Friday, July 04, 2014

Making an Exception

Over the past few weeks, I've been gradually reading through the rulebook for the new Firefly RPG. And, naturally enough, once I've finished it I'll be wanting to add it to my list of books read for the year.

There's just one thing, though. Back when I started recording the list of books read, I set up a number of rules: it's a book if the publishers say it's a book; one set of covers is one book; and when tackling an anthology of which I've already read part, I only need to read the 'new bits' to count the whole. In particular, that "one set of covers" rule has a corollary that eBooks don't count (not having covers). Indeed, I specifically noted this restriction way way back when I first posted on the topic.

The reason that that matters is that the Firefly RPG is a PDF, as the hardcopy hasn't arrived yet - it's on pre-order with Amazon, but has been delayed since March (-ish). Having gotten bored waiting, and since the electronic form of RPGs is frequently useful when preparing anyway, I picked up the PDF at fairly low cost, and have since started reading that.

So, I found myself with something of a dilemma - how to add the Firefly RPG to the list of books while adhering to my self-imposed rules?

So, I considered not including Firefly on the list, on the grounds that the rules exclude it. I also considered deliberately stopping just short of finishing the book until the hard-copy arrived, and then reading the last page or two in the physical version (and thus sneaking it in under the 'new bits' clause). At which point I decided that that was pretty absurd.

At length, I've decided to make an exception to the rules, and just include it once it's finished. If nothing else, when the physical copy arrives I'll take a look through it anyway, at which point I can sneak it in under the 'new bits' rule - per standard logic rules "all the new bits" evaluates to TRUE if there are no new bits. (Besides, I actually do expect there to be a couple of new bits - probably some back-cover blurb and one or more adverts for upcoming products - that have been omitted from the PDF.)

As a general principle, it's probably time to relax the "one set of covers" rule to admit eBooks and PDFs. (Not that I expect to make much use of such a clause, as I have neither a Kindle nor iPad, and don't like reading PDFs or eBooks on a PC screen.) The only problem there is that it's not immediately obvious how such things should be measured - if I were to get a compiled PDF of, say, the "Hunger Games" trilogy, would that count as one book or three? With a physical version, that's obvious, but not so with the electronic form.

(For now, I'll only include electronic versions of things that are also available as physical books, and list them in the same manner as I would the corresponding physical book. So if that electronic version of the "Hunger Games" trilogy matched to a one-book physical version it would count as one, where if it corresponded to a boxed set containing all three then it would count as three. Either way, I'll note when something was in electronic form, and if you really want to take issue with it then you can... though I don't promise not to shake my head sadly in your general direction.)

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