabeth's quarters said...

If the patterns are quite samey, then I prefer pdfs, so I can just cherry pick my favourites. If the book contains lots of other useful stuff such as techniques, inspirations, and is generally well-written, then I prefer books. Besides, nothing beats the feel of a brand new book.

Maggie Smith said...

i love the variety of PDF patterns and the option to buy just the one you want instead of the whole book.
i would think $5 - $8 would be a marketable price to consider.

jenny miller said...

Not all patterns in a book will be used. So I'd rather download a pdf which I can by for a lesser price than the book itself. Some pdf patterns can also be downloaded for free. All you need to do is search the world wide web.
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Tittle + Tat said...

I would say that most of the time I prefer to buy PFD downloads. It is usually when I am looking for one thing in particular to make. I will do a search find a PDF pattern that I can get instantly or very quickly. I do love books too, but I find buying individual patterns you buy only the ones you really want to make. I do like it when there is a commercial licence though I think you should still always reference the name of the owner of the pattern when you are listing for sale.

Lenka said...

I am a fan of both formats. I love books, but it does get tricky when I only want one or two patterns. I read on a legal advice site that there is no way to enforce a do-not-sell clause, so I consider that a goodwill gesture. I am going through the book-writing process myself. Getting all of that feedback is wonderful. You could always create separate PDFs and bundles :)

Good luck with the decision!

Mary Ann said...

1. I love PDF's because I can get the pattern quicker:)
2. Yes I would like to sell the items I make but it really doesn't matter what form it comes in....but I prefer PDF's.
3. No. Normally there are only one or two patterns in a book or magazine that might appeal enough to me to make. I'd rather have the opportunity to be selective and buy what I want to make.

Jo_Brdly said...

I think i'm more likely to buy a one off pattern in a PDF quite regularly. But would only buy a book if it had a lot of patterns I really like

Mountain Ash Crafts said...

1. PDF download

2. Yes

3. Yes as some can be quite pricey!

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Creative Kate said...

It is good if they are in a boom because then instructions and imagery can be added and presented beautifully all in one place and the pattern can be photocopied and therefore can be used again and again, but any format is good i think :)

Georgie said...

I love PDF's!! I live in a very remote area of Australia and mail is slow. Usually I want to make something there and then, with most PDF's being instant it works for me. Also, I have a bad habit of mis placing pattern pieces, with a pdf I can just reprint it :)

I do love books though and if there are enough patterns that I really like - I will buy the book.