Gareth Hinds is a very accomplished artist (and former Xeric winner) whose comics adaptations of classic literature have found a home at Candlewick Press. His full color Odyssey adaptation just came out, and there’s a nice story about it in today’s PW.

While we were looking around for some art to illustrate the story, we came on Hinds’ own page for the book and were struck by the “embeddable comics preview” on the page, which he said was developed by Candlewick:

Candlewick has released a short preview, using some new “widget” technology which enables it to be easily embedded in any blog or webpage. There are still a few rough spots in the implementation, but it’s pretty handy. See below — and feel free to repost it elsewhere!

The embed is available in different sizes, but as you can see, one is too small and the other is the wrong size for a comics page. The code suggests this was developed by Random House, and while we haven’t seen it used elsewhere, it seems pretty handy — embedding allows quickly sharing media for viral penetration — if only they could get it to a size where you could actually read the comic.

Issuu also allows embeddable comics and magazine, as with this issue of Comics Comics (woot!)

but we’ve always found it really hard to navigate and linking is impossible.

Embedding tech makes sharing very easy, but on the other hand, we STILL never found what we were looking for — a page of Odyssey interior art we could easily cut ‘n paste to showcase the book’s art.

What do y’all think? Is embedding previews necessary or desirable?


  1. Agreed. Some of these traffic building themes are a colossal waste of time though. The fact that the comic is too small to read is big issue they need to fix. other wise what’s the point of gettint this thing?

  2. I’ve been happy with Scribd for previewing my books. The Scribd embed widget has a fullscreen mode and zoom in and out options which the Random House widget doesn’t seem to have (the Issuu widget has a fullscreen button in the middle if you scroll over it and zoom when in fullscreen mode). The Random House widgets options of only 195×335 (small) and 600×700 (large) pixel embeds is strange, not being proportional to each other or user changeable.

  3. That Candlewick widget is almost surely the same Browse & Search widget that Random House uses to offer embed previews of almost all of its prose books, obtainable from individual books’ individual pages on the website. (Candlewick is, I believe, distributed to the book trade by Random House.)

    It’s been used and is available for various Random House-published graphic novels, but any ways in which the widget is less than perfect for graphic novels may to some degree be attributed to its genesis for straight prose works.

  4. That’s pretty neat.

    I think the trick might be to offer clickable previews that stay at current banner sizes that allow for sampling but which don’t send you to another site. That option could be done with a clearly defined button. That might be hard for a book like this. It might require generating artwork (or manipulating current art) to fit the format, but it would be pretty unique and exciting.

  5. If the small preview box for Odyssey was just a little larger, then I think it would be ideal for a quick look. For me, it doesn’t need to be full size. More important that the aspect ratio is correct, and that I get a feel for the graphics. I like that you can copy and paste the preview to a website.

    Page two of the Odyssey preview is blank, which startled me and made me wonder if it was operating properly; to avoid this, leave blank pages out of the preview.

  6. Yeah, it’s nice. But what I’d like to see? More “look inside the book” graphic novels on Amazon and

    An example:

    That’s the bestselling “Outlander” graphic novel from Random House. Zinio processes the images, and has a nice navigation ruler on the bottom of the screen, the window is scalable, and you can zoom in with one click.

    Zinio (dot) com also has a nice viewer/reader. Tokyopop is working with them.

    Hmmm… I surprised one (or more) of the digital distributors doesn’t offer a widget for embedding, which would also have a “buy now” link leading back to the distributor’s store. (Just like Random House and The embedded viewer would have similar features to the digital app, allowing people to try it out as well. That’s a Giant-Sized FAIL of marketing.