Sunday, January 20

Comics on Blurb

I WAS ENTHUSED TO DISCOVER that Blurb Books, the on-demand book publisher, created a new category of on-demand products; the magazine. I thought this would be a good way to try on-demand publishing without breaking the bank. I downloaded the plug-in for InDesign and quickly reformatted my comic for Blurb. The Subterranean was originally formatted for Amazon and is slightly taller and had no bleeds from what Blurb required so I reconfigured the faded paper texture (to give that vintage look). The gutter is also wider than is traditional but I thought the positioning on the page was a good compromise and provided an optimized image. It might seem oversized but I won't really know until I get my hard copy. I can then re-upload the file with revisions to get the scaling right.

I thought the price of $12 was ridiculous for a 30 page comic. Even if every aspect of the publication is premium the price makes the effort of publishing nothing more than an experiment. When I went to buy it and check out I discovered that in addition to the high price I had to pay $8 for shipping! In my estimation absolutely no one will pay that kind of shipping for so few pages.

So what good is Blurb? It is of no use as an actual publisher unless they can get their prices down. The only other use is as a portfolio publisher. In other words, if you were going to a comic convention it might be handy to have an actual hardcopy of your comic to show potential publishers. I am planning on making a book of my fine art paintings to send to my galleries as a promotional piece. I can envision a few hardcore collectors wanting to purchase the book, but again, the price will be so high it will prohibit any large scale sales.

Until Blurb can get their prices down they will only exist as a vanity publishing house. But hey, I fell for it. When I went to check out I was informed I could buy an additional copy for $5. The price seemed relatively cheap so I jumped on it. It was only later that I remembered I had never paid $5 for a comic in my life. I had been successfully upsold on my own comic.

Although I am glad to see this business in the early stages of its evolution on-demand publishing has a long way to go before I will be impressed with either their sales techniques or their business model.

Brad Teare

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