Written by Shawn Bourdo
It's like the last few miles of the marathon. Up in the morning and you feel like you've hit the proverbial wall. Breakfast brings a bit of bacon-fueled energy but the lack of sleep and constant push of the crowds have worn this man down at bit. But like that first beer after a hangover, it only takes the first view of the Convention Center to get my blood going again and I'm all-in for my last day of the 2012 Con.
COMIXOLOGY OPEN DISCUSSION - This panel discussed everything to do with the current state of digital comics and a look into the future. Cofounders of Comixology, David Steinberger and John D. Roberts were on-hand for discussions. It's always interesting to hear how businesses were formed and evolved. This company was formed in 2006 by two people with business backgrounds and no real computer-based talents. One was looking for a new way to catalog his comics and the other was looking to figure out what books were coming out each week so he wouldn't miss one for his collection. By 2008 they had developed Pull List that was originally a website for consumers to denote what books they wanted each week and have it uploaded to their nearest participating retailer.
Then the iPhone changed the world. This provided an outlet that was portable and where people might want to read their comics. In 2009, they launched their online comics business with 100 comics. And 75 million downloads later they are the defacto kings of the online comic industry. Their app in #1 in spending every new comic day and in the Top Ten every other day of the week. By the end of this year they will finish in the Top Ten highest grossing apps.
It's interesting to hear the questions from the crowd. I expected more of a mixed reaction from retailers and readers. On the contrary, it was all positive testimonials. Older readers saying that it got them back into reading comics on a regular basis. The numbers don't show that it has decimated the print versions of the comics as they are up 20% for the year. The thing it is changing is the way comics are read. The guided reading on the smartphone apps would seem to be a negative but it was hailed by the crowd as a huge advantage that they liked. The iPad has moved the needle even quicker as it seems to be the perfect size for reading the comics as intended. The high resolution displays and the upcoming new Windows have kept Comixology improving their product. They've been called the iTunes of comics and it seems that most of the improvements to come will make them look more like an iTunes clone with "playlists", etc.