You see it every day. On your way to work, you’ll probably notice someone engrossed in their latest tablet or Kindle, reading the new bestseller. This shift towards reading on a digital platform is gaining new heights. A recent survey of e-books’ impact on reading habits in the US showed that four times more readers were reading e-books daily. And though nothing can really replace the smell of your old, yellowed pages of your favourite classic, reading on the tablet is considered a cool thing to do. And publishers are cashing in on this, as books are increasingly being released on the digital platform as well. Whether it’s classics like Oliver Twist, biographies like Nelson Mandela, comics like Lotpot and Level 10, they are all available on digital now.
Andrew Dodd, Marketing and Rights Consultant and general dogsbody, of Campfire Comics, says that all their comic books are available on digital. “Comics are still a fairly niche market, and we want our books to be accessible. By digitising our content and making it available on all the devices, which provide high resolution, full colour images, we are ensuring we reach a much wider audience,” he explains. But does it not discourage the good old style of reading? “We accept that many people still prefer to hold a book or a comic in their hands, and enjoy the physical experience of turning the page and smelling the freshness of a brand new book. However, we are also well aware that a growing segment like the ease with which a graphic novel can be downloaded onto their iPad, Kindle Fire or smart phone,” Dodd opines. He adds that Campfire has a graphic novel biography on the life of Steve Jobs coming up, and there was a free digital preview of the first 30 pages made available a few weeks ago to attract young readership.
Manish Dhingra, director of Mediology Software, a firm offering 360 degree publishing across web, mobile and tablet devices, says, “Publishers today face immense challenges, since the pace of progress and rapid advancement of technology, has led to a void in their publishing capabilities. The digital facets of today’s life offer unique opportunities for comics to go digital and create new forms of comics, which utilise animation to create motion comics, or utilise games to create game comics. What is needed is the ability to leverage the existing content for audience higher interactivity.”
The future is digital, agrees Shreyas Srinivas, CEO, Level 10 Comics. “Whereas it’s important to not lose the print counterpart, it is increasingly clear that the next spurt of growth will be led by the digital medium. The reasons are simple — better and immediate reach. For new-age publishers, the digital platform provides a cost effective way of reaching out to the audience.” And not to forget, digital reading reduces the carbon footprint as well!