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    • CommentTimeOct 20th 2010
    I am going to buy the book from Amazon now. Even if Steve and Jeff weren't wonderful. And they are.
  1.  (9067.22)
    Aaaand the thread's gone. Oh well. It was really interesting to read through, considering how I'm often one of the readers of those "storytimes," as the /co/ denizens call them. I even did one myself once, of issue 7 of Phonogram: The Singles Club (please don't kill me Mr. Gillen!), the day it came out. People show these comics to one another out of genuine love for the art form. There's even a recurring MST3K-esque thread that has shown, on occasion and in no particular order, The Unfunnies, Imagine: Stan Lee's Superman and Imagine: Stan Lee's The Flash. It leads to purchases, of course (I read the first issue of Return Of Bruce Wayne on /co/, and I've got #s 2-5 on my shelf right now), so I don't see anything wrong with it. But then, I'm not a comic writer/artist (yet), so I don't feel like the prime expert here.
  2.  (9067.23)
    This is a prime example of a post scarcity economy in motion. Comics, like most other media, are no longer scarce. They can be run (and have been) through the internet copy machine an infinite number of times. Why did /co/ purchase Mr. Beiber-Leiber's work? Because he was a gentlemen, and had class enough to not be a giant dick about having his hard work displayed in public. I'm betting a major reason people bought Underground (besides the wonderful art + story) is because Steve is who he is - awesome. Steve got himself oodles and oodles of social currency with /co/ and it shows.

    Someone get Cory Doctorow on the phone!
  3.  (9067.24)
    This is a prime example of how to get your work out there on the internet, by working a new distribution channel. But, this is still just a creator selling their work. It dosen't matter if you're pitching to a company or a message board. This is nothing more than good old fashion legwork.

    We won't have a true post scarcity economy until you can make a living without selling your books.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010
    An anecdote has just occurred to me that has some relevance here

    I have a friend who simply *refuses* to read Freakangels online for free and instead has trade-waited for each of the hardcovers (which are beautiful things to own, actually). Which must make a certain Mr Christensen a very rich happy man indeed...;-)

    I doubt he would have got started if it wasn't for my proselytising on facebook & IRL at him (and the fact that he too worships at the altar of Ellis...), but the fact is that he's bought something he could've got for nothing.

    I believe that some people will always value a good high enough to pay for it, even if it is available for free online. Is it just to be able to hold the physical artefact in their hands? Collectors instinct? Whatever the reason, there is a market there.

    Whether this market is big enough to sustain a title long term I don't know - but the continued existence of FA after 5 volumes does seem to suggest that it is (assuming of course that Avatar aren't treating FA as a loss leader...)
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010 edited
    "I believe that some people will always value a good high enough to pay for it, even if it is available for free online."

    i'm the same way. Finder has moved online, but do i touch it? no. i wait patiently for the trade. i'm a fuckin bibliophile. i love the feel of the book in my hand. i love its smell. i love its look on the shelf. i cannot afford to spend nearly as much as i would like on physical copies, but i gladly lay down what little i have to support the stuff i can get for free.

    btw: this whole thing with 4chan has me utterly delighted.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010
    See also what happened with Nicholas Gurevitch's PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP... Every single strip is on the website but still the books sold out. I'm also a fan of books, I love them as objects as well as for their content.
  4.  (9067.28)
    Okay, at least one person from our caving club ordered Underground. Me, I'm currently in the process of carting out my books, comics etc. and getting rid of most of the physical stuff I own, so I'm holding out until it will be available in Comixology, which I've understood will be the case?
  5.  (9067.29)
    @Steve Leiber - just to let you know, I summed up the events in a blog post and also alerted TechDirt to the story as it's the kind of thing they're interested in (which they've just run).
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010
    I steal digital content all over the place. Fuck it, why deny it?

    I will buy anything decent in book form, or on DVD. I can't be arsed with CDs, as they're clunky and doen't really fit with the delivery method, but if I've got they money I'll definitely see the band. Last week I downloaded Lost Boys 3, thinking it would probably be a bit crappy and not worth shelling out for, but I was curious anyway. I actually loved it and am going to buy it when it comes out in the UK next week.

    I also went to the Library and got out Charlie Stross' The Jennifer Morgue. Sort of knowing his wife for years put me off reading his stuff, in case I didn't like it. But it was brilliant. Possibly up there with SnowCrash. So I've just been on Amazon and ordered the whole series of his 'Laundry' books.

    I have had Miracleman and Zenith in digital form for years. The second that decent printed versions of them are announced, I'm going to threaten my comics dealer with knee-capping if he doesn't pre-order them and ensure that he himself threatens his Diamond rep with a knee-capping if they're not delivered promptly.

    Same goes for a whole load of other stuff. Just to my right, I can see a bookshelf with about a grand's worth of hardback collections, from Lost Girls, though Hellboy to the Authority and Calvin and Hobbes. I could probably get those digitally, for free, at pretty much no risk whatsoever of Gene Simmons coming round and insisting on being my girlfriend. But I bought them and would again if I lost them.

    So, comics companies; think of the Interwebs as being like the radio and play me things and I will buy them. Give it *all* away and my buying habits will not change. Except that I'll probably buy more.

    And motor companies, yes, I so, so, so *would* download a car, if I could. Get on it, please.
  6.  (9067.31)
    @Lazarus: Thanks!

    oh, and as others have noted, the original thread is 404'd, so I just posted an partial archive of the 4chan thread at my site:

    @Vornaskotti: Always glad to hear from a caver! We're waiting to hear back from comixology. In the meantime, there are the pdfs, and I'll be putting up a jpg file ASAP.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2010
    Steve, if you don't mind me asking. I noticed you have stock of the trade on your Etsy store. How did you get a hold of so much stock to fulfill the orders? Did you work out some kind of deal where you can buy wholesale from Image?

    Hit me with an email or PM if it's a private thing. But, as an Image creator myself, I wouldn't mind knowing.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2010
    @Steve - Delurking to say I've got the entirety of the thread if you so desire, getting stickied and running for DAYS like it did is just something that doesn't happen for an an indie comic (hell, its a rare enough thing for anything short of BIG Big 2 news to get stickied), so you made a pretty big splash on our dark little abode even after you and Erika left.

    There were still a couple copies of the trade on the shelf at my LCS on Wednesday, I'm keeping a curious eye open to see if that changes next week.

    Storytimes can be among the best threads on /co/, not only because they expose people to things they hadn't heard of (there was an absurd collective freakout of joy upon seeing Boom's Darkwing Duck) and usually lead to a few people saying they're looking for their own copies (I've picked up at least a half-dozen things this way), but also because it's a great group reading for people that don't have a local circle to talk books, we can just go and point and say LOOK HOW AWESOME THAT IS/WOW, THAT WAS DUMB (or just cry to the heavens in the case of Ruins).
  7.  (9067.34)
    @Adam: Parker and I had bought a bunch of copies for con season, and fortunately we had plenty left. We've burned through all those books and have reordered directly from Image. Just email your editor/file-wrangler-guy for info.

    @pi8you Thanks! Go ahead and send me the archive! I'd like to be able to post up the whole thing ( unless things got really ugly after Erika and I left.)

    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2010
    @ oddcult, lost boys 3:the thirst (urgh) is already out

    @steve good to see someone embracing the future
  8.  (9067.36)
    Mr. Lieber-Bieber... It's one thing to have a comic that you drew for yourself being put up on the internet for free but what are your thoughts of torrent sites where you can go and download someone's entire body of work fairly easily? Sure, there are people out there that will give it a read through and then go out and buy it but at the same time I know a few people that won't ever buy a comic because they can simply download them for free. Heck, someone I know talks about being a huge comic fan but I don't think he's bought a comic for a few years now.
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2010
    Yesterday, the incident was slash dotted ... and everyone came off looking good.
    • CommentAuthorGregCarter
    • CommentTimeOct 23rd 2010
    Does it suck that creators and publishers don't get a choice of whether their work is posted for free? Yeah. And the more sites that can be challenged and taken down the better just on principle. But otherwise you have to ignore the free-loaders and concentrate on finding paying customers.

    I look at it this way, all the people that don't buy my comic weren't going to buy it anyway whether they read it for free on the web or not. Taking control and posting it on the web myself greatly expands the reach to find more people that WILL buy it. Those are the only people to care about. Post the low-fi website (or PDF) version for free, then supply a print and/or higher-quality (easy to get and read) digital version for a decent price.

    For a site that has professional advice on competing in the (web)Comics Economy 2010, check out It's a subscription site but I've found it to be well worth the price of admission.
  9.  (9067.39)
    two quick things, firstly I want to get the singles, covers look awesome too.
    secondly, I've never really known if others brought a paintbrush to a point in their mouth, used to do it when painting warhammer models back when I had more time. Glad to know others do, or did, is all :)
  10.  (9067.40)
    @Steve Lieber
    Wow, well handled!
    I'm interested, do you have any reason to believe that you'd have got the bump in sales + attention from the 4chan thread if you hadn't waded in there, or if you'd done so in a different manner?
    It's hard to be on the internet without bumping into piracy and discussion about piracy, and I think this has lead to people I know making "principled purchases" putting their money where their respect is (both for product and person behind product), or "purchases of consciousness", putting their money where their guilt is (often after a conversation or decision about the ethics of piracy). I can't imagine anything more effective at generating both types of purchase than a creator directly & politely engaging people in the process of pirating their work! It'd be interesting to know how powerful a motivation these things are - when encountered in a closed situation like this, do they add a few percent to sales, or do they double sales, or more?