Monday, April 19, 2010

Digital Comic Book Industry Is Growing -- FAST!

The Comic Book Industry is dreadfully behind the times on digital distribution.  Now look, we get the romantic feel of a printed comic book in our hands, we really do.  On the other hand, I read the first issue of Irredeemable by Mark Waid while in line at the grocery store.  And for once, I was happy to have gotten in the wrong line.  I then went on to buy all the rest of the issues digitally.  This is not a book I probably would have picked up or read, had it not been available on my iphone.

So while digital comic distribution is widely panned by the purists in the industry, it's worth noting that what may consider to be the future of comics has now become a million dollar a year business.

According to a presentation at the ICv2 White Paper panel at C2E2, digital comics -- namely digital comics for mobile devices -- brought in at least from $500,000 to $1 million in 2009. Most of those comics were sold on the iPhone or iPod Touch, with growing numbers on Sony's PSP, along with a few other devices. Given that most of distribution systems from the iPhone were in place on the more-than-500,000-sold iPad at launch, that number is expected to grow in 2010.

Another positive sign is the number of releases (both single issue, OGNs and the digital equivalent of TPBs) on digital devices more than quadrupled from 2008 to 2009, which is only expected to increase in 2010 with the iPad and other comics-capable tablets/readers entering the market.

While Marvel is clearly setting the standard on the iPad, DC Comics has up to know been almost stubborn in its desire to not embrace digital delivery.  That might all be changing though.  DC Comics has recently changed their management structure, and there is now hope that DC's attitude towards the iPad might change as well.  Newly elevated Publisher of DC Comics Jim Lee says that "our sense is that digital comics will grow and complement the businesses we have already built up through the current network of your local comic book shops and mass market bookstores."

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