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 publishers will be “added to the list of creditors” to be paid off with money from the acquisition. It seems Graphicly was on the verge of bankruptcy, with financial and management woes going back at least a couple of years.
Not that this is anything new. Mismanagement and financial hardship have torpedoed print and e-publishers both—for example, Meisha Merlin and Embiid who published the print and e-book editions respectively of the Liaden Universe novels among others. (It was not unheard of for Meisha Merlin authors never to have received any payments at all, either.) And a more famous cautionary example in comics is, of course, JManga, who vanished into nothingness taking all its customer purchases with it.
People like to complain about Amazon being “too big,” but the bright side of that is we can be reasonably sure that it won’t suddenly go bankrupt, get bought out and shut down by someone else, or abruptly vanish altogether for any other reason.