Digital comics sales are a huge area of growth for the American comic book industry, rising faster than even ebook sales for traditional publishing. Digital accounted for $90 million dollars worth of sales in 2013 and as an increasingly accessible distribution platform for comics creators, is sure to become more and more integrated into the business of making comics.
Journalist, educator and digital media expert Todd Allen is currently running a Kickstarter for his ebook The Economics of Digital Comics, which helps explain the intricacies of the digital comics landscape for fans and creators alike. Also the author of The Economics of Webcomics, Allen's already well exceeded his modest funding goal. ComicsAlliance sat down with Allen to discuss his work and the digital business of comics.
Welcome back to the ComicsAlliance Podcast. your source for comic book entertainment culture, news, humor and commentary.
In this week’s episode, we’ll talk about the increasingly well populated landscape of television series based on comic books, our impressions of specific projects, and what if any effect these developments may have on the comic book business itself.
Digital comics retailer ComiXology announced on Saturday that it was "retiring" its existing iOS applications for iPhone and iPad and replacing them with a new version that does not include the ability to make in-app purchases, one of the platform's most signature and popular features. The iOS app's storefront is simply gone, leaving only a reader app in its place. Going forward, iOS users will have to pursue the less direct path of buying their digital comics from ComiXology's Web interface and later syncing them to their devices using the new app. This process circumvents Apple -- whose iTunes App Store takes 30% of all in-app purchases from all vendors in the IOS marketplace -- and thereby presumably frees up more profit for comic book publishers and/or comic book creators.
Presently, ComiXology's branded iOS apps for DC, Marvel, Image and IDW are working as they have been. The Android app has also been updated, and users can make in-app purchases with a new integrated storefront instead of through Google Play.
The news comes just a couple of weeks after ComiXology and Apple rival Amazon.com announced that the latter was acquiring the former, and the new iOS process resembles that which Amazon's Kindle customers have followed to use those products on Apple devices.
The big story of the week is the acquisition of leading digital comics retailer ComiXology by Amazon.com. ComiXology has facilitated over 200 million downloads of digital comics, making it the largest provider of American comic books from nearly every major publisher as well as small press and independent creators. Amazon.com is one of if not the biggest retailers of, well, everything in the world, including a leading seller of digital content in the form of music, video and electronic books.
What does this acquisition mean for Comixology and the American comic book industry as a whole? To address these questions and ask even more besides, Senior Editor Andy Khouri is joined tthis week by Heidi MacDonald, Editor-in-Chief of comics news and culture site The Beat; Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance contributor and the writer of the digital comic book Copernicus Jones, Robot Detective; and Alison Baker and Chris Roberson, publishers of Monkeybrain Comics, an imprint with an exclusive digital distribution deal with ComiXology.
According to the ComiXology Tumblr, the digital comics company will become a part of Amazon's ever-growing media empire sometime in the second quarter of 2014, which would mean before the end of June.
The news is a pretty big surprise. Though there have been a few rumblings about a possible acquisition over the past few weeks, they were not much more than rumors. Now, it appears to all be a done deal.
According to Deadline, the company has developed a 60-episode package of four drama shows and a miniseries -- one of which could be the rumored Agent Carter series -- to be shopped around to different networks including WGN America. Also in the mix are video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video.
Amazon's been testing a lot of different ideas, including digital comics, with its new publishing wing. Now, it seems that the online retail giant is really committing to the format. This morning, Amazon announced the formation of Jet City, a sci-fi/fantasy comics imprint, and the launch of Symposium, a "sidequest comic" that ties in to the Foreworld series.
Comic creators looking to sell their self-published or indie comics in Amazon's Kindle store now have a way to make it happen with the new Kindle Comic Creator, a tool the e-commerce giant quietly rolled out last week.
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