The New York Times very conveniently points out that the biggest selling American graphic novel of 2007 is available for free on the web and has been for some time:
Despite laments about youngsters spending too much time surfing the Web and not enough time reading, it turns out that many of them still want the format of old-fashioned paper stuck between two covers. Since an edited form of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” was published as a traditional book in April by Amulet, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, it has sold 147,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks 50 percent to 70 percent of retail sales. The book, written and drawn by Jeff Kinney, has spent 33 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. This Sunday, it will be No. 1 on the Children’s Chapter Books list.
That a book derived from free online content has sold so well may allay some fears that giving something away means nobody will want to pay for it. It also encourages publishers who increasingly scour the Internet for talent, hoping to capitalize on the audiences that a popular Web site can deliver.
Much more on free on the web vs print for pay, including shooting war and other websites.
PS: Do you remember when a story about comics in the Times or Time was a big deal? Now it’s a weekly thing! Yay team comics!