Digital Dump – Lets Get Ready To Bundle!

BundleWatch: The PSP store is now selling “bundles” of comics at less-than-single-issue price. Say… isn’t this what the quaint print lot used to call “trade paperbacks”? Will “bundles” catch on? Here, for your reference, are the current PSP “bundles”…

Daredevil (1998): Hell to Pay (5 issues) Marvel
X-Men: Blinded by the Light (5 issues) Marvel
Fantastic Four: Civil War, Book 1 (4 issues) Marvel
Fantastic Four: Civil War, Book 2 (4 issues) Marvel
Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (6 issues) IDW
Vampire Hunter D: Volume 1 (6 issues) IDW
Astro Boy: The Official Movie Adaptation (4 issues) IDW
Groom Lake (4 issues) IDW
Star Trek: Nero (4 issues) IDW
Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse – Birds, Bees, Blood & Beer (5 issues) IDW
Star Trek: Countdown (4 issues) IDW
Tank Girl: The Gifting (4 issues) IDW
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Prequel: Alliance (4 issues) IDW
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Prequel: Defiance (4 issues) IDW
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Movie Adaptation (4 issues) IDW
Zombies vs Robots (3 issues) IDW
G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra Official Movie Adaptation (4 issues) IDW

NewsWatch: CNN weigh in large talking up digital comic book content, talking to the major US digital publishers.

“The whole launch went as smoothly as one could hope and we’ve got a lot of interesting feedback and data from our digital sales and meaningful dialogue from our retailers,” said Jim Lee, DC’s co-publisher. “‘Sandman’ did well on the day of launch because [writer] Neil Gaiman tweeted something about it.”

Before delivering a kind off insipid attempt to be balanced over just how this might all affect the printed comic or retailers. No one is yet talking about the kind of Scott McCloud possibilities the iPad opens – because then that really breaks the model. Okay. Something for next week then. A new kind of comic. Next?

NBC below gives a more energised look at least and tags digital sales at 5% of print.

NumberWatch: Google’s recent announcement that they’ve counted all the books in the world — and there are 129,864,880 of them — caught Avatar’s Mark Seifert’s attention because he often thinks about similar cataloging efforts in comics and what might be done with the data.  The GCD, which has been at this a long time, has over 600,000 comics in their index at the moment.  The work there is done by volunteers and is Creative-Commons licensed.

In reading commentary on this google announcement, he came across this Wired article about the rising importance of metadata in ebook publishing, and it occurred to him that attaching various kinds of metadata and indexing info to digital comics — particularly for Marvel and DC, with their giant, continuity-centric back catalogs, is going to be far more important than it is for most other kinds of publishers.

Finding the first appearance of a character is pretty easy these days — just look it up on wiki, or google and you’ll find it within a few clicks.  But imagine being able to trace character development across titles and over time — and then actually being able to read the issues — with just a few clicks.  Or tracking down a piece of dialog or plot point. Not to mention being able to find and read the works of your favorite writers and artists with a few simple, fast searches.

Some of the apps already have the bare beginnings of such capability, but he suspects this is only the infancy of what’s going to happen in this area.  Replicating the reading experience with digital is useful, but getting a lot of the back catalogs into the digital ecosystem — and attaching lots of useful data to them — might change the way weall  use and read this material substantially and drive new comic sales in the process.

StandardsWatch: This CBR commentary about file formats, interop, and digital rights mechanisms a few months ago from CEO Micah Baldwin didn’t garner much discussion at the time but as publisher strategies continue to emerge we are going to reach the point that this is a hot industry topic very soon. Basically Micah wants to build a common comic book download format.

Since I started this business, something that’s been bouncing around my brain is the fact that if somebody were to buy a comic book on comiXology and then want to read that comic, for whatever reason, on Longbox, they’d have to buy it again. Fundamentally, that’s the reality. If I get a book on Panelfly, and then I get into comiXology and it’s also in their library, I have to rebuy it. What’s interesting is that if you look at it, that’s primarily driven by the technology and not necessarily by the publishers. I think that’s lame

Ironically, there is one… called cbr. Or cbz. Anyway, of course that doesn’t have any DRM.

I know that in our conversations with some of our publishers is that it’s a matter of policing. They don’t want their books ending up as .cbr files or something that shows up on torrents,

Of course, whatever mechanism you build in, nothing is going to stop you taking 22 screenshots from a digital comic and then uploading it… as a CBR.

KravenWatch: Todd Allenhunts down lapsed comic readers flooding to the iPad comics apps. And snares one.

I would really just want a simplified and open format (e.g. mp3) so that once I purchase an issue, I could bounce it around my devices. And maybe in a perfect world, share with my friends like the physical editions somehow. I’ll let the NASA scientists figure that issue out, but I definitely don’t want to have a store go down and lose all my purchases with it—and I want one app to rule them all.

ScottWatch: And it may just be 5%, but certain retailers I’ve spoken to are fearing the digital release of Scott Pilgrim comics alongside the film – this was just the kind of audience they’d expect to mop up after a movie release, and with six good value books to see, it should have been easy money. This will be the tester… will people find a comic shop to pick the book up, or will they turn to their iPad? With  the movie not even out yet and only six books to download, the Scott Pilgrim App is the second most downloaded comics app right now, just behind Marvel…

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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