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Old 01-13-2010, 10:17 AM   #1
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Are eComic Books a Market?

I've noticed several mentions lately of reading e-comic books as being a hoped for feature (not just here, even Chicago tech writer Andy Ithanko mentioned them).

Is there really a large market for that out there? I know the comic book market tends to wax and wane every 10 years or so-but is it really a major potential market? Or just a vocal and enthusiastic niche?
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjk View Post
I've noticed several mentions lately of reading e-comic books as being a hoped for feature (not just here, even Chicago tech writer Andy Ithanko mentioned them).

Is there really a large market for that out there? I know the comic book market tends to wax and wane every 10 years or so-but is it really a major potential market? Or just a vocal and enthusiastic niche?

I have quite a few.
Since there is no OCR involved, making them yourself is fairly simple with a scanner.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:18 AM   #3
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I have quite a few.
Since there is no OCR involved, making them yourself is fairly simple with a scanner.
Could you elaborate some, please. I remember there was a site that had some P.D. comics on it, but I am curious how they work on a 6" screen, especially e-ink...
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjk View Post
I've noticed several mentions lately of reading e-comic books as being a hoped for feature (not just here, even Chicago tech writer Andy Ithanko mentioned them).

Is there really a large market for that out there? I know the comic book market tends to wax and wane every 10 years or so-but is it really a major potential market? Or just a vocal and enthusiastic niche?
I look forward to consuming comics (and magazines) again. I can't really say what the market size is though.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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Could you elaborate some, please. I remember there was a site that had some P.D. comics on it, but I am curious how they work on a 6" screen, especially e-ink...
Here is something I put together when I first got my Sony Reader Pocket (5" screen)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/19625804/S...-PRS300-Review
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ardeegee View Post
Here is something I put together when I first got my Sony Reader Pocket (5" screen)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/19625804/S...-PRS300-Review
My eyes would go crossed if I had to read the captions on those pages on a 5" screen! But then I *DO* think there's a market for them on a 9" or larger display, such as a Kindle DX. Especially with all these graphic novels out there already, drawing regular book readers into the graphic market.

Derek
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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I certainly think there's a large enough market for comics to facilitate them on eReaders. There would be three things that would have to happen for them to really catch on though. First, a uniformed format that large comic companies (DC & Marvel) would publish their content in. Second, a large, color eReader that was on the market for a decent price (like the Bridgestone QR-LPD or a Skiff Reader that was in color). Finally eComics would have to be priced at least 1/3 less than printed comics. Typically comics run $2.99 for a printed version. Many stores offer customers 10-20% off the cover price ($2.40-$2.70) so the eComics would have to be around $1 or so. The main reason is that comic readers like to collect comics in addition to read them. You'd have to make it worth it to not hold the physical copy.

But that's just for the North American market. Manga is so big in Asia that eManga's success would be a forgone conclusion over there.
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Old 01-13-2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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I think there's a market for them, in back issues especially. Reading current material would be neat, replacing a half dozen long comic boxes in my garage with e-copies would be awesome. And in a lot of cases, the comic company owns the rights so they'd be fairly easy to reprint in an electronic edition.

I've read stuff in black and white on my Sony, and it was doable. Manga seems to work well, as it's typically less wordy and designed for a smaller format anyway. The lack of color isn't a showstopper, IMO. Marvel and DC have both been reprinting large numbers of backissues in thick, newsprint, B&W volumes.
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:05 PM   #9
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i would love to buy these , particularly if there was a format where you could view a full page BUT each cell is actually a separate entity so if you have a smaller reader,5 inch for example, you cal switch to cell mode and page turn between cells for readability, try reading a comic on a cybook (that isnt manga in B&W with a huge font)
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Old 01-13-2010, 07:12 PM   #10
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I think comics are best suited for tablets. Marvel & DC need to get behind a the CBR format and sell DRM-free e-subscriptions.
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Old 01-13-2010, 08:36 PM   #11
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Definitely! As soon as there are affordable tablets without an eye-straining screen, eComics would be on top of my want list.

I tried some on my netbook, and it's just pure fun. And no fear about tears and smears.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:59 AM   #12
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I think comics are best suited for tablets. Marvel & DC need to get behind a the CBR format and sell DRM-free e-subscriptions.
The current generation of e-readers are terrible for reading comics, but perfect for someone who wants to write comics specifically for them.

Instead of challenging the eyesight of readers by putting 4-6 panels on each page, comics written especially for e-Readers would look great with 1-2 panels per page.

Here's a test panel I drew from a poster that hangs on the wall beside my desk at work. It looks great and is quite readable on my Kindle.
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:23 AM   #13
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I believe there is a market for "ecomics."

However, if I am correctly informed, comics are a tiny fraction of the US book market. Comic and graphic novel revenues around $375 million in 2007; in comparison, the US book market is around $35 billion per year.

As such, it probably doesn't make much economic sense to really push devices just for the sake of accommodating comics, especially since the screens are typically 1/2 the size of a US comic. Similarly, given the screen sizes, lack of color options, and small numbers of ebook reading devices out there, it doesn't make much sense to a comic publisher to adapt their product to the current crop of readers. In the short term, tablets may offer better options for US comics if the screens are large enough.

However, something like manga should be fully accessible right now in PDF format. Most manga is B&W and uses small pages anyway.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:00 AM   #14
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eComics would actually be the only reason why I would buy a colour ebook reader (with a large screen) in the future; other than comics, I personally have no use for a colour screen, but I can see myself buying one for comic use a few years from now if the prices aren't too high. I don't read magazines (I used to read National Geographic, Vogue and Vanity Fair, but I dropped that habit a few years ago), or even newspapers. I often read manga on my prs-505, and it is quite pleasant to read, I don't find the screen small at all. I haven't tried reading colour comics with it yet. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't DC and Marvel already offer comics in digital format?
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
However, if I am correctly informed, comics are a tiny fraction of the US book market. Comic and graphic novel revenues around $375 million in 2007; in comparison, the US book market is around $35 billion per year.

As such, it probably doesn't make much economic sense to really push devices just for the sake of accommodating comics, especially since the screens are typically 1/2 the size of a US comic. Similarly, given the screen sizes, lack of color options, and small numbers of ebook reading devices out there, it doesn't make much sense to a comic publisher to adapt their product to the current crop of readers. In the short term, tablets may offer better options for US comics if the screens are large enough.
True, the comic market only makes a very small percentage of the US book market, but I think it mainly has to do with accessibility. There are plenty of bookstore located throughout the states, and while some do carry a small section stocked with comics and graphic novels, most comic readers buy from dedicated comic stores. Those stores also represent the only true places people can get a good selection of comics (especially small or independent titles) and they are few and far between. Even mid-sized cities have 1 or 2 comic shops.

If comics were available on the scale of books they would represent a significant market and attract new clientele (another problem with comic availability). That's why I think it's a great idea for comic publishers to explore eComics. It opens it to the masses without having to locate and shop at (a sometimes pretentious and imposing place I might add) comic stores.

But large screened, color readers are a must. Without them it's a rather moot debate.
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