For those of you who missed it, we got a chance to interview uclick’s Douglas Edwards and Jeff Webber about their program to sell comics on iPhones for $0.99 an issue.
uclick has long been making comics content available for various mobile platforms, and Edwards is no stranger to interactive media, having arrived at uclick in May from Handmark, where he launched games and information apps, including the very successful Pocket Express. Although he didn’t deal with comics at Handmark, the business is a natural for uclick, given their large library of comics and connections to Universal Press Syndicate and Andrews McMeel Universal, he says.
Although he won’t give exact figures, Edwards notes that they are moving “thousands of units every couple of weeks on the best units.” Given that the project is only a few weeks old, momentum is still building. However, he observes “I’ve been at the launch of many products, and this is extremely promising. I wish that everything had started this well.” Bone has been the biggest success, but Papercuts’ Nancy Drew has also started out well, indicating that there may be a larger audience than thought for material aimed at a younger market.
A couple of thoughts that we couldn’t squeeze into the article: many people keep wishing that comics cost only 99 cents. Well, digitally, they do.
Also, as our questions indicated, it’s our suspicion that not all comics will be created equally for the iPhone, by whatever means they get there. And someone is going to invent the perfect comic for the perfect format and make a zillion bucks. Bet on it.
Related news items:
- Comixology has a well-reviewed new app for iPhone. We’ve been fiddling with it ourselves for a bit, and it’s prety useful, with columns pull lists and previews.
- uclick isn’t the only company putting up comics content on the iStore: iVerse is also in the mix, and just announced a deal with IDW to put up Star Trek comics.
I cannot see how comics can thrive on an medium such as this. A one gag panel seems more like a successful idea. The industry should publish comics on the cheapest newsprint paper and charge less. Most comics end up being collected in book form anyway. I think the computer is the best choice to view comics. The color and size are better. The iTunes generation gravitates to .99 cent deals. There is nothing like holding the real deal. Comics were meant to be held. There is another route where they can publish a magazine size comic that collects chapters of serial stories and then you can publish it as single books later on as Europeans do. It’s a great way to experiment with new ideas. Something like Heavy Metal or Marvel’s old imprint Epic.
“There is nothing like holding the real deal. Comics were meant to be held. ”
They were? I read .cbzs and if I wasn’t forced to buy the paper copies to keep it legal, I’d go all digital tomorrow.
I’m sure if you just tell the “itunes generation” that they should change their entire relationship with digital media and embrace the format you prefer, they’ll do it immediately. They’re clearly unaware that the opportunity to “hold paper in their hand” exists. Maybe you should write them a “letter” using said “paper.” You could have it delivered by a pony. Kids, I believe, still like horsies.
Anything that gets comics closer to a viable digital distribution plan is a good thing. Over the past few years I’ve also become a big fan of .cbzs and having that archival option has allowed me to sell off the bulk of my collection. Which has been great for the cash but even better for the SPACE I save. One external hard drive has replaced a small attics’ worth of long boxes. and If I want to re-read the issues… all I have to do is click a file. No more rooting through boxes in the attic… or worrying how I’m going to move twenty longboxes of heavy comics if I relocate. One 7’x4’x2′ 5lbs hard drive… and I’m covered.
But so far, the biggest roadblock I see with portable digital distribution is still screen size. Text can easily be adjusted to fit whatever scree size you’re comfortable with… but comic art still needs a decent size canvas to work with.
But someone somewhere is going to find a solution to this, and when they do I think the change is going to come. It’ll take some time, but if comics become cheap (.99 per issue) and easily available again (right on you’re phone!), I’d be shocked if a whole new consumer base wasn’t opened up. Forget getting comics back in 7-11s… Comics on Itunes is going to bring kids and new readers into the medium.
I would get an iPhone if I knew I could get comics for $.99. Or if I could read .cbz/.cbr/.pdf/etc files on an iPhone. I was hoping the Sony or Amazon Reader might have been the way to go but they don’t offer color yet. Regular comics are too expensive right now. With an iPhone I could read anywhere and my family could still call me to find out where I am.
I’m Pierre from France. It is still very new down here, but we DO have some comics on the Iphone ; and it’s quite convincing honestly, it’s quite impressive. Of course, the result depends on the shape of the panels, Kirby-like panels would fit much better on an Iphone screen than many modern stuff. But honestly it’s very impressive, and i was very reluctant until i saw it myself.
All this is available on the french Itunesstore so i’m really not sure you can try it, that sucks… Maybe if your Iphone is jailbroke, i dunno…
still, here are the links :
that’s the first comic book available on the Iphone, it costs 4€99, which is still kind of pricy, if you ask me (it’s a bit less than 50 pages).
And this is a free application promoting the next Angoulême comics festival, here you can read excerpts of the selection for free.
That’s what I tried, and it’s really cool, you can navigate panel by panel, big and wide as on a page ; you can also see the entire comic page and choose digitazlly which panel you wanna read. It’s huge, honestly. And there’s many many comics excerpts to try, so you can see which type would fit the best on an Iphone screen.
I sincerely hope you find a way to get this on your Iphone and put it to a test, it’s really really cool. Sorry i can’t tell you how…
Actually, I just found this video on Dailymotion showing how the Angoulême application works :
What do you think of it ?
Here are how mangas are read on iPod in Japan :-)
As the itunes generation says, “ur doing it rong.”
Transitioning print comics to digital will almost always degrade the quality of the original. Instead someone needs to develop apps that take advantage of the unique properties of the iphone/ pc / kindle? etc….
When we start making digital comics that can not be reproduced in print form then , I believe, we will see success on a large scale.
I’m buying Godland via iTunes. Fits perfectly!