by Shane Hensley
Karl: Yes and no.... It depends on how you define the term. I don't think that they thought how they said it could be interpreted.
The special deals appear to be
1. The SWADE versions of the existing books in PDF for people (and the setting conversion info between editions so your players can still reference the old books with the conversion printed out, while the game master uses the PDF) who backed the original, but don't back this one. (otherwise, the buying the digital new version would be $25 through the kickstarter, more after it).
2. The ability to buy physical copies of the SWADE versions of the previous books/Core Set via this kickstarter (again, available to any backer of the new kickstarter), ahead of their hitting the shelves and at about a 25-33% discount.
It's likely that the amount of the Deluxe Edition Savage Rifts stuff in the distributor pipeline might mean that the only source for the SWADE versions of the first kickstarter's books for a year or two will be direct purchases from Pinnacle, until the distributors sell out of the old stuff.
I've seen several RPGs die stillborn, over the decades, because distributors over-ordered the old edition, and then refusing to pre-order the new edition because it "doesn't sell" (of course, because people want the new version, not the old one).
Some publishers got stuck with product they couldn't sell because of a glut at the distributor level. TSR's last decade was a good example of this one (combined with people with no concept of how to run a book company being hired to run TSR after the experienced crew was ran out), as were a number of small D20 OGL operations with the change from D&D 3.0 to 3.5.
Others, who were counting on the pre-order money to pay for the printing, never even got to the print stage. Example of the latter: the 2nd edition of Palladium's TMNT, which got more direct pre-orders than distributor orders. They had a completed, edited manuscript, according to all involved, just not the distributor interest needed to justify a print run (which in the 90s would have been 5,000-10,000 books in the days before the full conversion to digital printing, because making the plates was a great deal of the cost, and made print runs of hundreds of books uneconomical prior to the digital presses.*
The printing methods have changed, as have how products get to final stages; the mindset of the ever-dwindling number of distributors (and a number of retailers that got burned with overstock in the D20 OGL print implosion as people shifted to PDFs from online) hasn't (which is why more and more products end up being crowd-funded and/or sold directly). I'm personally watching a local game store trying to reinvent the wheel, playtesting what he thinks will save brick & mortar stores by supplying a low-cost print product RPG, when that boat sailed 20+ years ago (he used to WORK for a major online CCG reseller, of all places, but can't grasp that the conditions for success of physical game stores are far different than they were in the early 90s). It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and my friends are the passengers/playtesters.
Remember, it was the distributors that told Steve Jackson Games that there "was no market" for a new version of Ogre - then when he PROVED there was a market with Kickstarter, their tune changed to "we don't want it because your kickstarter sold it to everyone who would ever want it" (which has been repeatedly been disproven by FLGS that ordered Ogre through SJG's in-house distributor for sale at their locations - the only lack of market appears to have been people not knowing the product existed, because it wasn't available through most distributors).
* Now, runs of books can still be profitable at 5%-10% of those numbers, which is why there are things like vanity presses for self-published novels, professionally printed playtest editions of RPGs (instead of looseleaf binders), etc. Before PDFs came to dominate small-company supplements (OGL, fan created settings, etc.) the early digital vanity presses were able to churn out a lot of early D20 supplements, for example, that you can often find gathering dust in the corners of older gaming stores or bargain bins.
So, what exactly are the "Special deals for previous Rifts® for Savage Worlds Kickstarter backers"?
I mean, from what I see, everything is available to everyone so far...
No, that's it. So, if I back at $50, I've got everything (in PDF).
Old backers will automatically get the new version of the old books. There is a $50 digital worldbook for the new PDFs. Sorry I'm not sure which you were asking for.
So, since I was a backer of the first Savage Rifts (and the new Savage Worlds edition), what backer level should I back this at to get all the new PDFs?