- Posted by Johanna on April 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
A talented group of young creators (many manga-inspired) has combined two online trends to create a brand new way of getting comics to readers. BentoComics.com has free webcomics to read, but they’ve taken it a step further — readers can choose their own entries to assemble into a customized anthology, printed on demand from Lulu.com.
BentoComics.com is created, coded and maintained by the In The Attic 6. We’re a group of artists, programmers, and designers who got tired of waiting for traditional publishers to deliver the comics anthologies we love to buy and read and so decided to MAKE OUR OWN, DAMMIT.
The plan overcomes one of the biggest problems with compilation books: content you’re not interested in or don’t care for. You only buy what you think is worth paying for (although be warned, some of the stories can’t be included in books). You can make a book anywhere from 32 to 740 pages, or split up the stories you like into different volumes.
Some caveats: I had big problems getting registered. All my tries using Firefox for Mac failed, so I had to switch to a different browser to get an account set up. Then, I couldn’t actually get the print-on-demand system to work. I set up a three-story book, the minimum size, and I wound up bailing on the processing page after an hour and it still wasn’t done. The page tries to warn you it takes a while, but it says, as part of sounding friendly, “take five”, which gives very much the wrong impression in terms of time length.
Prices are quoted at $2.00/book + $.04/page, which would make a 100-page anthology $6, a very reasonable price, but one that seems too low, given other POD projects I’ve seen. (Plus the cost of shipping, I imagine.) I can’t report on the price for my test book because I couldn’t get that far in the process.
On the plus side, you can search the site by keyword, genre, or age level or view listings by creator or title. I appreciate the material being clearly labeled and dated, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. And I love the cute touch of the navigation being foods, in keeping with the arranged lunchbox theme.