Apple NewsStand, zombie-fied micropaymentson June 26th, 2011 at 6:34 am
I guess I missed this when it was announced or didn’t see it applying to comics as much, but Apple announced the launch of a new service called NewsStand a month or so ago.
Either way, in case you missed it too here are some some relevant links to the info:
As you know I have talked about micropayments on more than one occasion, it’s an idea that I support even if I have yet to see it work. I place it in a special box of ideals along with my other unrealistic ideas, like free universal healthcare.
NewsStand is said to be the iBooks for newspaper and magazine publishers, allowing one centralized place to get your content. From a consumers point of view I would think this would be advantages, it’s a one stop shopping type experience. Think of it as your digital comic book shop, in a way that Comixology has never quite achieved. From this lazy consumers point of view, if I can get everything in one place I will more than likely do so.
From a publishers point of view there are advantages to a service like Newsstand, the major thing being it’s an Apple product and as much as I hate to admit it, they have a very substantial user base. Access to that large a user base is tempting for any publisher, but one thing most publishers want, besides your money that is, is all the information contained in your subscription. With Newsstand it seems as if Apple will control all this info, which cuts off a secondary income for the publishers. The selling of your info, even if that just share it with their sister publications, it means you might decide to get another of their family of publications. So will publishers really want to go along with this? Let’s face it, if Apples wants to do it, it will, and the smart publisher will be forced to go along with it. Apple is the schoolyard bully demanding lunch money, and you better pay… or else. Speaking of paying… Apple will take 30% of what the consumer pays for their subscription. You feel you are being treated unfairly? Pray Apple doesn’t alter the deal further.*
Now what does this mean for comic artists? Well, if you draw a webcomic strip I don’t think it means much for you honestly. I think this will be an app geared to long form comics more than strips, I would guess that the minimum transaction will be about ¢99 or so and honestly are you going to pay a buck to read a singular strip? Maybe if a webcomic creator could sell a monthly subscription that might work otherwise I don’t see it as a viable option. Long form comics on the other hand, I can see this as being a great way to market your story, especially via the iPad. Comics look really nice on the iPad *Better than on the Kindle, sorry Kindle. * so all you long form comic artists should gear up for this!
Which brings to my last point, how does one get included in the newsstand app, do you need the backing of a major publisher or will it be similar to the Kindle and you just need to meet certain minimum requirements for submitting and then you are approved? And how much censorship will Apple enforce. And let’s face Apple already “filters” quite a lot of content via the App Store, will Newsstand be any different?
*Steve Jobs, the Darth Vader of mobile devices?
- NewsStand built into iOS 5 (tuaw.com)
- Apple tries to tighten its grip on media with Newsstand (gigaom.com)
- It Took Apple 9 Months to Launch a Digital Newsstand (blogs.wsj.com)