Writer, BoingBoing.net co-owner and Internet trouble-causer Cory Doctorow spent some time with CBR TV at the 2012 New York Comic-Con where he and Jonah Weiland discussed a number of topics, from Boing Boing’s increased coverage of comics in recent years, his take on current digital comics giants like comiXology and Marvel, the success he’s found in DRM-free digital publishing, the future of print and much more.
On Boing Boing becoming a comics publisher: We’ve got a daily comics page… They do great! It doesn’t cost a whole lot to bring comics in. It started, actually, when some of the other sites decided to cut their comics budgets, and given what they were paying those guys, I don’t understand why they were cutting their comics budget, but, you know, we thought, we can meet ant top that, and we found ourselves with a daily comic.
On the current state of digital comics: I really feel like, any model where you don’t own it is probably not what you want to pursue. Certainly, I think it’s not really great for Misney [Marvel/Disney] to be doing this… when you think about the long term value comics have had as an industry, it’s revolved around borrowing comics, lending comics, reselling comics, hunting for used comics, the thrill of the chase. All of that stuff, and that stuff is just removed by a EULA [End License User Agreement]. You know, you buy the comic, and it looks like a purchase, right? There’s a ‘Buy” button, but underneath the buy button, there’s a thing that says, by buying this comic, I agree that you’re allowed to come over to my house and punch my grandmother, wear my underwear, make long distance calls and clean out the fridge. And like — I just feel like, any company that’s gonna confiscate all the value you have, because you’ve had the poor taste and bad sense to actually give them your money — that’s just not a company you want to encourage.
On his own digital publishing website’s success: It’s all DRM-free. I’ve just helped launch the first Humble e-book Bundle. The Humble Bundle you may know is a video game distribution platform. They gang up six to eight independent video games, sell them on a name your price basis, no DRM… They’ve done amazingly. The first one did over a million bucks in 2010, the most recent one, $4.7 million in the first week. We’ve just launched the first Humble e-book Bundle, which is led with my brand-new young adult techno-thriller “Pirate Cinema”… It’s only been live for about five days. We’ve already cracked half a million dollars. Pretty respectable for our first outing!