Lost in thought about cheap digital comics

7 Ways to Make Digital Comics Better

We’ve come a long way in the last decade of digital comics.  We could go even further, though!

A man can dream, right?  Here are seven ways to make digital comics better in a perfect world.  Stand by and watch me redefine the industry in a way none of the involved parties will want to do.  These are things only the customers would want, but not the publishers or distributors.

Doesn’t the customer always come first, though? No, not really.

  1. Lower the prices, permanently.  New releases should be at least a dollar cheaper than the print versions.  99 cents should be the norm for most older comics.  And they probably would be if it weren’t for the need to leave room to put comics on sale for 99 cents for a limited time.
  2. Everybody under one roof. There are exclusives out there.  Some publishers favor one distributor over the other and delay releasing to the others.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick a distributor and have everyone available there?
  3. Everything under one roof.  I understand it takes time to digitize and upload a library the size of Marvel’s or DC’s, but I’d still like to see more comics up there.
  4. More than one roof.  Comixology should not be a monopoly on comics distribution.  They’re owned by Amazon, which still makes me wary.  They’re already pulled purchasing out of the iPad.  They’ve already taken away your opportunity to pay with PayPal when you move your Comixology account to the preferred Amazon account.  What will be next?
  5. Truly open comics.  Everything I buy is DRM-free.  Period.  You buy it, you own it and can read it anywhere.
  6. Open Libraries. Let me transfer my collection of comics from one site to the next.  If I like someone else’s reader, I’d like to bring my comics over there.  With DRM-free comics, that’s possible.  Bonus points if the different distributors have APIs to let one talk to the other to automatically transfer the comics over without me having to download and re-upload them.
  7. The Netflix Model, unfettered.  No more six month delay or limited library or company-by-company accounts.  Let me pay $30 a month and read as much of everything as I care to.  I normally hate monthly subscriptions, but something like this would be worth it.

You might notice there’s something of a theme here.  I fear it would require a massive revamp of some systems, which is more than the entrenched parties would likely want to go through. On top of that, Comixology has their Guided View technology locked up and patented.  I’m not sure how easy that would be to separate from the raw comics files.

I’m basically asking for a standard format for digital comics.

This is all asking a lot, and two or three of these points will likely never happen.  Look how far we’ve come, though.  Day-and-date comics were a big breakthrough once.  DRM-free comics were a breakthrough.  Marvel Unlimited was a breakthrough.

In 2010, I was making arguments on how some of THOSE things would never happen, either.

It doesn’t hurt to ask for it, at least.  Some parts of that might just happen. You never know.

1 Comment

  • JC Lebourdais November 4, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I agree 110%


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