Earlier this year, ComiXology announced a line of exclusive comics by all-star creators, available digitally on ComiXology’s platform, but also available exclusively in print-on-demand version from parent-company Amazon. It’s too early to tell how successful Amazon’s foray into becoming a comic book publisher will be, but it’s hard not to view it as testing the waters for a system that could — even if ComiXology won’t admit it right now — replace the direct market. *somewhere in Michigan, outspoken comics retailer Dennis Barger Jr. tosses a throwing knife at a Walmart poster pinned to his wall*
Back in June, ComiXology CEO David Steinberger said:
Let’s say print-on-demand really works. The quality of it is great, otherwise we wouldn’t do it at all. But there are many, many, many books that direct-market retailers will not stock, because they will sell one once in a great moon or they just don’t have enough shelf space. That could be a really good opportunity if the quality is there and the price point is right, all those things, for publishers to keep things “in stock.” Because it prints on demand, you obviously don’t have to print a bunch of those, warehouse them, and incur all those expenses in order to keep something in stock.
We really hope and expect a lot of it will work. We’re doing it very intentionally, obviously. But we get to take those risks and see, and then work with the publishers who sell with us to give them the knowledge of what’s working and what’s not working.
So right now, it’s ComiXology’s titles printed, in collection form, with no limitations on print runs, no need to overprint, and ordering at the click of a button. But if it works, Amazon will be happy to invite other comic book publishers to participate, and the only cost is complete and utter domination of the entire comic book market by Amazon, which is, after all, their business strategy in everything they do.
But it isn’t just superhero books that Amazon is making a play for, if you believe that’s what they’re doing. The publisher is heading to Small Press Expo next weekend to show off their print-on-demand product with print copies of Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire.
Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire
Written and illustrated by Megan Kearney, edited by Hope Nicholson
Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire showcases the viral sensations of the webcomics world and the true stories behind their creators. Follow the ups and downs of internet fame, from IP theft to book deals, and all the trials of becoming an overnight sensation after gaining 10,000 reblogs in a single night. Learn about the origins behind the hit comic strips “This is Fine”, “All Houses Matter”, “No Take, Only Throw”, and frequently-viral webcomics such as Owlturd, Cyanide and Happiness, False Knees, and Poorly Drawn Lines. Each of the twenty artists featured includes a biographical intro by award-winning comic artist Megan Kearney (Disney Princess, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls).
Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire includes comics by webcomic superstars: Anelien, Joshua Barkman, Rob Denbleyker, Adam Ellis, Reza Farazmand, Nick Franco, Craig Froehle, KC Green, Ryan Harby, Maya Kern, Fran Krause, Dami Lee, David Malki!, Dave Mcelfatrick, Alex Norris, Branson Reese, Nick Seluk, Katie Shanahan, Brandon Sheffield, Shen, Kris Straub, and Zach Weinersmith, Kris Wilson. Edited by Hope Nicholson of the multi Eisner-award nominated publisher Bedside Press.
Collection 120pg – $6.99 on Kindle and comiXology
Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited
Available in print September 12th for $9.99 as a Print-on-Demand graphic novel exclusively on Amazon.com
At SPX, ComiXology, who is a sponsor of the convention, will be giving away free — yes, free — copies of Hit Reblog, and Kearney will be signing those and limited edition posters Saturday 9/15, and Sunday 9/16, from 1-2pm ET at her table, #J7A. Kearney and Shen T will also be signing Friday 9/14 at 7pm exclusively for SPX exhibitors, special guests, and volunteers, a perfect chance for other potentially interested publishers and creators to be tempted by the prospect of unlimited global distribution in digital and print through Amazon.
Will we see more of these next year?