I have been thinking more lately on the state of my hardcover books, errata, and the meaning of "official" due to the recent conversation in fun finds 5. The line is drawn at every gaming table to allow or prohibit different tiers of books, from the Core Only DMs to the Everything Goes MinMaxapalooza, and I came to a few observations of my own.
• Drawing the line is entirely ok. Things aren't balanced as well as they could be. Broken shit happens. I don't trust WoTC with their own product.
• Errata is given a bad reputation because it is a change to the book they sold us, the book that we as consumers to be a complete and competently made product. The problem is that the team making the game is much smaller than the group breaking it. Errata WILL happen. The real problem here is that the delivery method is flawed to the point of feeling illegitimate. When they put out a PDF of errata, I either need to keep them with my hardcover, memorize them, or physically alter my hardcover book to include them. None of these are any better than if I had just houseruled them in the first place.
These led me to the same conclusion. The decision to allow or disallow books is one for each group to make, but the balance of a book shouldn't be the issue. Errata should be freely available, implemented painlessly, and supported with real data. This is why my tabletop games will no longer be hardcovers, and I will not be supporting games that do not implement their books with E-Book friendly formatting and E-Book based Errata. I know people love the feel of a hardcover at the table, but it's holding the genre back by being a static ruleset that can't be fixed when broken. If Hardcovers had removable pages (like a binder) then it would be fine, since errata'd pages could be traded out at will (barring formatting and pagesize issues). This is what E-Books excel at though.
I understand the fears of the companies that don't want digital formats and want to sell a physical product. I understand the desires for the physical book. I understand the tradition. What I don't understand is it being treated as the proverbial golden calf. It's broken. We have the technology to fix it. Digital sales are not going to destroy your industry, and you have the capacity to sell a superior product because of them.