Thursday, October 13, 2011

Digital Horizons: Catching Fire

There's been a lot happening in the world of digital comics while I've been neglecting this blog, but certainly one of the biggest things is the announcement of Amazon's Kindle Fire. At $199, this new tablet gives the iPad a run for its money, appealing to consumers who are turned off by the iPad's steeper price tag. Of course with its Android OS, it was clear right away that the Kindle Fire could be used to read comics via apps like Comixology for Android, but then DC came out and announced an exclusive deal with Amazon to distribute its graphic novels digitally via Kindle Fire. This pissed off Barnes & Noble, who responded by yanking the DC graphic novels in question off their shelves, and then Books-A-Million did the same (am I the only one who's never heard of Books-A-Million before this? Did the company form just for the purpose of announcing that they would be pulling DC graphic novels from their shelves?).

My thoughts on all this? (Because that's what you're paying for.)

  • Of course B&N and Random-Bookstore-I-Never-Heard-Of are free to do what they want, but I think it's kind of silly. I don't know what percentage of DC's graphic novel sales come from people happening upon Watchmen while casually browsing Barnes & Noble shelves, as opposed to people who know what they want and will buy it wherever it's available, but I suspect it's not a very high percentage. Which makes me think they're hurting themselves more than DC. 
  • I'm glad to see graphic novels and collections being made available digitally, and through a medium other than Comixology. Variety is the spice of life and the impetus for better business. 
  • I'm really really tempted to buy myself a Kindle Fire, specifically for the purpose of reading comics. Yes, it's smaller than the iPad, which I've already decided is not quite big enough for reading comics, but c'mon, it's only two hundred bucks. Also, I like my Kindle so I trust Amazon to make a good tablet, and I buy so much digital content from Amazon that it makes sense for me to have an Amazon tablet where I can easily access all that content. If I had not just incurred huge expenses above and beyond my income due to major life changes, I would totally buy it, just to buy it. Even so, I still might. But maybe I'll wait a couple of months until I get my Christmas bonus so I can pay off my credit card balance first (populating a new home with furniture is expensive--even Ikea furniture!). (FYI, Dear Reader, my birthday is next month, which happens to be the same month the Kindle Fire is being released. Just saying.)

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