Here’s our weekly snapshot of the best-selling digital comics on four platforms—taken Sunday evening.
1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #34
We’re seeing DC’s Villains Month at comiXology, with the first issue of Forever Evil and two of their villain-focused comics, Batman #23.1 and Justice League #23.1, making the chart. Nothing beats Injustice: Gods Among Us, though. Marvel has the edge in market share, with five comics in the top ten, compared to four from DC and one from Image.
1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #34
What’s that at number 10? It sounds like a book for knitters, but Wool is actually a graphic-novel adaptation of Hugh Howey’s dystopian novel. It’s published by Amazon’s own comics imprint, Jet City, and it’s serialized in an interesting way: You pay $4.99 for the entire thing, with each new episode being automatically added to your Kindle for free. Making this even more interesting is the fact that the first episode doesn’t come out until October; this book charted on pre-orders alone. We’ll see if it’s still there next week.
1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #32
The folks at Barnes and Noble must be terribly grateful to the odd couple of Charles Schulz and Robert Kirkman, because without them they would have almost no comics sales on the Nook. OK, there are two issues of Injustice, but just like last week, there are more free than paid books on the Nook list. In fact, there are 25 free books that did better than that third volume of The Walking Dead.
1. Injustice: Gods Among Us #34
As usual, iBooks users show a lot of enthusiasm for Injustice and My Little Pony; it’s interesting that this is the only chart to show the latest issue of Batman Beyond 2.0, which came out on Saturday.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Amazon has just pushed a new mandatory update to their apps for iPhone and iPad. This is to insure full compliance with massive new iOS 7 firmware update that should be available next week. Apple is holding a press party on Tuesday, where they are expected to announce a new two new iPhones, iBooks for iPhone and updates to their Apple TV service.
The average tablet owner simply does not always keep their apps up to date. In your circle of friends, there is always one person who seems to have always have a thousand emails in their inbox or never updates their apps. This is the Amazon update that you should install because it preserves all of the books you have downloaded on your device. If you update to iOS 7 and don’t update the Amazon app you have to download all of your books again.
Viz Media is the largest manga publisher in the U.S., and when they launched their digital manga service, almost three years ago, they instantly became a pioneer in that realm. They quickly ramped up with a cross-platform service that worked on the web, iOS, and Android devices and also made their books available on Nook (and, more recently, Kobo). And their prices were reasonable: The standard price for a volume of digital manga was $4.99.
About a week ago, Viz announced via a letter (which has since disappeared) on its Vizmanga site that it is raising the price of a volume of manga from $4.99 to $6.99 as of October 1. Some volumes, such as omnibuses and mature titles, are priced higher and their prices will go up commensurately.
I asked Viz vice president and chief technical officer Gagan Singh to elaborate a bit on the price increases and why they were necessary. Here are his responses.
Good E-Reader: Why did you decide to raise the price of your manga, and why now?
Gagan Singh: We debuted our digital manga on the iPad at the end of 2010, and our prices have stayed constant since the launch of VIZ Manga. We’ve expanded from our own app on iPhones and the web, to having digital manga available on the Nook, as well as recently on the Kobo. In order to continue bringing great manga to North America, we now need to offer our digital manga at a slightly increased price. The increase helps support the manga creators (artists & writers), as well as the editors, producers, engineers, and more that make it possible to enjoy manga anywhere.
Why did you decide to go with a $2 increase, rather than a series of smaller increases phased in over a period of time? Were you losing money before this?
We wanted to provide stability and predictable prices in order to minimize any long-term aggravation smaller incremental increases would bring. Our digital manga sales have been doing well, but as is the case with any company, there are always increases in the cost of running business.
Will you maintain price parity across all platforms (apps, Nook, Kobo)?
Yes, the list price will be the same across all digital manga platforms.
Are you worried that your sales will drop because of the increase? Or will the increase compensate for that?
In the short term, perhaps. In the long term, we are confident, as more and more people adopt digital manga, our sales will continue growing.
What about the problem of piracy—do you see it as sensitive to price, or is it simply a paid vs. free situation (i.e., people who go to bootleg sites won't pay no matter what the price)?
It’s an education process. By purchasing manga through our digital platforms, fans are supporting the creators, the companies that bring out the manga in Japan, and in turn, us in bringing the manga to fans in North America.
Outside of piracy, do you see your chief competition being other manga or print editions of your own manga—are you concerned that selling the digital at a lower price is undercutting your print business?
Sales of our digital manga don't cannibalize those on our print side. We anticipate the same trend moving forward. In fact, we've noticed that the crossover between print and digital readers is relatively small, and that many of our digital readers prefer digital editions exclusively.
Our biggest competitors for mindshare are actually the myriad of other entertainment options out there, from video games to mobile games, tv and movies. We've found that people tend to engage in activities friends recommend, rather than pick up something out of the blue. In the end, great content is the key to attracting and retaining fans.
Do you have any plans for incentives, added content, or sales to mitigate the effect for your fans?
We're always looking for ways to improve value for our customers; please stay tuned for updates!
We want to thank our fans & readers, who have and continue to support our digital manga program. Their patronage is what drives us every day to work tirelessly to bring great manga to everyone faster and in their preferred format!
Verdict: 2 stars
One of the most highly anticipated recent book launches has been Shields’ and Salerno’s Salinger, billed as an exhaustive biography of of one of the most reclusive writers of our time. What was actually published, unfortunately, was nothing more than transcripts written in interview format of discussions about the author with people who claimed to know him, nearly 200 people, in fact.
While there is the occasional insight into the author’s life or the briefest of pieces of new information about the man, a lot of the material uncovered is very anecdotal tabloid-quality stuff. Was it really vital to share the status of Salinger’s testicles? No, I think not. (spoiler alert: apparently Salinger only had one, and for some reason, the authors of the book felt that knowledge was somehow important to our understanding of their subject)
Over the years, Salinger’s son Matt has developed quite a reputation for taking his father’s privacy to extremes, even going so far as to disparage his own sister’s memoir as “gothic” and “unsupported.” At one point, he even sued for the return of a letter his father had written after a collectibles dealer put it up for auction, claiming that it was his father’s writing and therefore the property of the estate. Given that Salinger is the end result of not blocking the publication of information about a very private man, it’s easy to understand why Matt Salinger may have felt the need to be so protective.
On a brighter note, the book is apparently almost a word-for-word transcript of the documentary film on the life of J.D. Salinger, and the film might be far less difficult to wade through given that it will be presented in video by the people who actually claim to have stories to share about the author. The film was released September 6th.