- Posted by Johanna on December 22, 2010 at 9:28 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
When we look back on this year/decade, I think it’s going to be clear that right around now is when the tide turned on digital comics. Every company now has a strategy to provide their publications online, although they all vary in effectiveness, selection, cost, and customer friendliness. So here are some other thoughts on the subject.
Warner Bros. is “closely tracking pirates in hopes of converting them into consumers” because “even the most diehard pirates spend some money, though less than more casual infringers.” One growing area of concern: international. Companies that offer localized (dubbed, subtitled) versions quickly don’t drive interested viewers to alternative sources.
Writer Paul Cornell makes his own statement on ebooks and downloading. Some of his points are quite insightful:
So obviously publishers think an e-book, out on the day of publication, should cost the same as a hardback. And obviously the reading public think it should cost less than a paperback. From this difference in perception stem all subsequent horrors.
But some I disagree with, as when he equates downloading to stealing, or in more depth, “If everybody did illegally download, it couldn’t continue as a practice, because no further music or movies could be made.” Some content industries have existed for decades by giving things away for free, like radio and TV stations. He goes on to point out some significant issues with pricing and, again, region-based sales.
In the bigger picture, I’d be more concerned if I agreed or disagreed with everything he said. There isn’t a way to make a thoughtful, nuanced statement on the subject without splitting some hairs or winding up on different “sides” of the issue.
In contrast, Techdirt points out some examples of people being happy to pay for material they could otherwise get for free.
And what’s doing really really well online? Romance. Especially the sexy ones, now that people can read them in private — no tawdry cover to give them away — and more easily access the complete backlist by a favorite author, when previously books became unavailable very quickly. (Much like periodical comics have a shelf life of about a week.) There’s a big lesson here for comics, another area where fans sometimes are embarrassed to be seen reading them because of public misconceptions.