Got my softcover version last week from England. The distribution setup works out nice. Had it been shipped from the US I'd still be waiting.
The quality is in line with Cloudlords of Tanara and Xa-ar. In short: Solid! The paper has a good feel to it. The colors come out crisp and the spine makes a quality impression. I opted for softcover because these fit right in with my other ICE products from way back when. And although the PoDs are brand new, they pick up the thread where the old ones stopped. Overall I was impressed with the volume of this new tome. Given it's size, it still is a pleasure to read.
For me, this is the biggest plus aside from the captivating content. First of all, I really like the logical structure given to material released for Rolemaster and Shadow World. All the books I ever held in hand were very well executed and included an introduction, a clarification of abbreviations, the game material itself, followed by tables and a search index. This is paramount for internal product contingency and makes it possible to put aside a book and come back to it - maybe even years later - and still be able to quickly find what you're looking for. Being able to sift through 30 years of gaming material while using the same indexing mechanism is probably unique to gaming industry products and reveals a distinct level of professionalism.
Then there is the matter of type setting and formatting. The reason why I tend to buy and collect older publications is that they are for the most part "black text ond white paper" in a recognizable letter size. One evil that came with electronic publications was the idea to cram more words onto a single page because anybody with a computer could simply magnify the page on his monitor until it appeared readable. What works out with 140% magnification does not work out when trying to read the printed product. The often seen habbit of putting full scale full color illustrations underneath the text made things only worse. The production run in tiny print saved the publisher about six to ten pages while giving the product a miserable usability. Reading tiny print on full color pages is a real pain. So, based on these observations, when looking at Emer III, I am happy to see a book where everything was done just right:
- Well selected type setting
- Good formatting
- Readable, black on white two column layout to make for an enjoyable reading experience
All in all: Great work !!
[5 of 5 Stars!]