Sunday, May 5, 2013

Every Day Is Free Comic Book Day if You Know Where to Look

CO2 Comics made their own logo

CO2 Comics made their own logo

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day, the biggest day of the year for comics shops. But in case you missed it, digital has got your back.

All the major digital comics distributors have a special page set aside for free comics. ComiXology always has an assortment of free comics, mostly issue #1s, and they also have 14 of this year’s FCBD comics. Like comiXology, Dark Horse puts a link to their entire catalog of free comics right on the front page. You have to dig a bit deeper on the Comics Plus site to find their collection of free comics, but I’ll save you the trouble: Here’s a direct link. It’s worth taking a look at the individual publisher apps supported by comiXology and Comics Plus, as they may feature free comics that aren’t in the main app.

If you’re thinking about getting Marvel Unlimited, check out their free selection before you buy.

Drive Thru Comics claims they have over 800 free comics on their site. If you hate DRM, this is the place for you, as the comics are downloadable as watermarked PDFs.

For manga lovers, Viz Manga offers a lot of free previews, usually the first chapter of each volume 1. That’s about 60 pages, or about two issues of a Western comic. Just sayin’.

The folks at CO2 Comics are so serious about making sure you get your free comics that they bought the domain (which links to their site). Some are old, some are new; the comic I particularly enjoyed on this site is The World of Ginger Fox, Mike Baron and Mitch O’Connell’s over-the-top tale of a professional woman trying to save a Hollywood studio, first published in 1986.

Look for the “Read Comics for Free” tab on the ComicMix home page and you will see a menu of interesting choices, including Grimjack, Jon Sable Freelance, and The Original Johnson.

If you want to sample some classic Golden Age comics, go to The Digital Comic Museum to download older comics that are in the public domain. The selection covers a lot of genres—romance, sci-fi, war comics, Westerns, even superheroes—but the offerings tend to be on the lesser-known side of the comics spectrum. Comic Bin will let you read its Golden Age comics for free if you sign up for an account. also has a good-sized selection of comics, mostly older titles from Dell and the like.

And going all the way back to the roots of comics in North America, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum has some interesting digital albums and exhibits, including the comics of Lyonel Feininger and Nell Brinkley, and some of the original Yellow Kid cartoons.

To find free graphic novels in the Kindle and Nook stores, simply do a search on “graphic novel” and then sort by price, from lowest to highest. All the free graphic novels will pop up at the top of the list.

That should be enough to keep your e-reader filled for a while, but if you have another site that I have missed here (legal sites only, please!), feel free to share the love in the comments section.

Every Day Is Free Comic Book Day if You Know Where to Look is a post from: E-Reader News

How to Choose the Right Toys for Your Indie Bookstore

toys indie bookstores

Major bookstore chains such as Barnes and Noble, Chapters , Waterstone’s, and many others have gravitated towards selling toys to make up for slower book sales. Toys are not just for the big players in the industry, but many indie bookstores are finding that offering children’s toys is bringing new customers into the shop. Indie bookstores have great resources to find e-readers, ebooks, and the traditional book, but where do they look to find toys?

Indie bookstores are finding themselves needing to diversify out of selling just books and following the trends of the major bookstores. Booksellers who are interested in adding or expanding their toy offerings are recommended to check out the major toy awards lists for ideas. Many of the top booksellers often look at the ASTRA Best Toys for Kids, Mensa Select, and The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval.  If you want to actually get some solid hands-on time with the toys before you invest in them, indie booksellers are recommended to visit the the ASTRA and Toy Fair shows.

What are the the big toy trends for 2013 for indie bookstores? HABA Lilliputiens‘ new line of  of high-end soft toys with a wholesale cost from $6.50 to upwards of $30 were going to be big this year. The Learning Center is finding great success with the Magformers and Magna-Tiles product line. Also, Hogwild Poppers and Pocket Disc round off the best recommendations for small bookstores.

Toy selling is not just reserved for the big stores like Barnes and Noble, who only got into the game in 2010. They aren’t just for comic book stores, either, though they have been selling models, toys, and action figures for decades. Indie bookstores are strongly encouraged to start offering children’s toys to offset the demand for books and the strong competition in the ebook segment.  Honestly, for as many book shows that I visit, selling toys is never on any speaker’s list and you would be hard-pressed to find any professionals actually talking about it.  Most just tend to lament that digital books are cannibalizing the small bookstore, but in order to compete, you have to look at alternative revenue sources. It is important for stores to look at the success of the chains and European bookstores and adopt those strategies into your own book shop.

How to Choose the Right Toys for Your Indie Bookstore is a post from: E-Reader News

Good e-Reader Is Attending SID Display Week in Vancouver


SID Display Week is going to be kicking off in our own backyard May 19-24, 2013 in Vancouver. Good e-Reader will be live on the scene looking at some of the innovative new display technologies that may find themselves on e-readers and tablets in the near future.

A number of major companies will be in attendance, such as Apple, Dell, HP, and Motorola. International system integrators also have a strong showing, including LG, Samsung, and Sharp. Many senior technical staff will also be attending to talk shop and network.

Good e-Reader will be attending Display Week for a number and of days and we are making ourselves available for interview and meeting requests. If you would like to give us a private demo and talk about some of the new things you have cooking, please send me an email and we can talk!

Good e-Reader Is Attending SID Display Week in Vancouver is a post from: E-Reader News

Nook Press Upgrade Allows You to Edit Your Published Manuscripts


NOOK Press was unveiled a few weeks ago and is the direct followup to the PUBIT self-publishing program. When NOOK Press was released, the platform saw a backlash of authors lamenting that fact that they could not edit or make changes to their ebooks once they were published and available for sale. NOOK Press has apparently heard your pleas, because the program just upgraded the platform to allow authors to make adjustments or changes to their published books.

In a statement today, Barnes and Noble said, “We’ve recently made some updates to the platform to make self-publishing even easier. Now with NOOK Press, you can edit your Manuscripts that are already on sale as NOOK Books – without creating a new Project or removing it from sale.”

This is tremendous news for anyone who has to correct a few spelling mistakes or even add new content. NOOK Press is available for free and is a very solid platform, with a few features not found anywhere else. My favorite is the Integrated Collaboration, which allows authors to collaborate with editors, copy-editors, and friends, allowing them to review and comment on your manuscript without ever leaving NOOK Press.

To get started with NOOK Press today, simply create a NOOK Press account and follow the instructions to sync your PubIt! account. B&N has also created two new video tutorials that walk you through the account setup process and the new editorial content tools.

Nook Press Upgrade Allows You to Edit Your Published Manuscripts is a post from: E-Reader News

Nao Yazawa’s Slice-of-Life Manga is Free Today, $2.99 Tomorrow

Go Go Nao-p!

Either way it’s a good deal, but if you’re seeing this on Sunday, May 5, don’t waste any time: Nao Yazawa, the creator of Wedding Peach and Moon and Blood, is offering her 77-page manga Go Go Nao-p! for free on Kindle today; at midnight (Pacific Standard Time) the price goes up to $2.99, which is still pretty reasonable for a 77-page graphic novel.

Go Go Nao-P! is a 4-koma (four-panel) gag manga about Yazawa’s life as a manga artist and slave to three cats: Moki, Chibi, and Kochibi. Although the cats are adorable, this is not a cute-cat manga like Chi’s Sweet Home. Instead, it’s an affectionate but unvarnished look at life with three aging cats, complete with discussions of trips to the vet, cat food preferences, poop and litter boxes, and the disruptive effect that lounging cats have on the work life of an overworked manga artist. The comics are funny and touching but may elicit the occasional “Eeeeeeww!” from more squeamish readers who don’t have cats.

Even if you aren’t a cat-lover, though, this comic is fascinating for the glimpses it provides into the life of a manga creator. We get to spy on Yazawa as she meets with her editors and hunches over her drawing board. There are also some very Japanese moments in the book, as when one of the cats makes a hole in her paper-screen door and uses it as a cat door.

Yazawa speaks English, and she translated and lettered the comics herself. The translation is rather rough, with misspellings and malapropisms, but somehow she gets her point across. Her drawings are loose and cartoony.

The comics read from top to bottom and right to left. Even if you’re not used to that, it’s fairly easy with a 4-koma manga because the panels are arranged in a vertical column so you only read one at a time. The pages also turn from right to left. I read this in the Kindle app on my iPad and it worked very nicely. On her blog, Yazawa explains (in English) that she used the Kindle Comics Creator tool to make the comics into an e-book. The strips originally appeared as a webcomic on her blog, where they are still available in Japanese.

Yesterday, Yazawa revealed that the book had been downloaded 57 times in English and 318 times in Japanese. She also announced that she will publish another manga, Nozomi, via Kindle in the near future.

(Via Anime News Network, who got it from Okazu.)

Nao Yazawa’s Slice-of-Life Manga is Free Today, $2.99 Tomorrow is a post from: E-Reader News

B&N Slashes Prices on Nook HD and Nook HD+ for Mother’s Day

Lately I’ve been getting tired of posting about all of Barnes and Noble’s various Nook sales and promotions every week, but this one is too good to pass up. Through Mother’s Day, May 12th, Barnes and Noble is selling the 7-inch Nook HD tablet for $149 and the 9-inch Nook HD+ tablet for $179 both [...]

Fan Community Calls Out Illegal Comics Sharing


SuBLime is an imprint of Viz Media that publishes yaoi manga (love stories between two men). When they publish digitally, it is usually in the form of a PDF download, which means that is it basically DRM-free—it can be readily moved from one device to another and won’t disappear if the publisher or the app does. It’s the digital comics format that a lot of fans want (and some demand).

The problem with PDFs is exactly the same as their strong point: They can be readily moved from one device to another, so they are prime material for pirates.

The SuBLime folks decided to take that chance, although I believe they watermark their PDFs, so if one escapes into the wild they will know immediately who owns it. The other thing they have going in their favor is the strong sense of community among yaoi readers. That’s why, when one of their manga showed up on a pirate site, the fans immediately let them know. The SuBLime staff addressed this in a post on their website, saying:

I have made it very clear from the start that if fans abuse the system and do this that we would stop making this available. Please understand the consequences of this. This doesn’t just prevent us from doing it, it also makes the Japanese publishers less interesting in letting any manga publisher do this. Do not punish the fans of this genre or any genre through your actions.

The consequences:

If you do this, we will suspend your account and you will lose all access to your purchased books.

What other consequences? If you like visiting your scanlation aggregator sites and wish to see them continue, bringing them to the attention of a publisher that has a legal department is not a good idea. We can go after the entire site for illegal content. Do we want to do this? No. We want to publish our books for our fans and not deal with this at all, but in order to do that we have to make money from the sales of our books to pay for the licensing, the printing, and not to mention to provide financial support to the many employees and freelancers who work so hard to bring these books to you.

SuBLime allows both streaming access and downloads, so presumably what they are cutting off with the first measure is just streaming. It’s not clear whether the pirate site took the illegal manga down, but SuBLime readers took to the forums to denounce the upload.

This seems like an excellent alternative to the type of DRM that makes you hate the publisher so much you want to pirate their stuff just for spite. SuBLime’s copyright protection system has two parts: An invisible watermark and a loyal community of readers. There’s nothing to get in your way—unless you try to steal the content.

(Hat tip: The Fandom Post)

Fan Community Calls Out Illegal Comics Sharing is a post from: E-Reader News