Friday, October 16, 2009

Caine Interviews: Carbonated Comics

A few weeks back we posted our first Digital Comics Spotlight centered on the digital comic book distribution site: Carbonated Comics . Recently we were able to interview Nicole, Adam, AJ, and the team over at Carbonated about their site and it's services:

1. What is Carbonated Comics?
Carbonated Comics is a technology company dedicated to providing publishers and artists a way to safely publish digital comic books and other media through a hardware independent platform.

2. Does Carbonated Comics see 'printed comics' and 'digital comics' as separate entities? Are the printed & digital markets separate?

The digital comic book industry is an extension of the printed comic book industry in many ways. The most exciting aspect of the digital industry is how it opens and redefines the market for both emerging and established publishers. For small press and emerging publishers, digital comics allow them to get their work out to the world with unprecedented ease and very little of the overhead associated with printed comics.

For established publishers, digital distribution allows them to make their entire body of material available with none of the costs associated with creating reprints or with graphic novelization. While there are many points where these markets cross over, we believe that those who savor the tactile experience and collectability of printed comic books will continue to support that market, and those who have embraced digital formats will greatly increase the demand for digital content. Digital and printed comic books are not mutually exclusive, and we have had a great deal of feedback from customers who said that they would be interested in titles that were available in both formats.

3. What types of services does Carbonated Comics provide for its clients?

Currently, Carbonated Comics offers several services, with more on the way. We currently offer: – our secure storefront and the portal to our publisher and collaboration zones.

Protection of IP – Our clients can take advantage of our secure file format to distribute digital comics in a manner that helps to protect their intellectual property. Our secure format (CCX) is not simply a renamed archive file, but is a security enabled and fully encrypted distribution platform. This helps greatly reduce the risk that a comic book will be pirated and distributed without permission.

Digital Comic Manager – The Carbonator is Carbonated Comics premier software product for reading and managing a digital comic collection. The Carbonator is compatible with many standard digital comic book formats such as CBR and CBZ, and is the native reader for our secure multimedia capable CCX files. The Carbonator is the only digital comic manager that allows you to take full advantage of the multimedia components of the CCX file format including soundtracks, voiceovers and DVD like commentaries.

Digitizing service – After speaking to many artists, publishers and content owners about digital distribution, we have discovered that one of the greatest roadblocks with publishing digital content is getting all the various types of content into a standard format. To help our publishers overcome this barrier,Carbonated Comics offers our professional digitizing service for free to all of our clients.

Collaboration zone - We offer a ‘Looking for Work’ and ‘Job Fair’ feature on our website. This allows content creators and publishers to connect to each other and start collaborations. Content creators can list themselves as Looking for work, and publishers can mark themselves as Looking for workers.

4. Are there any restrictions on the types of comics that Carbonated Comics will publish (such as length or content)?

We do not have a requirement or any restrictions for the length of a comic that we will distribute. Whether it is a single strip or a 1000 page epic, we can make it happen. Our only restriction on content is that we are currently unable to host and distribute content of a graphic pornographic nature.

5. Are there any restrictions on the types of creators that Carbonated Comics will publish for (such as established or non)?

We realize the value of all types of publishers, from the huge corporate mega-publishing houses down to the self publishing ‘one man show’. Small press and independent publishers are vital to the survival of the comic book industry and we are more than happy to work with anyone who embraces the art form.

6. Are there any plans to publish printed comics as well?

Carbonated Comics is a primarily digital distribution and technology and e-commerce company. At this time, we do not have plans to pursue comic book publishing.

7. Is Carbonated Comics looking at any non-web based markets (such as disks)?

We do not currently have plans for physical media distribution, but we are looking at many non-traditional distribution venues as well as our current development for the iPhone. While we do not plan to distribute physical media as a commercial endeavor, our technology would make it quite easy to do so, especially for promotional materials like convention freebies.

8. What are some differences, if any, that Carbonated Comics has from some other services out now such as Comicsxp, Drive Through Comics, Wowio, and Crispy Comics?

The primary difference between Carbonated Comics and our competitors is that we are a dedicated technology services company. Each member of the Carbonated Comics team brings an average of 12 years of technology expertise to the table with backgrounds ranging from banking and e-commerce to aerospace and defense.

We are committed to the security and service required to make the digital comics industry as safe, secure and user friendly as possible while maintaining the agility to meet the ever changing demands of the industry.

9. What steps has Carbonated Comics taken to ensure success when other similar services (such as eyemelt) haven't been able to make a success of digital comics?

There are a few key factors to success in the digital comics market. The first is solid technology. Many of the failed or struggling companies out there who have tried digital distribution have relied too heavily on older technologies such as Adobe PDF or CBR/CBZ. While these technologies succeed in getting files out the door with sequential pictures, that is all they have to offer.

We have taken the approach of designing our technology from the ground up specifically for the comic book market. By offering such features as synchronized soundtracks (music, voiceovers, sound effects, etc.), DVD like “directors commentaries” and multiple viewing formats (page by page and frame by frame), we have opened up the possibilities for a truly new comic book experience.

The second key factor to success in the industry is the one-stop-shopping approach that we have adopted. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for artists and publishers to take advantage of digital distribution. This is why we have such straightforward relationships with our publishers. We offer free digitizing, free hosting (it costs nothing to distribute through our website), no hidden fees (like transaction fees or bandwidth usage fees) and we claim absolutely no ownership over content, stories, characters or trademarks. Our compensation model is based purely on a share of the sales, with a vast majority of the profit from a digital sale going to the content owner.

10. Where does Carbonated Comics see the digital comic book industry in five years, and where will Carbonated Comics fit in?

With the growing market for devices such as eBook readers, smart phones, netbooks, gaming systems and the like, as well as the expanding market for digital content in general, we see the digital comic book market as having a very bright future. More and more companies are looking at digital content as a primary means of distribution, as opposed the novelty that it was 5 years ago. We at Carbonated Comics are a very adaptive and forward thinking group and we plan being around for the long term!

Thank you Carbonated Comics, we look forward to great comics coming from you for quite some time...

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