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Digital Comics and the Longbox

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  • #46
    I like Mr. Ed's idea of using this type of thing to follow books I might not otherwise follow. But as far as books I read on a monthly basis? No thanks. If this ever replaced hard copy comics (not saying it would but if), I'd be done.

    You just can't replicate sitting and holding a comic with a computer screen.


    • #47
      Originally posted by myuserid View Post
      I like Mr. Ed's idea of using this type of thing to follow books I might not otherwise follow.
      I'm pretty sure W.West brought that up before I did. I just applied it specifically to event tie-ins.

      (Don't want to look like I'm stealing credit for a good idea. )


      • #48
        Originally posted by W.West View Post
        Everyone who buys from iTunes or any other digital music service realizes there is an illegal way of downloading this same product. Its still doing rather well I'd say. I don't think that the idea of illegal comics is new and would cause such a major drop in digital sales by word of mouth. If Longbox is successful then of course we'll start to see a rise in illegal digital comics but that shouldn't hurt the sales too much.
        True, iTunes does well despite illegal downloading, but you are looking at a much, much larger customer base there. Comics, while definitely a wonderful medium, lack much of the universal appeal that music has. Expecting numbers near what iTunes can count on is not something the comics industry has the luxury of. Yes, this will help it reach a new audience, and maybe gain some new fans, but will it be enough? This isn't a surefire way to get everyone interested in comics, and certainly not a way to make a massive increase in readers and sales.

        I wish it was, but you know exactly how it is with people that don't read comics when you try to get them interested.

        I am not saying it is a bad idea, not at all, but for new customers, if it doesn't make a big difference, I wanted to pose a situation where it could prove to be a failed venture, possibly even contributing to a further decline in the comics industry.

        Not to mention that given the response here, there will not be a widespread use by those of us that are big fans of comic books.

        Myself, I try to have a digital copy of everything I own simply to avoid having to go to the dungeon and look through longboxes filled with comics for one issue. Also, I want to keep my comics in the best possible condition I can. I have already paid for the book, there is no chance of me paying for a digital copy after that. I did my part to support them and my LCS, so I can't see how this would appeal to me.

        The extras might be appealing to some, but I read my comics for the story, not to hear what "Joe Editor" has to say about my beloved characters.

        And when it comes to downloading the digital copies, yes, I will download ones I do not already own, but only as a means of determining whether or not I should get them. If I like what I see, I call down to the LCS or stop by and have it added to my pull list. If not, I delete the digital.

        Add to that what has already been mentioned, you have to have a decent enough screen size to read these on, especially when it comes to the panels that span two pages. I am lucky enough to have a larger screen, but not everyone can afford to go out and get one, so you have to consider that as well.

        Like I said though, I would love for this to work and draw in more people to comic books, and like I have always said, there is no better way to promote literacy for children, but it really seems like there are too many ways this could fail to get me really excited.

        Do I hope I am wrong? Hell yes, and if this is the only way to keep comics going strong in the years ahead, sign me up. But if it doesn't appeal to "Joe Public" off the street, then the chances of it succeeding are slim to none. And almost every single one of us knows just how Joe Public responds to comic books...


        • #49
          You've download a digital copy of every book you have?! Holy Momma, I'd need a Terabyte atleast lol


          • #50
            Originally posted by lanternut View Post
            You've download a digital copy of every book you have?! Holy Momma, I'd need a Terabyte atleast lol
            Yeah, thankfully I am not there yet. Working on it though!


            • #51
              Longbox details and in action from HeroesCon


              • #52
                I had to start a word doc to write down my ideas as I read, they are too numerous… I know it refers to many points already said, but if I may add 2 cents in my own words:

                First of all West, I think you’re the type of reader that is mainly into comics for the story. You like to eat it, digest it, and move on without then having to ‘manage’ a comic collection. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I however, don’t look at comics as just another chapter in my soap opera – I look at them as owning a (collectible, someday valuable) piece of art.

                On that note, digital comics will completely ruin the after-market in the long run. Why should someone pay $1,500 for a 30-year old issue when they can get it on kazaa for free? If anyone can get and read that old issue in digital format, then why would that 30-year old be worth $1,500 in the first place? It won't. No one would pay it, thus the issue will not have value as a collectible. As it stands right now, I would have to spend $1,500 to read that 30-year old issue, but I really like the fact that there is collectible art out there that has such value, whether I can afford it or not. After everything goes digital, the only thing that will have collector art value is the original art itself.

                I worked in retail full-time for 15 years, and learned a thing about supply and demand. When the publishers order a certain quantity of paper stock to print issues, they are provided cost breaks and other incentives when they order certain quantity levels. If suddenly there is a huge reduction in orders, the prices will go up accordingly, and that cost will get passed to us - hence making comics more expensive. I know what you will say to this: no it won’t, since there will still be paper readers. Ok, if half of the reading public starts going digital, doesn’t it make sense that the papers orders will be halved??? You seem to be a little unrealistic in what the comics companies (for-profit corporations like any other) would do if suddenly they could cut costs drastically (digital) in order to provide the same level of service (providing readers like you with the next chapter to your soap opera) – paper would go away. Period. They would not be able to justify to their investors why they were still publishing the old expensive way, and company heads would start being summarily voted out of power. Those company heads will do whatever they have to in order to save their skins: stop paper publishing, and hope the old-timers like me just get used to it. That has happened many, many times in history.

                My personal issue: I’m poor. This is really embarrassing to say because people cannot even relate and always look at me with a dumb-founded look on their faces, but I still have not been able to afford getting my first ipod yet. I am WAAAAAY behind with technology. If suddenly my comics were only available on a certain gadget-of-the-week that I had to go out and spend hundreds for, the comics industry would permanently lose me as a customer, even if they are only 99 cents. How does that benefit them?

                On the topic of reading screens; there has been many-a-study (that continue to come out all the time) showing that sitting in front of a screen all day has various negative effects. Its generally unhealthy. “No one is forcing us to stuff our heads in front of our screens for hours”? Maybe we LIKE curling up in bed and reading comics for a couple hours, not having to do the equivalent in front of a monitor (or even a reader). Ever like the way a comic smells? I do, hehe.

                On the issue of shops going out of business, I will begrudgingly agree that perhaps the new and widespread digital format should be given a shot; if the majority of comics readers don’t like it, it should die, and that will be that. Its too late for the music industry to retract the digital music age and go back to printing cd’s, however. I hope the comics industry is paying attention and watching it as an example….


                • #53

                  Originally posted by Limelantern View Post
                  Point is scanning the pages of a comic and reading them on a monitor is not a gigantic leap of technology.
                  personally, I think the benefit comes in wat happens AFTER U've finished reading the story; since Im not the type to just throw the book away, it certainly lends itself toward better storage since its not taking up anywhere NEAR as much room as a paper book........


                  Originally posted by Andrew NDB
                  Geoff Johns should have a 10 mile restraining order from comic books, let alone films.


                  • #54
                    I'm actually for both sides of this.

                    On the one hand I love having the paper in my hand. I find it a little more pleasurable to sit on the couch and read the new edition, feel the page, the ads, the images. I do like the artwork on paper than sometimes what i see in the digital copies.
                    I also have been an avid collector for many years now. I currently have 12 long boxes of the things. Some range from being worth 50cents and others up to over $200, and special ones signed.
                    There's just something about having the paper comic in your hand that i don't think I will ever stop getting them that way. And when I was drawing out the characters having the paper in front of you always made it a little easier.

                    Now on the other hand I also have my little stash of digital comics. When I got them I was never that thrilled about sitting in front of the computer to have to read them all the time. What I was able to get was an old tablet PC, and then downloaded a series to that and will sit and read them. Still gives me a bit of the "hold in your hand" feel while reading.
                    What I like about the digital is that I can grab comics I never would have previously had the opportunity to get. (ie: the entire run of Iron Man or Uncanny XMen) And read them from start to finish and it hardly takes up any space at all.
                    The downside to some of the digital comics out there is that you must be connected, or that you don't truly own them. You're just kinda renting them. (much like the Marvel e-comics which I've never been thrilled with) Which I don't like at all. I like the ownership that I get with paper comics. I would like the idea that if I get digital comics that I can download them and take them with me and put them on anything I want.

                    But as I said, I see both sides to this and I actually read them both ways.
                    For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

                    Everybody who lives dies, but not everybody who dies has lived - No Fear


                    • #55
                      True - when I get out of town for a few days, it would be nice to have a nice little e-tablet to read them on in dowtime, instead of packing a thick Showcase volume (what I always do now). If the companies can include a digital copy the way the movie studios have started doing with dvds... that's fine with me.

                      I started collecting Ghost Rider for the first time with the last series, but wanted to go back and read it all from inception - so I purchased the entire collection going back to the '70's on dvd-rom... I read issue #1 a year ago, and haven't gotten around to reading issue #2 yet - I guess I don't like sitting at my comp reading comics.


                      • #56
                        Hey West, any further info on this? Or find anyone that can allow us to be a beta tester?
                        For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

                        Everybody who lives dies, but not everybody who dies has lived - No Fear


                        • #57
                          Not that I know of. They haven't started beta testing yet. I believe it was stated that CBR will be the place where they choose their testers, so you might want to get an account there.


                          • #58
                            via CBR

                            Chip Mosher, Marketing director at BOOM! Studios, started the Digital Comics panel at Comic-Con International by detailing a few early successes of digital comics with "North Wind" and "Hexed." BOOM! teamed up with iVerse to bring "Hexed #1" to the Android mobile platform and, soon, to the iPhone.

                            LongBox CEO Rantz Hoseley then introduced himself and his product. "LongBox is a comprehensive hardware independent platform for secure distribution, sales, and reading of comics both standard and with enhanced content. We're launching September or October on Mac and PC with deployment planned for Xbox Live, handhelds and eReaders which will be next year."

                            Catastrophic Comics VP Chris Folino introduced himself. "Our company did the first motion comic on the iPhone. We also did the first motion comic with the lips moving and the mouth syncing on iTunes as well. Its called Sparks and its available now."

                            Finally, Comixology CEO David Steinberger told the audience more about his product. "We released the Comics application on the iPhone just yesterday. We have 20 publishers involved, 33 comics, and it’s a 99-cent app. There is a Robert Kirkman exclusive, 'Walking Dead', on the app as well."

                            Mosher’s first question for the panel was, “Will digital comics cannibalize the direct market audience?'”

                            iVerse’s Michael Murphy explained, "I don't think digital comics will cannibalize the direct market. We've seen that after reading a few issues digitally, people go and buy the trades. We've seen that with all three publishers that we have. I don't think we're going to see digital comics take away from print material."

                            Hoseley agreed, adding, “I think it goes farther than that. [For example], I'm not going to convince my wife, no matter what I do, to go into a comic shop. But if I give her Bryan O'Malley's 'Lost at Sea,' she loves that. If you are reaching [people in this way] then you can tap into their phones and computers and build more of a mass market entertainment base. If your business model relies on you capturing a large portion of the direct market, then you're putting a revolver to your head with five bullets in the chamber."

                            Catastrophic’s Folino said, "I think a year from now, [digital comics will] evolve into these little mini movies and they're going to attract a whole new audience. It’s all going to rest on good stories. Your digital comic book will fail if it doesn't have a good, compelling story."

                            David Steinberger then spoke about Comixology's relationship with retailers. "A big part of our business is being friendly with retailers. In our application, we connect directly to retailers so that you can look up a local retailer using the GPS services on the iPhone. There is no reason that a digital comic book can't be released with a real life coupon inside. The truth is, you will sell more if you make the distribution and accessability easy for people."

                            Hoseley also wanted to emphasize accessability as a means to push products. "Do I think digital comics are going to grow the direct market? Absolutely. Do I think it’s going to grow our mass market sales through Barnes and Noble and Borders? Absolutely. Do I think it’s going to grow sales online? Absolutely. I'm pretty bullish on all fronts."

                            To illustrate his point, Hoseley asked the audience an audacious question, "How many people download music illegally?" After a few nervous laughs, about a fifth of the room raised their hand. "Everyone who didn't raise their hand, yeah right." That drew a few more laughs and the crowd became looser. "How many people [download music] using iTunes?" About a third of the room raised their hands. "Exactly, [this happens] because [iTunes] is easier than downloading bootleg stuff. When iTunes and other services made it easier to download for money than it was to bootleg it for free, people bought it. I've spend the last two years tracking Torrent sites and numbers. Anyone who says to me with a straight face that people don't want to read digital comics, I have a giant ream of numbers to show [them]. It is astounding and shocking. The [most popular] comics for the last twelve months consistently ranked above 500,000 downloads. The top three exceeded three to five million [downloads] per issue. If I can capture just 1% of that [market], that changes the game."

                            While digital comics are growing, Rantz Hoseley warned that we are still in a very tumultuous stage of development. "This is very much a new, undefined market. This industry basically had to crash and burn before [digital comics were accepted]."

                            Now that digital comics are finally here, we'll soon see which platform will capture the market.


                            • #59
                              Just FYI, they're starting to come into the world. At least the website is up. (or at least the start of one)

                              For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

                              Everybody who lives dies, but not everybody who dies has lived - No Fear


                              • #60
                                LONGBOX Aims To Be the Digital Future of Comics, Part 1