Last week digital comics vendor Comixology inked major sales deals with Marvel and Dark Horse Comics, but some publishers are looking to competing digital vendors.
IDW Publishing is switching its flagship white-label app and popular licensed comics such as Star Trek, Transformers and Mutant Ninja Turtles, to the Madefire motion book publishing platform, though IDW comics will continue to available on Comixology. While Bongo, publisher of popular comics based on The Simpsons animated TV show, has left the Comixology platform entirely, and reportedly will release its own app.
In a big departure from how most digital comics are sold, the Madefire platform is offering its technology as Software As A Service (SAAS), rather than the more common transaction-based model.
Madefire has also entered into a relationship with Kodansha Advanced Media, a subsidiary of the giant Japanese manga house set up to oversee its digital publishing in North America. Kodansha Comics, the U.S. subsidiary of the Japanese publisher, has run their own app in the past but its comics have never been sold via Comixology. And indie comics publisher Lion Force reportedly will launch on Madefire “very soon.”
According to Madefire CEO & Co-Founder Ben Wolstenholme, publishers keep 100% of the revenue from sales within Motion Book Publisher-powered apps--after any mobile distributor such as Apple takes a share. Madefire charges a flat monthly fee in order to run the service, but takes no cut of the sale of books or subscriptions.
"Madefire is enabling us to make unique changes in the way we deliver content and build a relationship directly with our readers cross-platform,’ said IDW v-p of digital publishing & business development Jeff Webber.
The Motion Book platform is an upload once/export to multiple file format solution, including ePub, PDF, Flash, Video and Motion Book formats. For digital storefronts, it supports native readers for iOS, Android, Windows and web browsers, as well as Android TV. The platform also supports in-app purchases and subscriptions
The service is priced in tiers: System (for large catalogs) or Series (for smaller catalogs, usually specific to a series of books around one property). Pricing depends upon how many platforms the publisher wishes to support, from a current menu of iOS, Android, Android TV, Windows 10, the web and, in the coming months, the Xbox platform.
A year after Amazon acquired Comixology, Marvel has shown that the era of exclusive partnerships isn’t quite over, but the smaller publishers continue to experiment with spreading their content around different platforms.