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Print on Demand Goes Direct Market

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GLX
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Print on Demand Goes Direct Market

Postby GLX » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:27 am

Could be a game changer.

http://blog.newsarama.com/2009/02/01/ka ... icsmonkey/

Ka-Blam’s announcement regarding direct market distribution has been followed with the launch of ComicsMonkey. The site and service, which is promising “No Benchmarks, No Thresholds, No Minimums, No Fees” will offer print-on-demand distribution to direct market comic shops.

The site contains a run-down of the basics, links to some information for publishers and retailers, and the promise of more specifics as the days go on.

ComicsMonkey explains why it pulled the trigger now thusly:

With news of the developments in the direct market in January and their impact on independent publishers, we began getting pummeled with messages and emails all asking a variance of the same thing “When are you guys going to start distributing to comics shops?”



We realized that a multi-month pilot program, an indeterminate retooling period, and an official launch 9 months or so from now were off the table for good. Circumstances were dictating the pace. We couldn’t wait any longer.

We’ve got to go now.



This is less than ideal, but unavoidable. We know that just as with the launch of Ka-Blam and then again with IndyPlanet, there will be unforeseen complications, fits and starts, and hiccups aplenty along the way. Things will not always go smoothly. We’ll make mistakes, but we’ll correct them. It’ll certainly take us a while to get our legs under us and to fully hit our stride. We beg your indulgence during this time and promise you that your patience will be rewarded.

Granted, this is an important story with many facets to analyze. We’ll be reading the details closely and reporting new information as it becomes available. We’ll also have commentary from people in the industry regarding the possible impact of this bold new move.

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Postby GLX » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:12 am

http://blog.newsarama.com/2009/02/09/qu ... more-10928

As you know, we recently brought you the early news on ComicsMonkey, the new distrubtion system offered under the auspicies of Ka-Blam. We spoke with Barry Gregory, of Ka-Blam, ComicsMonkey, and IndyPlanet, for some quick answers on the overview.

Newsarama: What motivated you to get involved in distribution in this fashion?

Barry Gregory: Direct Market distribution was a part of our plan from the beginning. We considered it a phase two project. Phase one was establishing Ka-Blam as a viable printing solution for independent creator/publishers. Phase two was to create opportunities for independent creator/publishers increase their audiences and sell their products. IndyPlanet.com — our indy comics webstore — was our first phase two project. We’ve got almost 2,000 items there now, with more being added almost daily, and sales have been steadily climbing since we launched it.

We’ve had ComicsMonkey specifically on the drawing board for over a year. We had planned to launch a brief pilot program of sorts later this spring with a limited catalog and a few volunteer retailers, then take what we learned from the pilot program, retool, and have our official launch sometime in late summer or fall. But then circumstances changed and we realized we had to scrub the pilot program and move our launch up significantly. Even if it meant a rockier start than we’d like.


NRAMA: Which qualities, in your opinion, make your operation well-suited for this kind of endeavor?

BG: Well, Ka-Blam’s been around since late 2005 and we’re pretty confident in our model for digital printing. We’ve built up a pretty good reputation among independent creators and publishers. We’ve got almost 4000 registered users and it’s growing daily. So given our operating model and the reservoir of good will we have among independent creators and the volume of product we have available from them already at IndyPlanet — most of which will also be available at ComicsMonkey — we think we’re uniquely positioned to offer a print-on-demand distribution service.

It’s a daunting task and we don’t take it lightly. No one’s really done this kind of thing before, so we know there will be challenges aplenty. But no one’s in a better position to give it a go than we are.

NRAMA: What are some pitfalls that other distributors have made in the past that you believe that you can avoid?

BG: Well, eliminating advance ordering will remove a lot of the pitfalls. With a print-on-demand model there’s no advance ordering, no warehousing, no purchase orders, no shipping from suppliers. Everything is digital. We store digital printable files for each product available in the catalog and we print to order. If it’s in our catalog … it’s available NOW. You can order it today and it could be on your shelves in a week or so.

When your model relies on advance ordering you have to worry about product shipping late from suppliers, items being canceled, or delivered in a state inconsistent with what was advertised at the time you pre-sold it. None of that applies to us.

We know where some problem areas lie and we’re working to avoid those, but as the saying goes, “it’s not about what you’re sure of … it’s about what you don’t know”. At least our mistakes will be uniquely our own.

NRAMA: What will your biggest challenge be in the first sixth months?

BG: There are no shortage of challenges. We wrote the business model some time ago — it’ll change and evolve as we go, but it’s written. We’re building the site now, writing the software we’ll need to integrate comicsmonkey.com with ka-blam.com, etc. Soon, we’ll begin building the catalog and registering retailers. All that will be challenging.

But for me, I think the biggest will be managing the expectations of creator/publishers.

We’ve been thrilled by the response we’ve gotten from the independent comics community. Folks are genuinely excited about this … to the point that I worry some of them have unrealistic expectations. I believe this model will work and work well. There are many independent creators/publishers who will fare much better in our system than they have in the existing distribution system. But it’s not going to happen right out of the gate. It’s going to take time and a lot — a LOT — of work.

Our challenge will be keeping everyone focused and working towards what the model can and will be and not allowing them to get overly discouraged if the results are less than they’d hoped at the beginning.

NRAMA: A number of publishers believe that the paradigm is shifting into online delivery systems; as you see it, what is the future of comics as a print medium?

BG: Oh, I think someday in the not too distant future almost everyone will be reading their comics off of a backlit screen. I read webcomics, I love webcomics! But we’re all afflicted with a collector mentality. If we like something we want a piece of it. If we love a comic, then we want a copy, even if we already read it online. As a matter of fact, the best selling comics at IndyPlanet are the printed editions of certain webcomics.

So, I think print’s not going away any time soon. There’s still has a lot of life left in the printed page.

We’ll be speaking to Barry Gregory again in the near future.
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Postby jeremiahvedder » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:39 pm

This is a dream for me.

When Wowio first came along, I hopped on as quick as I could. I've only put out four books so far but I've got one that's just waiting on a cover and three more in the pipe, mostly from different series, but print-on-demand distribution...? To all comic shops?!?

I don't expect success over night but this... This makes me optimistic.

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Postby GLX » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:52 pm

jeremiahvedder wrote:This is a dream for me.

When Wowio first came along, I hopped on as quick as I could. I've only put out four books so far but I've got one that's just waiting on a cover and three more in the pipe, mostly from different series, but print-on-demand distribution...? To all comic shops?!?

I don't expect success over night but this... This makes me optimistic.


UPC tag for $10.8)
Last edited by GLX on Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jeremiahvedder » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:55 pm

UFC?

You mean UPC?

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Postby GLX » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:56 pm

jeremiahvedder wrote:UFC?

You mean UPC?


:oops:

Oh, and welcome man.
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Postby outsider » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:15 pm

GLX wrote::oops:

Oh, and welcome man.
Yes, welcome! You need to put a link to your work in your sig, for those of us that aren't (yet) informed of it.
-

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Postby jeremiahvedder » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:04 pm

Ah, yes, well, once I figure this board out, I can definitely do that.

Until then, you guys can click on over here to see my books:

http://www.wowio.com/users/searchresult ... isherId=66

(And don't forget to check out the second page that features NIGHTMARE IN SLUMBERLAND #1 featuring Little Nemo.)
Last edited by jeremiahvedder on Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby jeremiahvedder » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:46 pm

Sorry about killing the thread. Here's another semi-related question:

What happens when a company like Marvel (that has an extensive online catalogue of back issues) gets in on this print-on-demand bandwagon? Will we see customizable, print-on-demand trade paperbacks -- your choice selected from however many thousands of back issues they've got?

I always see people complain that Marvel doesn't keep enough of their trades in print, and this would solve that problem, so do you think this announcement by Ka-Blam might open more doors than we've previously imagined?

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