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Webcomic ‘Help Desk’ takes on e-book DRM
July 23, 2014 | 11:20 am

drm-rollIf you could use a good chuckle, webcomic “Help Desk” has just started a storyline focusing on e-book DRM. (The storyline then continues here.) It seems to have been inspired by the letter that Cory Doctorow received from Hachette about DRM. Since some authors publish with Tor in the USA but Hachette in the UK, and Tor went DRM-free two years ago, this means the US edition of their book would be DRM-free. Hachette didn’t like that, and wanted authors to insist that Tor put DRM on that edition to protect the sales of their UK edition. The letter was actually posted...

New ‘Walking Dead’ Humble Bundle is up!
July 22, 2014 | 8:15 am

humble bundle walking dead themeA new Humble Bundle is up, and it's for comic book fans this time! The 'pay what you want' bundle has DRM-free digital comics including titles from the Walking Dead collection. Digital comics are not my thing, but I was intrigued at how many 'levels' they are offering this time. The first level, where you set your own price, nets you four books. If you exceed the $10-ish average, you get three more. If you exceed $15, you get an extra bonus book. And then there are options for 'everything above, plus a t-shirt ($40) and 'everything above plus a limited...

Graphicly’s acquisition leaves publisher payments in doubt
June 4, 2014 | 5:04 am

Remember the big kerfuffle over Amazon buying ComiXology? Here’s another reason to be glad about how it worked out, because there are other ways it could have gone. Graphicly, a self-publishing platform for comics (which we’ve mentioned a time or two), was recently acquired by book publisher Blurb. Not only is the comics part of Graphicly now to be shut down, but whether the creators of those comics will actually get paid is still an open question. Some of them have never received any payments at all. It seems the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, and...

Latest Humble Book Bundle offers Doctor Who comics, mobile game
May 14, 2014 | 5:45 pm

doctorsDoctor Who fans might have reason to rejoice at the current Humble Book Bundle on offer. With a base tier, a pay-over-the-average tier, and a pay-more-than-$15 tier, this bundle offers altogether 64 DRM-free issues of the IDW Doctor Who comic books, plus a Doctor Who mobile game with ten unlocked Doctors. And those are just the issues that were announced today; if it follows the traditional Humble Bundle pattern it will add even more titles next week. The charities available for support with this bundle include the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and (heh) Doctors Without Borders. Both worthy...

Celebrate Free Comic Day with free digital comics
May 3, 2014 | 2:55 pm

sensationWell, here it is Free Comic Day. And I’m sure that those of you who run by your local comic shops are finding plenty of free issues to read. But as for those of you not lucky enough to have a comic shop in your area, well, there are still plenty of free digital comics to be had. Image is giving away 196 first issues of its various comic series, including such popular titles as “The Walking Dead” and “Saga.” ComiXology has a curated list of free comics from various comic companies, including free comics from its self-publishing program...

Comic book shop advocate pushes for windowing of digital comics
May 2, 2014 | 4:58 am

The Southgate, Michigan News-Herald has a story about a local comic book shop owner, Dennis Barger, who has formed a nationwide “Comic Book Retailers Alliance” to advocate for print comic book shops. His rhetoric should sound familiar to anyone who’s watched e-books “kill” print bookstores. Barger said, despite what some people in the industry think, social media and other marketing isn’t what sells books for the most part. “The employees at local comic shops pushing these books is the difference in being in the top 200...

In wake of Amazon acquisition, ComiXology drops Apple in-app purchases
April 26, 2014 | 5:52 pm

Since its recent acquisition by Amazon, people have been wondering what changes Amazon is going to make to the company. The first one came along today: ComiXology is retiring its old iPhone and iPad e-comic applications, and releasing new ones that remove the ability to buy comics as in-app purchases from Apple devices. You have to buy them from the web store now. Unless you’re on Android, in which case the in-app store works just fine. This is, of course, because of that pesky 30% commission Apple enforces on all in-app purchases. Amazon has steadfastly refused to pay...

Amazon to purchase ComiXology e-comic-book store
April 10, 2014 | 6:24 pm

Looks like the Big Bad Amazon Wolf has just gulped down another hefty meal. Two weeks after rumors started going around (as noticed by Nate Hoffelder at the Digital Reader), Amazon has announced it will be acquiring ComiXology, the e-comic-book store that carries titles from Marvel, DC, Image, and a number of others. Although the various comic book publishers are trying to push their own stores, ComiXology has nonetheless become the best known source for e-books of popular comics. Now, like Audible and so many other brands, it is going to find a new home at Amazon. News is...

Fate of Girl Genius omnibus at Tor causes friction between the Foglios and Patrick Nielsen Hayden
January 30, 2014 | 12:16 pm

girlgeniusTV Tropes has a trope called “Poor Communication Kills,” in which an otherwise easy-to-prevent problem comes about because of either plot-contrived or real failure to communicate. (I’m pretty sure that’s happened at least once or twice in the Girl Genius comics.) Well, these things happen in real life, too. Last night, Phil Foglio posted to his LJ, Facebook, and blog a story of frustration with Tor, who had opted to try launching a line of graphic novels starting with the first Girl Genius omnibus edition. They came out with a low-priced hardcover, but when the Foglios wondered when the...

Marvel, Netflix titles vanished because of impermanence of contracts, not digital media
January 2, 2014 | 3:00 pm

deadpoolBecause I’m sure sooner or later someone’s going to bring this up as an example of the impermanence of digital media, and how you should never buy anything from a digital store because they can always take it away from you, I figured I’d better cover it first. The big news that broke in the video game scene yesterday is that Marvel, a subsidiary of Disney, has just pulled a number of popular computer games based on its properties out of all digital distribution outlets: Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network. The games include Deadpool, several Spider-Man titles, and several...

The death of single comic books?
January 1, 2014 | 1:04 pm

single comic booksI've seen several outlets reporting on the news that Marvel Comics has suspended their sales of single comic books to Chapters, Indigo and several US chains. These stores are still able to purchase graphic novels and other products, but not single-issue comic books. So, what's going on? A few things. Firstly, a senior Marvel executive was quoted in a released statement as saying that Marvel was working on "stronger, more mutually beneficial distribution model." Might they be trying to develop their own digital platform, one that could tie into a store's existing purchasing architecture in a way the more self-contained Comixology...

Want to write superheroes? Execs say: Do nothing for girls
December 16, 2013 | 2:15 pm

superheroesIn the great TeleRead tradition of practical advice for budding authors - including authors and artists of comic strips - here's a beaut: If you want to work in the superhero genre, make sure those heroes are heroes and not heroines. Don't do anything for, or about, girls. Because your brainchild (and better make sure it's a male child) will never get taken up by studio execs for an animated or even live-action series otherwise. Or a computer game. Or a movie. There: It's a career decision now. Are you *still* sure you want to write, or draw, female? That's the...