Thursday, July 9, 2009

Longbox Digital Comics Part 1 (of 2)

At Heroes Con last month Rantz Hoseley, the editor behind Image's Comic Book Tattoo anthology, introduced Longbox Digital Comics, a platform similar to iTunes that will allow users to purchase and download comics in digital format.

It's expected that Longbox will launch late in 2009 as a free download for Mac, PC, and Linux operating systems. It's proposed that comics can then be download for 99 cents per issue, with scope for block and subscription discounts. Already two publishers have been confirmed as participants in the Longbox program - Top Cow and BOOM! Studios - with the potential for more to follow.

Clearly, the range of titles and publishers available on the platform will be key to its success - the more titles available, the more fans will use the service, making it a more attractive proposition for publishers to release their titles ... To aid this process, the software developers - Quicksilver Software - have ensured that the toolset used for creating the Longbox digital files is fully compatible with publishers' existing production process meaning files could be exported at source and imported onto the Longbox platform for subsequent download.

Participating publishers would have the option to release all or some of their titles via Longbox, with publication/release dates running parallel or staggered - for instance the digital version could be released some time following release of a printed version - at the publisher's discretion of course.

It's proposed that Longbox content would be compatible with devices such as the iPhone, Kindle, WiiWare, and X-Box Live with each purchase being 'authorised' for use across up to three different devices.

There's scope, again at the publisher's discretion, to offer a discount for a collected edition of a series to which a user has subscribed to the digital format, along with potential for enhanced features such as DVD-style commentaries from creators offering insight into the creative process from concept to final copy.

You can find out more about Longbox Digital Comics at Comic Book Resources and iFanboy, and in Part 2 I'll comment on what I see as the pro's and con's of the service.