Since the introduction of the comic-book format in 1934, followed by graphic novels and Manga, the market for writers, illustrators and fans have grown exponentially within the last decade. While the printed format may at some point follow in the footsteps of the dying legacy newspapers, there are digital solutions emerging. Graphic.ly is an option in the social media space, while iPads, on the device end may actually take the place of the printed comic book and graphic novel, in the near future.
Niche social networks never real scale as well as those geared for the general public. This is largely due to the size of the audience, or the lack thereof. Ning, the aggregate of off-the-shelf-do-it-yourself social networking is a prime example. There was a lot of interest when it was first launched back in 2008, but has subsequently taken to a strictly paid model because hobbyists and special interest groups attracted a small numbers of users. Graphic.ly as a niche social network market may be different.
Graphic.ly is a cutting-edge digital content delivery system and community platform for the publishing world. It focuses on comic publishers, creators and enthusiasts, and provides an immersive social experience and marketplace around digital comics and associated merchandise. By expanding its community platform, the company is becoming the de facto solution for artists and creators to interact with their fans and expand the reach and influence of their own content.
While coming out of beta with an AIR app for desktops which includes a digital comic reader, store, and social activity feed - apps for the iPad, iPhone, Android, and Windows 7 are coming soon.
Users can load comic books directly to the platform. There are presently about 100 books uploaded, but growing daily with new content coming in from the independent comic book publishers, including Top Cow, BOOM!, IDW, Devil’s Due and Arcana.
Micah Baldwin“The beta program was a great chance for us to learn from the comic and early adopter community,” said Micah Baldwin, CEO and co-founder of Graphic.ly. “They helped us make it an even better desktop and mobile application, and helped us fine-tune the ways for comic enthusiasts and new fans to engage with each other, and with the comic books themselves.”
Graphic.ly is focused on providing its community with better connections and relationships with publishers and creators, which is evidenced by the acquisition of iFanboy. The network will continue to enhance the experience by continuing to grow the content library and enhance the community experience.
“The goal of Graphic.ly has always been to be a companion for the comic book store. People are moving to digital forms of communications, but the comic book industry is a community of readers, fans and writers and artists,” noted Baldwin. “Graphic.ly is the online version of hanging out at the comic book store, finding new friends, new comics to read, and new interests and genres – all in an online community."
As a perfect companion to the Graphic.ly social network, the device that could replace the traditional printed comic book is the iPad. There's something about holding a comic book in your hands and flipping through the pages. The iPad in my estimation is the digital answer. And because it is a hand-device, it could actually increase the size of the audience markedly in 2010.
As Matthew Shaer noted in a recent Christian Science Monitor report, "You've got a person who may have read comics when they were younger, and wouldn't walk into a comics store today and buy a comic." But if they owned an iPad, it would easily allow them to jump back in and enjoy this genre well into their senior years!