Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In a Battle of the E-Readers, Booksellers Spurn Superheroes

In a Battle of the E-Readers, Booksellers Spurn Superheroes, NYT article.

Amazon, seeking to make its coming Kindle Fire tablet as appealing as possible, negotiated a deal with DC Comics for the exclusive digital rights to a hundred popular graphic novels. Among the series: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, the Sandman and Watchmen.
Barnes & Noble, with a tablet of its own to nurture, did not like this one bit. Two weeks ago it removed all the copies of the physical volumes from its 1,300 stores, saying it would not carry any book if it were denied the right to sell the digital version.

Wow. I don't know which Supes and Bats graphic novels we speak of, but there is only one series (ten paperback collections) of Sandman, and that is one of DC's most successful series of all time in sales, and may be their most successful ever in terms of respect and prestige. This was the comic which brought in tens of thousands of adult readers who otherwise never read comics. Very important book for DC and comics as a whole. And the same can be said about Watchmen, some would claim even more so, depending on perspective. And if they also have Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, that's a trifecta.

So I'm wondering what kind of remuneration Amazon can have offered to get exclusive rights to these titles. That's gotta be a king's ransom, and his whole family's too.

Some may not understand this, because for some reason the comics market is much smaller than the novel market (I never did get this, it may be the "for kids" stigma), but within the comics market, this is a hugely important deal, and an enormously aggressive move by Amazon.

Sandman comic character Death

... It may also be a pointer towards Amazon actually having plans of a larger tablet, because frankly, a 7-incher is not great for comics. For me, even the iPad (10 inch screen) is on the small side.

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