Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Newsflash: Crappy Digital Comic Book Content Sells Poorly

Newsarama reports today that print comics outsell digital comics 630 to 1. Yikes! This burns my biscuits, but I'm not all that surprised considering the state of the digital offerings.

The comic industry is at the same place the publishing industry was at five years ago.  "Oh, ebooks don't sell!"  Well, no shit they didn't sell! You couldn't even get most books in ebook format, and if you did, it was nowhere near as well-done as far as formatting and copy editing as a print book (and from some publishers, it's still not great). They played around with publication dates, or they simply didn't bother publishing an entire series in ebook format - for example, you could get books 1 and 4, but not 2 and 3. All told, they made it so hard to get the damn things that it wasn't worth even having a discussion about it.

Flash forward to Amazon and the Kindle, and then ebooks started to be a bigger deal. Amazon strong-armed the publishers into putting them out there for a decent price and, behold, people wanted them! A few publishers are still dragging their feet and trying their trickery to force paper book sales, but I see that dying off in a couple of years at most. Recently, Kindle books surpassed the sale of 'real' books at Amazon.  How 'bout them apples?

Now, since I'm a slave to ebooks, I decided that the advent of the iPad was a great time to get into comic books. I'm also a slave to my ECD (Entertainment Completionist Disorder) a debilitating condition that I just made up which forces me to consume every piece of content I can purchase in the order in which it was created.  I'd heard that some of the comic book apps were great and I could get a variety of comics.

Reading a comic on my iPad made me call for help.
Yeah, about that... Have you ever tried to read a comic on an iPad?  Go to iTunes, get the free Green Lantern app, and pick one of the free comics. The darn thing is so poorly formatted that I had to turn my iPad this way and that to even see the pictures and the text.  Sometimes landscape was the way to go but for other pages, portrait was necessary - all in the same issue!  After reading one issue of Green Lantern, I was so seasick that I had to just put the iPad away.  Considering I had figured on dropping a couple hundred dollars in Green Lantern comics to catch up then writing up my findings to share, that sort of sucks - more for DC than for me, I suppose, but still.  I really wanted to buy those comics on my iPad.

I'm an impulse buyer, people.  If I want it, I buy it and trivialities like electricity or rent or food be damned.  I was prepared to drop some serious dollars on comics from both DC and Marvel on my iPad.  Now... Not so much. Give us comics in a readable format that doesn't make me want to yark after one issue, and I can guarantee that digital sales will get stronger. It's not that no one wants the digital format, it's that the quality of it and the method of serving it sucks rocks right now. If you give me something worth buying, I can guarantee that I'll give you money for it.  If not, then, you know, not.

Big love to @finaldisciple for pointing this article out.
Pin It

1 comment:

  1. "Have you ever tried to read a comic on an iPad?"


    Love your article, Laurie :)