By Todd Allen
While crowdfunding is definitely more of the headline grabber, iVerse has a couple other announcements that warrant examination with an eye towards the future of digital comics. The topic of DRM was a very important one to the development of the digital music industry. It’s also a topic that comics have been lagging far behind on.
Two common complaints about digital comics are all the different, proprietary formats and the Digital Rights Management requirements that can make it harder to move files between devices and, in some cases, make your purchase of a digital comic seem more like a rental of the content than an actual purchase.
Music struggled with this for a few years and had sales pick up after finally doing away with DRM. I’m not going engage in an argument about lack of DRM vs. piracy (past ridiculing how effective DRM is against piracy). I’m just saying, sales tend to go up when you get rid of it.
In the second of three announcements today, iVerse announced they’re going to be having a DRM-free option. It’s also DRM-free in a PDF format, which means it’s a very portable file and not in a proprietary format. (OK, technically PDF is, but the PDF readers are free and it’s practically unthinkable that should ever change.) This does NOT mean publishers will utilize it. On the other hand, if you like the idea of DRM-free digital comics, you now have something to point at when talking to a publisher.
Here’s the official PR on that, and then we’ll get to the tools:
iVERSE ADDS DRM-FREE DOWNLOAD OPTION TO SELECT “COMICSPLUS” TITLESPlatform Enhancement Addresses Growing Demand Among Creators and Consumers(July 12, 2012 – San Diego, CA) Today, at the 2012 San Diego Comic-ConInternational, iVerse Media announced that the company will give creators andpublishers the option of selling DRM-Free content in their “ComicsPlus” digital comicsapplication.“DRM remains a controversial issue, but it’s one that we think is very important,” saidiVerse CEO Michael Murphey. “While there are many reasons why publishers may wantDRM on their comics, there is also a growing number of creators and publishers thatwant to release their work without DRM restrictions. We believe it’s essential to givethem, and the consumer, the option.”iVerse’s DRM-Free initiative will begin rolling out on select titles in the third quarter of2012. Publishers will have the option of releasing their work with a DRM-Free PDFdownload link, which will be available only after the title has been purchased on theComicsPlus web app located at http://www.comicsplusapp.com . PDF selections willbe “stamped” with the account username of the content’s owner, but will contain norestrictive DRM.“By no means do we expect every title to be available DRM-Free,” said iVerse Director of Business Development Steve May, “but for creators and publishers that want to get their work out there this way, we’re excited to offer this type of solution.”
The final announcement of the day is the establishment of creator tools, so the individual creator can set up a digital comic. Let’s face it, this is what made the Kindle platform and has spread throughout eBooks. Oh, sure, you’ll have some service bureaus to help out the less technically inclined, but recent history has shown this leads to a proliferation of content.
IVERSE MEDIA ANNOUNCES NEW PUBLISHING TOOLS FOR COMICS CREATORS
Enhanced “ComicsPlus” Platform Makes It Easier for Independents to Publish Digital Works
(July 12, 2012 – San Diego, CA) iVerse Media announced today at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International that the company would begin offering new publishing tools to allow content creators of all experience levels to more easily publish their digital comics. Additionally, the company has updated their software to provide new reading experience options for both creators and consumers.
“At iVerse, we’ve always strived to support the ‘indie’ community,” said iVerse Director of Business Development Steve May. “The publishing tools that we’re previewing at Comic-Con make it possible for creators and publishers of any size to get their work onto our platform in just a few minutes.”
The new Publishing Tools are web-based and can convert PDFs, ZIP files or other supported image formats so that books can be created on the fly.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.