Tag Archives: Graphic novels

The Trouble with Digital Comics

For most comic book publishers, the industry’s hot issue for 2011 is digital comics. While sales of printed comics and graphic novels fell in 2010, sales of digital comics increased from a measly $500,000 to $1 million retail in 2009 to $6 to 8 million last year (according to ICv2)—an increase of as much as 1500%. Though the industry is unlikely to see such extreme growth in 2011, digital sales will undoubtedly continue to rise this year. Even if publishers were to do nothing, the increase in tablet sales will create an expanded market for their digital products. For all this growth, however, there remain two huge problems with digital comics that publishers will need to tackle if consumers are to buy these products with any kind of regularity (currently, many consumers seem to be buying them as novelty items or one-off experiments).

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The Graphic Novel: A Brief Product History

A graphic novel, defined most broadly, is any work of printed fiction that depends upon sequential art for the progression of its narrative. Usually, the appellative novel also indicates that the work is of a particular length. Stephen Weiner, author of 100 Graphic Novels for Public Libraries, for example, defines graphic novels as “book-length comic books that are meant to be read as one story.” The Library of Congress, in its Collections Policy, likewise describes graphic novels as “usually over 80 pages.” In academia, the term is additionally an indicator of prestige: graphic novels, unlike comic books, are works of literature.

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