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.
Good news for people who like keeping their digital comics in one easily accessible location: Today, Comixology announced that its going to be distributing digital comics from Viz Media, the publisher of a truly massive library of manga titles. Viz manga will now be available through the Comixology site, meaning that the comics can be downloaded to the popular (if controversially scaled back) Comixology app for Android and iOS devices, joining... well, pretty much every publisher on the block and keeping Comixology as a central destination for folks who want to buy digital comics.
The announcement is accompanied by the release of over 500 volumes of manga on Comixology today, including ComicsAlliance favorites like One Piece and One Punch Man, as well as a somewhat obscure title called Dragon Ball.
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.
Let's be real for a second: A list of the top-grossing apps in the iTunes store isn't going to be all that fair. Your assorted Candy Crushes, casino games, and Simpsons Tapped Outs -- games designed to basically pick players up by their ankles and shake the change out of their pockets--are going to skew the results.
That makes it all the more of an achievement that ComiXology nabbed the No. 11 spot on the iTunes list of top-grossing iPad apps for 2013. Only it and the New York Times app, which was right below it at No. 12, managed to make the list without nickel-and-diming gamers who just had to have... I don't know, better candy to crush? I'm not too familiar with that game.
Continuing Monkeybrain's trend of diverse releases through ComiXology each month, co-writers Ulises Farinas (Judge Dredd: Mega City Two) and Erick Freitas (GAMMA) are curating worlds within worlds at the publisher with Amazing Forest, an anthology series illustrated by their hand-picked artists. Debuting last month for $0.99 with a special 32-page #1 issue featuring stories by Farinas and Freitas, and artists Julien Dufour, Melody Often, Matt Rota and Yumi Sakugawa, the series continues on December 18th with Amazing Forest #2, which contains 20-pages of stories illustrated by Angelica Blevins and Caitlin Rose Boyle. ComicsAlliance got in touch with Farinas and Freitas for insights into how the pair juggle assembling short stories each month with their other comics-making obligations -- and more importantly -- to uncover their most shameful secrets and deepest regrets.
Starting today, ComiXology is spreading some digital good cheer.
From now until Friday, Dec. 20, the digital comics platform will be giving away one free comic every day. They're calling it the 12 Days of Free Comics. ComiXology users even send the comics as gifts to friends and family members, at no charge.
One of the cornerstones of DC Comics' current publishing strategy is expanding its digital distribution. In addition to producing a handful of new digital first series, the publisher has previously offered digital versions of many of its popular graphic novels. So it comes as little surprise that DC Comics announced an extensive list of its collections and graphic novels that are now available via Comixology and Google Play.
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