Rich Barrett has started a very interesting discussion about the latest changes over at Graphicly. I’ve said nice things about Graphicly before, they were always a pleasure to work with and a great resource for independent comic creators. After yesterday’s discussion though, that has only been reenforced. Micah Baldwin, the CEO, made an appearance to answer some of our questions and agree or disagree with the new approach, you have to respect that kind of openness.
As for me, the bulk of my worries were addressed, mostly that the fee of $150 is really only applied to distribution over the various storefronts like Nook and iBooks. The web and Facebook reader distribution is still free. Which means creators can still use Graphicly as part of their greater overall distribution system, but they do not need to spend $150 per release.
This is definitely a relief. You can release individual issues for free and when the time is right to collect them and sell those editions via the different readers. Collecting them allows you to set a higher price point and reduces the number of sales necessary before you break even.
All in all though, I still am very concerned with the direction digital comics have taken. I do not like the idea that people are flocking to ComiXology and throwing lots and lots of money at books they don’t actually own. Books that can’t be downloaded and opened on another reading device.
No one knows what the future will bring. While unlikely, it is possible ComiXology could change its approach. Or it could be bought by another company. Things can change and now you’ve either lost that content, or your rights have been transferred to another corporation who may not have your best interests in mind. We as consumers are readily giving away our rights.
That said. I certainly like the app. The reader and store front is nicely designed. In fact I buy most of my comics from them. You sort of have to as they have struck deals with nearly every major publisher. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t gladly have any of my books added to their catalog. But I still think the reader needs the ability to import/export files and to read formats aside from their own proprietary one. Something more akin to iTunes with its ability to play MP3s as well as AAC files.
I mentioned in the thread that I was hoping Graphicly would have made their comic format open source. I was very happy to see that Micah mentioned this might be a possibility and was being discussed. I really hope this becomes a reality. By allowing anyone to develop an iOS reader would only mean more innovation as ideas are iterated upon. Refined. Similar to what we saw with Twitter.
Anyway, I encourage you to stop by the thread. You could learn a lot. I know I did.