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    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2011
    Mark Millar has posted his thoughts on the Top Ten list of digital comics sales at comiXology, in which he features a lot. He is still on the fence about it all and the general feeling of the comments is that you really need to cut middleman. So this discussion couldn't be more timely.

    I'd imagine you'd want to be on comiXology, and the iStore for the extra noses your work gets shoved under (they've earned their cut for that) but you could also sell directly to fans, give them a substantial discount and keep more for yourself, everyone wins.

    I'd assume if you wanted to go into this properly it'd be relatively easy to put together some PHP that sorted out the Paypal payments and fired off an email with the comic as an attachment (or offered it as a download). No need to install osCommerce, although that'd work too and might be an option for the small indie publishers for a reasonable catalogue of titles.
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2011 edited
    Wow - MM made me dislike Apple even more. Didn't think that was possible...
  1.  (8975.63)
    The trick to cutting out the middle-man, though, is replacing the marketing services the middle-man provides. The iBooks store has tens of millions of customers, at least some of whom don't patronize the Diamond Market system but are interested in e-comics, and are more likely to stumble across your book there than on some web-site they've never heard of. Many of us know how to publicize and market our stuff (with varying degrees of success) within the semi-ghettoized comics community, and in some cases also in other special-interest, niche communities, but we just don't have the reach of iTunes/iBooks or Amazon/Kindle.

    There may well be a solution for this, at least I hope there is, but it will take some thinking, a fairly large investment of time and effort, and perhaps some coordination among the big-name creators.
    • CommentAuthorCXXG
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011
    I followed this MM post all over the interwebs yesterday and today and I have, to be honest, no idea why he's got his panties in a bunch over Comixology. Marvel is his publisher, his gripe is with them, not Comixology. All Comixology did was open up a new revenue stream for him that he had not previously accessed. If he doesn't want his work to be available on the app he needs to take that up with his publisher.

    I think the distribution opportunities like NOT_99 and DJ Coffman's method make good sense for creators with a following but for indie creators in general the benefit of being available in the iTunes store via Comixology's Comics app is worth the commission. I'd rather a percentage of 10,000 sales than all of 100 sales. Plus, there's nothing stopping an indie creator from using all methods of distribution, not that I know of, anyway.

    But that's just my opinion.
  2.  (8975.65)
    I get good traffic on for no charge or censorship, but not one of those 55,000 readers has bought a copy from there. Conversely, lifetime traffic on my site pulls a bought copy for probably every 2000 readers.

    So there's more than just exposure that needs to happen in the alchemical mix.
    • CommentAuthorCXXG
    • CommentTimeJan 15th 2011
    @Brendan - I didn't mean to imply that "exposure" was the primary benefit of being on an app in the iTunes store.

    The main benefit, in my opinion, is the sales opportunity that availability in the app affords an indie creator.

    If my book is in print as a floppy but your LCS doesn't have it available (in stock) then I'm not going to get your sale. If I have an unlimited supply of my book in cartons in my garage, I'm not getting any sales at the LCS. The iTunes store is everyone's LCS and the apps are the printers/delivery method.
    • CommentTimeJan 16th 2011 edited
    I agree that probably the best way to approach distributing a creator owned comic is to both put it up on Comixology, etc. and also to sell it to diehard fans from your own website, in the format you yourself want to. One good point about the digital comics stores is that they sell comics to lazy customers, like me. Frankly, I generally can't be arsed to go searching the web for a comic creator's personal site, to figure out how the payment, distribution etc. systems work on that site and what apps do I need to read that particular comic. One of the reasons I fell in love with the Comixology way of selling comics is that it's so bloody easy. I can just get the push notifications about the new issues and keep clicking "buy - confirm", until something in the back of my head says "umm, quit it, you just blew 70 euros on comics in five minutes - again". Also, I thought I'd hate the idea of having to buy comics issue by issue, but frankly I've became to love the idea of Wednesday being a "yay, new comics" day.

    Then again, I understand the sentiment of the certain kinds of fans and online shoppers, who want to do their purchases as much off the grid as possible, and give the money straight to the creators. I can respect that.
    • CommentTimeJan 18th 2011 edited
    I only now read the Millar piece and I think there's one big problem with this logic:

    Millar: "In other words, keep buying paper comics."

    Comics Alliance: "So, who's reading digital comics? I think it's fair to say that the answer to that question is "Not the same people who shop at Direct Market comic shops." The series that sell online are, for the most part, ones that don't sell half as well in comic shops. What can companies do with this data? For one, they can start figuring out who they're selling comics to, since it clearly isn't your traditional Wednesday Comics Crowd."

    Hard to keep buying paper comics if you haven't been buying them for a decade in the first place... For professional and personal reasons digital distribution interests me a whole lot, and I've heard "my" story for a bunch of other people I've talked to about digital comics: "used to buy comics when younger, then stopped it for a decade or more, and now getting back to the hobby via digital distribution, can't be arsed to go browse comic stores". Okay, personal experience, biased sampling and all that, but it genuinely seems the digital shops are opening new (or maybe old, depending of how you'll see it) demographics and revenue streams - and maybe helping comics break out of the weird insular bubble they seem to be inside the pop culture.

    EDIT: Did some bloggery relating to this: Digital Comics & eBooks – Gone Digital, May Be Out For a While
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011
    Interesting what Rich says about Marvel's conditions for becoming a digital distributor, no sources but I'd imagine Rich would have had Marvel on the phone by now if it was too wrong. The irony being I know at least one publisher who hasn't signed up with the larger digital comics distributors because of the terms they were asking (actually is that why Avatar haven't appeared on these services yet?) - as with many things in life, size clearly gives you one Hell of an advantage.
    • CommentTimeJan 20th 2011 edited

    Oh Christ. The bigger the company, the more boneheaded they seem to be about digital distribution, no matter what the field.

    EDIT: Well, okay, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited looks spiffy, but way to torpedo the third party options...
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2011 edited
    A new website just launched today called The Illustrated Section. It's fun by a professional illustrator named Dani Jones and its goal is to give a new marketplace for independent creators to sell comics, art books, sketchbooks and art instruction books. Everything sold is in PDF format so there are no DRM or platform specific issues.

    My own comic - Nathan Sorry - is up there for 99¢ for the first 24pg issue.

    There is currently an open call for submissions. What I like about this site is that it is not just focused on comics. In fact it's probably skewed a little more to the professional and amateur illustration crowd. So that's potentially a new audience to reach out to.

    Here is the website, check it out:
  3.  (8975.72)
    For information - Interview I did with CEO of iVerse Media (creators of the Comics+, IDW and Archie apps)