Digital Comic Books, Piracy, And More

Over at writer Warren Ellis’ forum, Whitechapel, there’s a very interesting discussion happening about digital comics.

Part of Ellis’ initial post:

If I were starting out today, I’d be thinking very hard about wrapping my comic into a .cbz container, slinging it on Rapidshare and posting the link on download sites under an anonymous handle.

I mean, obviously, more people are probably thinking about an iPad app. But the thing about iPad apps is that, as with the iPhone, there are going to be a huge fucking load of them very soon, and they’re going to be very difficult to sort through. An iPad app for an indie comic is going to get lost in the crowd just like an indie comic in PREVIEWS. Probably worse, since paging through PREVIEWS is a bit easier than clicking through a category dump in the App Store.

From someone named Steve:

If you search the app store for “comics” you get a ridiculous amount of crap. As a consumer, unless I know about your app, and know to search for it by name, I’ll probably never find it.

That’s another call for Apple to hire some librarians!

From someone named Anxst:

People can’t read what they’ve never heard of. More than ever, word of mouth isn’t good enough. The consumer adspace is so full of attention grabbing everything that if I think a book is good, I need to be able to throw it into your brainspace as soon as you show the slightest interest when I bring it up. otherwise, you’ll just forget the thing.

And I’ll give the last word here to dino, who nails it:

Wrapping in an app is a dead-end. Write an app of your book for iWhatever and then what? Write another one for Android? And another for the next platform? As we’ve seen in recent changes to developer terms, Apple is dead-set against any kind of software reusability spanning their iDevices and anybody else’s. Everyone needs to focus on open data file formats.

Yes, especially given what Apple sometimes does.

It doesn’t matter that these books contain pictures with their words. They are still books.

Publishers should go read this discussion.

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