I feel like I couched my last post with enough questions to accept that the premise was wrong when the correct answers presented themselves. In other words, I'm suddenly quite supportive of electronic content when it turns out to be a different product, and not a bastardized version of something I'm expected to hawk in my store. You can see my thought processes evolve in the comments section of that post.
Unfortunately, many retailers still believe PDF documents are an alternative to print, and for many in low income areas, this may be true. The question for us, in a large metropolitan area, is whether there is a silent undercurrent of PDF only customers who are turning to electronic only versions. However, all the anecdotal evidence and comments and my own personal preferences say that books will be here to stay for quite a long time. That said, the next logical retailer question is how can I get in on this?
I'm pricing out the printing and binding equipment needed to do in-store PDF's. I'm not likely to do it, but I want to know why I'm not likely to do it before I discard the idea. For example, I think it's safe to say that a solid setup would cost about $8,000; half that if I don't mind extra staff to do the ass pain work. I'm not sure what the profit margin is on printing a PDF product for customers, but it sounds like more books than I want to print and a hell of a distraction. It's a little like Magic singles for role playing customers. More likely, we'll partner with the likes of Catalyst Games and other forward thinking publishers to sell PDF's directly off their website and burn them for customers as they're requested.