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Old 06-23-2009, 12:03 AM   #1
W.West
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Default Digital Comics and the Longbox

CBR has a great article on the birth of the Longbox. Its a digital comics platform similar to iTunes, is expected to launch later this year as a free download for Mac, PC, and Linux. Developed by Quicksilver Software, Longbox comics can be download for a suggested price point of $.99 per issue, with the potential for block and subscription pricing. I suggest you read that article because it will certainly make you believe that this is the way to go.

If you are not a fan of reading comics online, reading the previews online bothers you...then you probably won't be too excited. While we all love to hold our comics, we should realize that there was a time that holding a CD was just as special. While CDs are still being released, the digital platforms for audio/video media with iTunes is something comic book publishers can not and should not ignore. It makes more sense for them to pay the "extra" cost to digitalize(pretend its a word) the pages, than to continually pay extra on increasing prices for paper, and the increasing prices for distribution(thanks Diamond). The idea is to have a secure, controlled distribution system that allows mass amount of content to come through in ways that modern consumers expect in terms of digital content.




iFanboy
have an article on the pros and cons of the Longbox. Guess what? The pros heavily outweigh the cons.

"The reason why Apple iTunes was successful (aside from the iPod integration) was that it was able to get the music that we wanted in their music store"

That's definitely a big part of this. If DC and Marvel jump on board, they may aren't seeing any drop in titles being bought. They'll see an increase if anything. Most people will not suddenly stop going to their LCS to pick up their books. They like the people there, they like to read an actual book. However, if people do decide to buy these 99 cent issues, then they'll have more incentive to buy MORE books because its cheaper. I want to add so many books to my pull list but I can't because that's three dollars I don't have. But if its 99cent per issue, then I'll have 3 issues for the price of one! Its a win-win for both publisher,creator and fans.

Not to mention that Longbox will use more than one output file, which means I can read scripts on this thing instead of Adobe and its everyday upgrades.



Quote:
Other potential features and exclusive Longbox content may include DVD-style commentary by writers, artists, or editors; a page-by-page look at the creators' process from script to final art; and integrating backmatter, such as that found in Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's “Fell” or Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's “Phonogram” into the narrative pages. “It really comes down to the publisher and the creator,” Hoseley stated. “You're taking material you would find in an Absolute Edition integrated in with the comics in a way that you can either turn off and simply read the comic or you can dynamically see as you're going through the book the making-of stages, you can hear audio files of the writers or artists or editors about the process the book went through. We've got some incredibly creative and incredibly talented and driven creators out in the industry right now who really pride themselves on pushing the boundary of what is a comic.
How many people would love to hear Alan Moore's commentary on whatever crazy story he has planned? Or hear what Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis were trying to show during certain pages and panels of Blackest Night? Exactly. Hoseley hopes to release versions of the software for Kindle, iPhone, WiiWare, and X-Box Live.

They are even taking forum communities into account. Longbox users will be greeted with news feed from Comic Book Resources and be able to access the Community forums from the software, and there may be further connectivity down the road

The full version is expected to launch in September or October 2009. This is the future people. You don't have to like digital comics but this is too good to pass up.

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Old 06-23-2009, 12:52 AM   #2
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While the pros out way the cons there is a couple of major problems with this, one the collectablity of comics, it will be all but gone with the digital format, and the existing "paper" comics value/cost will go up drastically and very few will be able to afford them (try to collect those back issues than). Also they need a format (a device that is) to view them, ipods etc won't cut it. Plus this may kill comic shops as well. Don't get me wrong they may have there place but they should not replace "paper" comic books. My two cents.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:00 AM   #3
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They aren't going to replace paper comics. They are going to coexist. There will be no need to increase the prices on paper comics just because of digital comics. If prices go up, its because of the cost of paper and/or distribution.

As for the device, they are planning on it to be viewable on iphones(which will soon be all phones once everyone else catches up), Amazon kindle, and are even trying to work with DSi and PSP....aside from PC,Mac,Linux.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.West View Post
They aren't going to replace paper comics. They are going to coexist. There will be no need to increase the prices on paper comics just because of digital comics. If prices go up, its because of the cost of paper and/or distribution.

As for the device, they are planning on it to be viewable on iphones(which will soon be all phones once everyone else catches up), Amazon kindle, and are even trying to work with DSi and PSP....aside from PC,Mac,Linux.
The less paper comics sold the more costly they are to produce, also have you tried to read a comic on a iphone, the screen is almost a 1/4 the size of a actual comic and the Kindle is not color (yet).
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:19 AM   #5
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All the more reason for you to continue going to the LCS. Its goal is not to eliminate paper comics. Its goal is to provide digital versions of those comics for those you don't mind reading them on their computer and EVENTUALLY mobile.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:23 AM   #6
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Ok.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:33 AM   #7
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I wouldn't want to try reading a comic on an iphone anyway. I like to check out the detail of the artwork and that cannot be done when the page itself is a couple inches wide.

Plus I do not really view this as the same thing as an mp3. With a song, it's just a song there really is no hard copy to be own. But with a comic I would much rather have a hard copy on hand.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:37 AM   #8
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The hard copy of an mp3 is a CD.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:42 AM   #9
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Point?...oooohhhh so shiny. It's not the same but its not like you can actual "see" the music on the cd.
The shiny part was sarcastic.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:52 AM   #10
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Point is scanning the pages of a comic and reading them on a monitor is not a gigantic leap of technology.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:56 AM   #11
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Okay what's YOUR point? I think you people have it in your head that this is here to revolutionize the way you read comics. Its just another way to read them, a sufficient way that won't hinder your experience. If you're in love with the shiny gloss of the paper, the Longbox is not trying to replace that. Its trying to get you to read other products for a cheaper price just by a different method.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:33 AM   #12
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I guess reading comics on a screen just doesn't impress the crap out of me like it does you. I have been doing it for free for years.

And it makes eyes hurt a lot faster.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:55 AM   #13
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First, its not reading them that's the focus here. Its the Longbox that will allow you to store,read, and buy them. This is for people like you as well. Those people who've been illegally reading comics, you can take those and read them on there, you can also stop doing what you're doing because the only reason you were downloading them in the first place was because you didn't deem it worthy of the price. However that price has dropped substantially, and hopefully now you'll take advantage of that. (excuse that giant run-on sentence.)
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:33 AM   #14
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Not for me folks. I try to read free comics online (illegal i know) and really sucks. That why i still buying from USA even when i pay extra for international shipping.
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:44 AM   #15
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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I really do think this will be the next focus for technology for the next couple years, with the market flooded in music and video.

A friend lend me her Kindle on a flight from here to Chicago. I'm still not a huge fan of digital media when your going to be reading a novel. The players have to be a lot cheaper (and will as the demand grows)

I wish they'd look at pricing options. At this point I would only pick-up digital copies of monthlies I partially interested in. All the Superman books come to mind as I've been digging World of New Krypton but don't want to pay for all the books beyond that. A monthly fee based on a certain number of books that you could download per month.

The digital books need to be out soon after the printed version. The cost for digital also needs to be worth the I need it now line of thinking and not, "For that price, I'll just wait for the trade."
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:12 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.West View Post
They aren't going to replace paper comics. They are going to coexist. There will be no need to increase the prices on paper comics just because of digital comics. If prices go up, its because of the cost of paper and/or distribution.

As for the device, they are planning on it to be viewable on iphones(which will soon be all phones once everyone else catches up), Amazon kindle, and are even trying to work with DSi and PSP....aside from PC,Mac,Linux.
I won't be getting this, .99 be damned I want the book in my hand. and I'm sorry trying to read a comic on the tiny ass screen of a PSP or a Iphone is stupid. Reducing the image to fit won't allow it to be read on the screens and having to scroll though a page to see it and read everything it also Stupid.

And I am afraid that if this does hit big, publishers will go 100% digital if not soon then in the long run. I prefer the paper books in my hand and my shelf filled with my trades. Digital comics are IMHO crap.




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Old 06-23-2009, 07:06 AM   #17
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As much as everything goes digital now, Comics are the one thing that I dont want to go digital. while CD stores have closed down, you can still buy CDs in a Wal-Mart or a Target. if Comics go digital then LCS will go out of business, and for those that want to continue to hold comics in our hands will be difficult. I say no to digital Comics.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:25 AM   #18
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I refuse to support digital comics... I just think it takes away from them more than it gives.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:47 PM   #19
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I just don't see how you guys can be so anti-digital. If you don't like it fine, but to say that its ultimately going to ruin LCS is insane. Take a look at this thread! Its a full of people who will always go to the store to hold their comics. There is nothing wrong with supporting both. It doesn't have to be one extreme over the other.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.West View Post
I just don't see how you guys can be so anti-digital. If you don't like it fine, but to say that its ultimately going to ruin LCS is insane. Take a look at this thread! Its a full of people who will always go to the store to hold their comics. There is nothing wrong with supporting both. It doesn't have to be one extreme over the other.
I dunno. Some of the points raised have to do with the undesirability of viewing comics in a digital format, which I have to agree with. Few people have monitors large enough to view comics full-size even on their desktop computers, and having to scroll to view is a rather pathetic option (especially if you are talking a splash, or double splash, page). If you start with PORTABLE devices, it is even worse, to the point where I wonder why bother? I mean seriously, reading a comic on a phone?! It wouldn't even be WORTH the 99 cents, IMHO.

As far as what it would do to the sales of regular comics, I can't say. Yes, this thread is full of people that would still go to the LCS for their books, but I think that is because this thread is, largely, full of people who WOULDN'T buy the digital versions. I can tell you this, IF I were ever to start buying comics digitally (which would have to mean that I had an economical, and portable, way of VIEWING them at a respectable percentage of full size) I for one would NOT be buying the hard-copy. What would be the point? I'm not going to buy the digital at all unless it can provide a decent reading experience, and if it CAN, why would I then go out and pay three times (or more) as much for the same thing on paper? To say that offering digital versions won't hurt sales of paper comics is, IMHO, naive. I think that would ONLY be true for as long as it took for the digital versions to become accepted, and successful. Once they were, printed comics would take a HUGE hit. Not everybody would drop them. Those that are willing to pay extra today in order to own multiple cover variants are unlikely to balk at paying to own both digital and hardcopy versions. But among those who just want to be able to read (and re-read) the books, buying a hardcopy at three times the price will be a ridiculous notion once the digital reading experience becomes comparable.

The comic PUBLISHERS might make out well enough (or even BETTER) with a digital model, and on that score it might be worth it to allow the industry to survive, but the brick-and-mortar comic shops? I can't see how it could be anything but a disaster for them, if digital comics ever improve to the extent that they gain wide acceptance.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:35 PM   #21
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I...
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #22
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Did you look at the screens? It won't be much(if any) scrolling. Click to zoom, and probably double click on specific panels to zoom even further on a specific one.

Why do you guys always resort back to portable devices? That's only a part of this thing. You guys act like you aren't going to be using your computers to read these things. Sure you want to take a few comics with you when you leave the house, but until they get to that point why not at least have access to them on a computer? I take my laptop damn near everywhere I go, and I'm always playing music. If Longbox was available can you imagine how many more comics we would be able to read monthly?

Ed, I think you're still in that extreme stance. Yes Longbox is very affordable but many people aren't going to drop paper all together because there's another alternative. You think Best Buy would still sell albums if people weren't still buying them? Local Comic Shops will still be in business because people will still want their favorite books in their hands. COLLECTORS will definitely be out in full force making sure that they get those hardcopies. If the Longbox provides sufficient amount of quality comics(the Big 2) and a good reading experience then how can it fail? Can you honestly tell me that you've been frustrated with reading a preview online? Can you honestly tell me that you've thought that a preview suffered just because you read it online? If you can, you're lying to me and yourself. It definitely is a better read in your hand but its not a bad read online because its online. If its a bad read its because the writer sucks.

Some people may drop printed comics for digital all together(though I don't see DC or Marvel actually providing every title digitally like they should), but that would be the minority. If you have always liked printed comics, and find that price affordable why would you get something cheaper just because its cheaper? The price point for digital comics through the Longbox is only incentive to try new books not stop going to the shops every week.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:47 PM   #23
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You think they'll work with Netbooks?
Cause when I get a new Lappy it'll be more of a Netty.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:55 PM   #24
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I don't know, I guess those among us that do not spend 23 5/8 hours of our day in front of a computer screen would not like the idea too much. Those that do would not see much of a difference because they never actually get up and move away from their monitors anyway.

But I can see why anyone would generally not want to support the idea in the first place because it has the potential to totally take over the industry. It is just that much cheaper for the comic companies. No paper costs, ink costs, shipping costs, and wasted funds for comics that never sold. Plus the fact that there would be no late shipped comics. All of this together would mean any comic company would jump behind it because it would save them gigantic amounts of money in the long run. But the fans would have less. If any of us want a hard copy then we would have to waste our own paper and ink printing it out. So the potential is there for comic companies to save immensely by switching completely over to this format.

And I am not going to buy the "But LCS's will still be there" because they won't after a couple years of this. Has anyone seen a music store anywhere anymore? No because they no longer exist. There is only the section in Wal Mart and Best Buy. I like the social atmosphere of actually leaving the house and talking to other people in a place like a LCS without having to log on anything from home. I like having something in my hands first and looking at it before I decide to buy it. All of this would be obsolete within two to three years if this takes off. So I see the cons way way out weighing the pro's.

Plus I really hate having to scroll up and down, left and right all over a splash page just to see all the word bubbles. Which are too pathetically tiny to read if I fullscreen the image.
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:10 PM   #25
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I wouldn't worry to much about the digital format Lime. Salt Lake still has CD shops and if we still have em I'm guess they still exist in other parts of the country.

I have to tell a funny story about one of our main CD shops. I heard the song Reach by Martini Ranch playing on the radio. Thought I'd go all Agent Orange and and add the song to my Ipod. The song's not on iTunes, so I decide I'm going to help out the local economy and go see if I can pick it up from one of the CD shops.

The first store doesn't have it and to order it I have to not only pay for the whole thing in advance but $5.00 for shipping?!

Go to the next shop they don't have it either. The clerk tells me your better off just ordering it from Amazon... And they wonder why there going out of business.
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