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    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2009
    I'm in an interesting discussion going on over at Digital Webbing. Someone asked about formatting books for Kindle, I told him how I do it, and then all of a sudden we're getting attacked by people accusing us of wasting time, that the Kindle is for book readers not comic folks, all these iphone apps and kindles and such are just fads.

    Weird. I don't know or care if the Kindle is a fad, but if I can upload a file, maybe tweak it once or twice, and then be selling on Amazon, why not do it? I've sold six of my comic "Holy Shit" in the last couple weeks. Not a ton, but six more than I would have sold otherwise. My novels do sell better, but it's early yet. I also think it's a grave mistake to assume "comic folks" & "book readers" aren't the same audience, or at least potential audience.

    The only evil is Amazon takes 65% of your cover price. Seems excessive to me for hosting and providing a file.

    I'm interested in what folks here at Whitechapel think. Does anyone own a Kindle? Is it a waste of time for comic creators to put their work up there? Thoughts?

    The Digital Webbing discussion is here:
    • CommentAuthorhank
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2009
    If the DX comes down in price Ill probably pick it up. Then I would love to do comics on it. (though color would be nice) But I could see some nice magazine format black and whites like the old Conan mag from marvel going nicely on it.
  1.  (5852.3)

    I'm not for or against what you do or where you decide to publish your work...more power to you. I wouldn't consider it a waste of time if you say there wasn't a lot of tweaking necessary and that you sold copies you wouldn't have otherwise sold.

    However, at this stage I have to assume that the Kindle--if not all ebook devices--is just a fad. The two main problems:

    1) They're damn expensive--The new DX one is almost $500. That's two iPhones, two Wiis, a PS3 and a game, or a desktop PC with average specs.

    2) Amazon's taking too much of the profits. As you point out, they're taking 65%. The new DX model is primarily targeted at the newspaper and textbook industries. I don't know what kind of shape the textbook industry is in, but I know that none of the newspapers can survive if Amazon is taking 65% of their profits. Plus, think about it: what student is going to buy a $500 Kindle and turn around and shell out more money for the textbooks themselves? Shit, I knew people in college who so cheap they would photocopy an entire textbook and then return the book to the bookstore.

    I would say that it would only be a waste for comic creators if you had to spend a significant amount of time tweaking or revising the work before Amazon would approve it.
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2009 edited

    It took me about an hour to format, upload, and tweak the book. I used the same size images I'd formatted for the online version, no added time there. Amazon has approved all of my stuff easily, no bumps in the process there so far, least in my case.

    What if it is a fad? Why not ride it and try to make some money from it? Another aspect of the Kindle working FOR you as a creator is scarcity. Right now is a great time to get your stuff on it, before everyone is providing content for it.

    And? You don't need to own a Kindle to publish on one ;)
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2009
    @MikeLuoma I'll never understand why someone would say "don't make your information accessible".

    It's probably simplifying the situation a bit much but, if it takes you one hour to put something up that you can profit from, then I say go for it!
  2.  (5852.6)
    The only evil is Amazon takes 65% of your cover price. Seems excessive to me for hosting and providing a file.

    If you think 65% is too high maybe you should talk to authors about their royalties on printed books. A 35% commission is incredible given that Amazon fronts the design, development, testing, support and marketing costs for the Kindle and the Kindle store. That’s a better deal than the record labels have been able to get from anybody, and Amazon isn’t making Kindle content providers negotiate for the deal.

    There is a chicken-egg issue here. For example, I read an article that claimed seniors are snatching up Kindles because they can crank the text size up even larger than it is in large-print books. Nobody saw that coming, but I guarantee you people are going to be chasing that market like a motherfucker. What is it about the Kindle that allows you to offer something printed comics don’t? I’m guessing that many people who get sick of dealing with shitty comic shops that always screw up the orders on indie comics would buy a Kindle if they could start getting their comics without the hassle, and at a lower price to boot.
  3.  (5852.7)

    I remember when a friend's dad solemnly intoned to him that home computers were "just a fad." Listing all the things you could buy for the then-princely sum a desktop machine cost.

    I also remember when ISPs tried to charge by the email -- hell, when almost all ISP connection deals were metered by the minute.

    Things changes. Prices drop. People learn.

    And, obviously, publishing on the Kindle doesn't prevent one from publishing any other way. Right now, Kindles are relatively rare, but possessed by people (mostly American, to be sure, but that'll change) with significant disposable income for information & entertainment. Formatting for Kindle is a no-brainer.
    • CommentAuthorHelljin
    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2009
    Formatting for Kindle is a no-brainer.

    Then can have Crecy for my Kindle? Please?
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2009
    Right now, the kindle is more of a hassle than it needs to be. It's too expensive, and I hear PDFs still have a hard time, which makes it less attractive to a reader who's used to getting his electronic reading from all kinds of sources. Once that changes - and it will -, it'll be a blast. Even iTunes sells actual mp3s now. Format compatibility is the way to go.

    As for the occasional argument that reading comics on the kindle is inconvenient - we've all heard that when webcomics came up, didn't we? If you don't want to read comics on a kindle, that's fine. But if you want to read a comic on a kindle but you can't because there's no version for it - now, THAT's inconvenient.
    • CommentAuthormmaxwell
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2009
    I spent about an hour formatting a bunch of Strangeways pages (first chapter) into the *old* kindle format/size and they read just fine, thanks. Figure I could do the job right for both platforms in a couple of good days (not that I get many good working days, thank you offsprings). And the new size makes comics very much more readable (assuming b/w art--for now.) This is something that I'll be pursuing (and will be good practice for reshaping pages to android/iPhone format -- not that I'm particularly enamored of those platforms, but I'm not the target audience, am I?)

  4.  (5852.11)
    Speaking of prices going down and competition:

    Lighter and costs less. Doesn't have the convenience of built-in wifi, but... has the possibility to be "The Kindle for the rest of us."
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2009
    I have a previously published novelette available at the Kindle store. At this point, I think of it as just another a la carte reprint market for text, like Fictionwise or Anthology Builder. Would love to put comics on there, but I think I want to get a Kindle first, so I know the end result of what I put out there.
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2009
    On a side note, there's a quiet revolution going on at Amazon as far as pricing books for the Kindle some might find interesting. Readers are demanding Amazon lower prices on books for the Kindle, with no new book costing more than $9.99. The "Boycott anything over $9.99" thread has almost 2500 posts. It will be interesting to see if they succeed in setting a sort of "average price" for Kindle books from the bottom up, so to speak.
  5.  (5852.14)
    I got a kindle 2 recently (kind of wish I'd waited for the big one, but it's ok) and it's simply the best "thing" I own. Gadget convergence (your watch is a toaster and also a hat!) has left us so many things that do so many things very poorly. Phones that have cameras that give you lovely blurs come to mind. The kindle is very good for reading. It's excellent for it in fact. I loaded mine PDF books and magazines (lulu is a great source) and it's simply a marvel how easy and simple a "thing" it is.

    The PDF support on the kindle DX is pretty solid. B/W comics look really sharp and the larger real estate of the screen doesn't fuck the story.

    If formatting to the kindle format is an issue, pdf translation works even on the smaller model. If I could buy more comics, short stories and other writing from places other than amazon then dump it as a lump on the kindle and go, that would be swell
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2009
    Interesting article in New Scientist - color "kindles" on the way! E-ink is developing a color version of their "electronic paper" - imagine, digital comics in color, easily portable:
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2009
    There are alternatives to Amazon/Kindle springing up.

    Just found a site where you can upload your documents (pdf or otherwise) and offer them for sale. The store takes 20%, you keep 80, better than Amazon's 65/35 split. Scribd is what they call it. I uploaded six of my books. Selling for $1, we'll see how it goes. It's a beta site right now:
    • CommentAuthorcjhurtt
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2009
    I just put up a short story collection on the Kindle store just to see what would happen. So far it seems that even though there are only a handful of owners, they're an adventurous lot. They seem to be more willing to take a chance on an unknown author than people who buy wood pulp. The .99 cents price probably helps. Funny that a lot of shoppersw would wonder what was wrong with a printed book that was only .99.
  6.  (5852.18)
    Funny that a lot of shoppersw would wonder what was wrong with a printed book that was only .99.

    It will be interesting to see if this model ends up paying authors more than short fiction magazines and anthologies do.
  7.  (5852.19)
    I don't own a kindle, but I've gotten one on loan from the University for field work (it's awesome being able to go to an archive, whip out a pen-scanner and a kindle, and get everything you need instantly). I absolutely love the things, and I've used them for work, not entertainment. I'd love to get my hands on one to read in my spare time with, though.

    As far as formatting, I wouldn't know about that. I just finished up helping to edit a book a professor was working on that will be published on Kindle later this year. His publisher took care of all of that.
    • CommentAuthorgerimi
    • CommentTimeJun 7th 2009
    It seems like now would be a great time to get a comic on the Kindle, just because there wouldn't be a flood of comic title to get lost among… however, as others pointed out, there's the problem of how pricey the device is. Not only for consumers, but for a creator to be able to preview their work on it before making it available to the public.