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Tablets drive comics boom in US

At Comic-Con International, the annual comic book convention, publishers embraced tablets and e-readers to show off their wares, and companies like comiXology demonstrated technological innovations to better distribute those offerings.

gadgets Updated: Jul 23, 2013 04:09 IST
comic books

The comic book industry, after years of struggling to bolster sales, appears to have found a way to draw new readers, thanks in part to its push into the digital realm.

At Comic-Con International, the annual comic book convention, publishers embraced tablets and e-readers to show off their wares, and companies like comiXology demonstrated technological innovations to better distribute those offerings.

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ComiXology, which has become one of the biggest distributors of digital comic books, hit a milestone in June when it reached 180 million downloads since it started business in 2009, said David Steinberger, the company’s chief executive and one of the co-founders.

The company's success mirrors a surge in digital sales, which reached $70 million last year, up from $25 million in 2011, according to a report released July 15 by ICv2, an online trade publication that covers pop culture.

At the comiXology booth at Comic-Con, fans swiped their fingers across a variety of tablets to view the offerings as comiXology employees explained how the system worked.

“Amazing!” said Chris Palmen­berg, a visitor from Tucson, Ariz. “When I first saw the iPad, I knew this would be great for comics,” he said.

“I think that we contributed to the revolution in digital comics,” Steinberger said. Supported by in-app purchases, comiXology was No. 3 on Apple’s list of top 10 apps in 2012.

Its business model helped persuade DC and Marvel to sign deals to distribute their comic books digitally through comiXology the same day they are released in print. For years, comic book publishers faced a problem of poor distribution.

However, with the digital revolution, publishers seem to have overcome their distribution woes. Through computers and mobile devices, they can now reach readers anywhere in the world.

New York Times