Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 1, 2010

Go, Read: Two On On-Line Pricing

Like the vast majority of what's been written about on-line pricing and digital publishing, the two articles on which I'm throwing a spotlight here are intended for prose rather than comics. However, there should be a great deal of crossover involved and it's safe to say that decisions in prose are likely to have an effect on decisions in comics.

The first is an article in the New York Times that if it isn't already being talked about will be for its plain language and apparent intention to cut through a lot of rhetoric and get at the issue of what digital publishing costs. There will likely be objections to the author not "showing the work" behind several of the claims, and the sudden change mid-article to assume bad faith on the part of big book publishing in terms of keeping the current system alive. Still, there's a straight-ahead rhetorical style there I would favor in terms of future articles.

The second is this article from an author returning home after something called a "Tools Of Change" conference, in which you are immediately disabused of the notion that any of this is going to be easy because of so many small-a agencies work from so many platforms, such as the in-house digital publishing-first initiatives at various companies.

I think the takeaway from both is that there are a lot of assumptions that are still be held as if they're firm truths rather than soft truths, right down to the asserted institutional costs of things like the marketing services provided by publishers to something I've never heard of, that authors with the weight to ask for it seem to want greater royalties from digital sales. It also seems to me that in terms of comics there are equal opportunities to drag one's feet along with or to press forward with alacrity -- in that sense, that nobody seems to know exactly what strategy to pursue, it's a wide open field.

thanks, Gil Roth
posted 6:00 am PST | Permalink

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