A Different Web Comic Model
By Hervé St-Louis
March 4, 2007 - 16:59
In February 2007, Gary Reed, the publisher of Caliber, the comic book publisher who spearheaded several innovative series by many talents from North America, England and Europe, announced that they would offer the publisher’s library of titles as Adobe Acrobat downloads for $1.99 Over the years several online companies have tried to offer comic books in other format than paper.
In the 1990s, some publishers tried to offer comic books as CD-ROM compilations which would be viewed on a screen. Meanwhile, online comic books began to flourish with the development of the Internet. Today, there are several vendors offering online comic books, which often is similar music downloads.
One of the barriers to more online comic books or download files, has always been piracy. Even with protection measures, it is easy to copy a file and reproduce it. However, the digital format cuts through the one of the largest barrier in the comic book industry, the physical distribution of series.
However, digital comics have another problem, which is visibility. There are several platforms and vendors offering publishers a chance to sign up and offer their comic books to the masses. But the industry is still fragmented and unless a major player, like Diamond Comics, or even a publisher like Dark Horse Comics or Marvel Comics sign up with a vendor, it will continue to be a Beta vs VHS fight.
There are so many players and poor advertising and communications that readers are left without solid information about what is available. Other problems that lie ahead for digital comic book clearing houses are the simplicity of their download models, as well as the making sure comic books are print ready. Viewers still find it difficult to read comic books on a screen. It explains in part, why online comic books have had so much problems with establishing themselves as serious contenders, in the market.
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