Thought for the day: digital publishing

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The best way to compete with Marvel and DC is by being innovative.

The “Big Two” are dominant in the print world, but they’re also burdened by the weight of their respective (and convoluted) histories. They are both large, public companies with multiple layers of corporate management, plus sister companies with overlapping and/or competing interests. Because of their success and dominant positions, change is an understandably slow and costly process.

They have made commitments to certain business models, and hired teams of employees to manage their digital transition who are going to be reluctant to suddenly make obsolete the strategies they were hired to execute. They are going to be understandably slow to spend capital on new innovations unless they see an immediate return on investment. In other words, they are more likely to want to wait and watch the rest of the industry innovate.

— Jim Fallone, Dir. of Publishing Coordination, Andrews McMeel:

via Harold Sipe

Comments

  1. I am so, so sad that DC isn’t doing a digital archive. I really enjoy Marvel’s DCU… however! it has a million shortcomings.

    It doesn’t let you make any sort of comment or have any sort of conversation with other users.

    There’s no social aspect. I can’t “friend” other users. I can’t even know who’s there.

    And the stupidest, stupidest thing about DCU… it doesn’t keep track of what you’ve read: at all! It’s impossible to tell what you’ve read before. So dumb. It can be so hard to remember what comic you are on.

    The “My Must Read” list doesn’t really work at all, either. I’m never actually able to talk anything out of it.

    Still… saves a lot of money, so that’s dope. the interface is lovely… but people want to talk about comics… Marvel, let us talk.

    Haven’t you heard of Facebook?

  2. Anyone who waits on the island while the raft is sailing away so they can make sure the raft is going to float is always going to be stuck on that beach waving goodbye.

  3. Kevin Hynes says:

    And the big two will continue to move at a snail’s pace to digital distribution, although Marvel’s snail seems to be drinking a little Red Bull here and there.

    They’ll get there. It’ll just take smaller companies taking the actual risks.

  4. Tom Spurgeon says:

    You know things are bad when you’re getting lectured by well-known Captains Of The Future the North American comic strip industry.

  5. there’s something to be said for the sensual (easy, now – i meant the smell) and tactile experience of comics.

    that said, the digital age is an onslaught that cannot be ignored. in fact, it must be embraced.

    who knows, we could end up laughing, wondering why we ever flipped physical pages!

  6. Day by day the future gets closer and closer…

  7. Digital is so much more about access than it is about product. Digital formats will allow comics to reach the mass audience that it has lost since the inception of the Direct Market. It will also reimpose the notion that comics are a disposable medium which, like it or not, triggers the same nerves that make people crave comfort food. New readers will discover the endless variety and quality of content and that will drive sales of product. Digital>Print>Merchandizing>Licensing is the new formula for success in comics.

  8. I’ve been thinking this for a long time. The true innovation is going to be found in the independent market because “digital” gives the small guys a great opportunity to compete with the big guys.

  9. On the upside, this reticence among the ‘Big Two’ provides a ready-made opportunity for indies to make an impact first, before the field eventually becomes too cluttered with all-too-familiar corporate trademarks.

  10. Saber Tooth Tiger Mike says:

    Corporations are just waiting for the right outlet to get the business model right so they can buy it out and bring the expertise in-house. So far, no one HAS a satisfying business model for online comics yet and given how poorly paying working in comics is outside the Big Two, I don’t think that will change any time soon. Innovation is and will continue to proceed s l o w l y.

  11. Quasar says:

    One would think they would have learnt the lessons of Napster. With a wave of tablets about to hit the shore reading their comics for free is about to get a lot more mainstream.

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