Read Continuity for Free

Via The Great Curve (link no longer available) comes news that AIT/Planet Lar has put their next graphic novel online in full (PDF file link).

The book, Continuity, is due in June and available for order in the latest Previews. If orders are strong, this experiment will be great evidence that online file-sharing and comic-reading don’t damage print copy sales. If orders are weak, then this will likely be blamed for giving the book away for free.

Personally, I gave up after the first few pages, because I didn’t find a hook in the action-oriented art, and the second-page splash was really creepy. Normally, I would have ignored the book. By making this preview available, they got more of my attention and a second chance to sell me, even though it didn’t work in this case.

Dorian at PostmodernBarney reviews Continuity and makes me think I should give it another shot by telling me more about the concept than was obvious in the first few pages.

That’s one suggestion I have for those creators and publishers providing PDF previews — don’t expect anyone to see anything but the file. I would have read further in this case if there had been a second page that gave me the high-level information about the title — the creators, the plot or concept hook, the tagline, the ordering information. This example has the creator names, the price, the order code, and the month it’s due, all good information, but no quick indicator of why I’d want to read this (other than that it’s a free comic) or what the subject matter is.

Update: MacGuffin (a new graphic novel-focused comic shop that’s close enough for me to plan to visit soon) wants more discussion of the topic:

I expected to see quite a bit more reaction to this as a business decision, particularly regarding the question of whether scans of comics being illegally available online help or hurt sales (or make little to no difference) and whether this is the wave of the future. Personally it’s an experiment I’m glad to see take place, and while it is an approach I would expect from AIT/Planet Lar, I’m a bit surprised that they’re taking this risk after such a gap in their publishing schedule. But than, maybe there’s not much of a risk since we’re talking about relatively unknown creators rather than something like The Tourist.

As for the book itself, the scan is not exactly phenomenal, but it gets the job done without making the PDF too horribly unmanageable (though it still tops 11 MB). Didn’t immediately hook me, but I do like the premise and will probably give it another shot when I get the chance. In the meantime, come on people, let’s argue about whether this will backfire or not (and then about whether it’s all much ado about nothing).

3 Responses to “Read Continuity for Free”

  1. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Johanna, thanks for the link to MacGuffin. I think I’ll be making a trip down there myself next weekend. They sound like a great place.

  2. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] I thought the timing on this was particularly ironic, given that this is a week where AIT/Planet Lar has gotten a lot of well-deserved attention for making it easier for readers to sample before buying. They’ve recently posted more information on just how successful their experiment has already been. […]

  3. Wood Pulls Another AIT Title, Puts Online, AIT Rumors Result » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] King of Girls (fourth and final series volume, not listed on AIT website) Continuity (released for free in PDF form) Shatter (reprint of early computer comic) Rock Bottom Seven […]




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