The comic market hashtag on twitter is really a discussion of the ever-changing landscape of opinions, cancellations, creator-owned titles tying to get off the ground, and musings on ComiXology and other digital formats. Two of the bigger independent companies, Image Comics and Boom! Studios have redesigned their digital presence and commerce leader Amazon steps in with a huge announcement this week, the launch of it’s own Jet City Comics imprint. Earth Prime Time re-introduces you to these websites and shows you what digital offerings they have to offer.
Scans and PDFs of comics have been in existence for years now, especially since digital files have been used to produce the books. Before the age of iPads/Kindles/smartphones, reading digital comic meant reading a poorly formatted .CBR/.CBZ archive file on your computer monitor. Likely, these files were scanned in by pirates or those wishing to give access to out of print books, and hosting the files on torrent sites. Our world has changed, and with it the comic market.
ComiXology offers a Guided View that animates panel to panel on your computer or your device, as well as the traditional full page layout. Amazon offers a similar experience to some of it’s graphic novel selections for reading on your computer or Kindle Fire, but the experience is not as great, but serviceable. After watching Man of Steel, I caught up with Mark Waid’s Superman: Birthright as the cheapest digital option on the Kindle app for iPhone and Mac. Not bad, but not great.
Though more expensive, ComiXology would have offered a better experience for my devices.
I do not have a color Kindle. Comics are also available on the Apple iBooks store, and are locked into the Mac ecosystem, but the store does provide an option for publishers. iBooks expands to the Mac from being tablet or phone exclusive with the next version of OS X, Mavericks.
IMAGE COMICS / imagecomics.com
Last week at Image Expo 2013, the publisher revealed a new website and web store for both it’s current and expanding back issue catalog. Image recently tapped Ron Richards, formerly of the comic book podcast iFanboy, as the Director of Business Development. Richards gave a great interview to Comic Book Resources last week that goes into Image Comics’ view on piracy and the digital comic market.
The creator owned and creator driven publisher has opened up a direct to the consumer store, at full cover price on Wednesdays new releases available in a variety of formats, with no copy protection.
.PDF, ePUB, .CBZ, and .CBR are all available for the taking when the book comes out. Image Comics even provides you with the resources to read your books. There is no restriction on the files, so you own these comics just like you are comforted by your collection in a longbox. Save ‘em, back ‘em up, let a friend borrow. Yours to keep. By not restricting the files or buying into a particular digital file ecosystem, Image has once again become an industry pioneer.
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